Hair loss is an unfortunate reality for many people, and with countless treatments options available itís hard to know when to turn to a surgical option. Here are the signs that tell you itís time for surgery.
Try conservative treatments first
As soon as you begin to notice your hair thinning very significantly, try one of a number of treatments. Firstly, if youíve been through a very stressful period and noticed your hair has thinned suddenly, try stress management such as mindfulness, a head massage or taking a break. This one simple step may make a difference if itís not a systemic problem.
Strong non-pharmaceutical hair loss treatments
Two non-medication treatment options should be tried before surgery; saw palmetto and Minoxidil. If these havenít worked for you, itís time to head to your doctor for pharmaceutical help.
Prescription medications to try before considering surgery
Medication is the next treatment option to try, and there are a number of different drugs to trial before considering surgery. Finasteride can be used by men, and women can try Spironolactone and Cyproterone acetate.
Finasteride is a medication option for men, which works by blocking an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) DHT causes hair follicles to shrink which can help prevent or slow hair loss.
Spironolactone blocks the effects of androgen hormones in women which can treat hair loss on the scalp, and everything from unwanted facial hair to oily skin and acne.
Cyproterone acetate is another prescription-only medication that blocks the effects of androgen hormones for women with patterned hair loss. This route should definitely be trialled before entertaining the idea of surgery.
If conservative and pharmaceutical options havenít worked
Once youíve tried every conservative and pharmaceutical option, it may be time to try a surgical option. Luckily, hair loss surgery is much more advanced than it used to be. Originally, large plugs were used and they looked very obvious and unsightly. Now though, micro plugs of skin are used, each containing around five hairs.
How does hair surgery work?
Hair follicles along a small strip from the back or sides of the scalp are transferred to the areas of balding. In some rare cases, individual follicles may be removed and implanted rather than a strip.
During the hair transplantation surgery, the strip of hair follicles are carefully placed to ensure they receive plenty of blood flow to enable them to heal and settle into the scalp.
Things to consider about hair loss surgery
Hair loss surgery is expensive with prices ranging anywhere from $10,000 up to $20,000 or more. For each individual graft, prices are around $5-$10 and around 2000 grafts are often used.
Scarring can occur around the area where the grafts are taken from, so itís important you choose a very skilled surgeon. Highly skilled surgeons are less likely to cause significant scarring, although some people are more susceptible to scarring than others.
Once youíve tried every kind of conservative hair loss treatment, you may look to surgery as a last resort. Thanks to modern science, hair loss surgery is far more effective and attractive than a decade ago, so while it is an investment, itís a great option if youíre desperate to fix your hair loss condition.