Hair loss is a common condition in men that becomes worse as they age, and in fact, over half of men over the age of 50 will have lost some hair. The main cause of balding in men is androgenetic alopecia which is related to the hormone dihydrotestosterone, and is believed to have a negative impact on hair follicle growth.
The hormone impacts the growing cycle of hair follicles in such a way that more and more hair follicles are lost over the years. By the time men are in their 80s they may be completely bald if they suffer from this condition.
The dihydrotestosterone results in a distinctive form of hair loss called male pattern baldness where hair is lost both on the sides of the head and the front area. Over time, the hair continues to be lost and the hairline recedes backwards. There does also appear to be a genetic tendency towards hair loss which impacts the likelihood of balding.
What treatment options are there for hair loss?
There are a couple of different treatment choices that men can try if they are experiencing balding. Some men do not even seek treatment and simply choose to wear a hair piece once they have lost a certain amount of hair. The problem, though, is that this is not a good solution and often looks quite fake and obvious.
There are two types of medications that have been approved for the treatment of hair loss in men that is caused by androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride is in a pill form and can help to slow the progression of the hair loss. The other prescription medication is minoxidil which comes as a liquid that can be applied to the scalp.
Although the prescription medications may help to slow the rate of hair loss, they do not offer a permanent solution to the problem of balding. This is why hair transplant surgery is advisable if possible, because it gives a permanent fix to the problem of hair loss, and allows men to get their looks back and improve their hairline.
Hair transplant surgeries
There are a couple of different types of hair transplant procedures that can be done. The oldest of these methods is the FUT, which is not recommended today as there are many better choices that are available.
The FUE is the most commonly practiced method of hair transplantation since it has a good track record of producing excellent results for most men. It also has minimal scarring and a very low risk of any complications or adverse events.
With the FUE, small amounts of tissue are cut out of the donor site at a time and then transplanted as follicular units into the region of the scalp where hair is lacking. This is far superior to the older FUT procedure in which an entire strip of skin was excised from the donor site and then the follicular units had to be dissected out of this tissue. Click here to read more about the FUE method.
While there have been modifications of the FUE including the use of robotic methods, the most common method is still the manual form of the procedure. The method does require skill and training and thus should only be done by experienced, qualified professionals.
The DHI is a newer method of hair transplantation which uses a special instrument called a Choi implanter. The problem with the DHI is that it is a relatively new technique which means that there are not as many specialists who have experience in this technique.
In the future, the DHI may be the preferred method of hair transplant surgery, but it is still in its early days compared with the FUE method.
A useful modification of the FUE technique is the Sapphire FUE which uses a different blade than the regular FUE. In fact, the blade that is used is made of sapphire rather than a metal substance, which is certainly advantageous for men who may have an allergy to metal substances.
Who is a good candidate for a hair transplant procedure?
Most men can safely have a hair transplant procedure done, such as the FUE. Provided a man is healthy and has no serious medical problems, the technique will likely be successful and the risk of complications will be minimal.
It is also wise to consult with a specialist sooner rather than later as you need to have enough donor hair remaining in order to have grafts done. There is research into the use of stem cells to grow hair follicles in the laboratory, but although the results are promising, this is not yet a method that can be used.