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Hair Restoration News

Hair Restoration and Age: Am I Too Young?

Am I Too Young For Hair Restoration Surgery?

Many young hair loss sufferers seeking hair loss help come to our hair restoration forum asking about hair restoration as a possible means to regrow hair. Though surgery may be an option, there are several things to consider. The truth is, that young hair loss sufferers, especially those who just started to lose hair are typically not good candidates for surgery. Admittedly, this topic is very controversial.

The purpose of this article is to discuss and present all the issues surrounding the risks of younger hair loss patients undergoing hair surgery.

Education is vital and knowledge is power. The more those seeking hair restoration know, the better decision can be made. Let me stop here to caution the reader that it is extremely easy to make an emotional decision and jump into surgery with the hope and dream of restoring a full head of hair. Let me assure you that I can certainly understand and empathize with the pain and grief you are experiencing while suffering from hair loss - but it is important to do this right. Making an emotional decision may just end up making your hair loss situation worse. I'll explain in this article. Keep reading.

It is extremely important that you understand what the hair loss and restoration process process, the benefits, risks, and limitations that go along with it. Undergoing hair loss and restoration surgery is especially risky for younger patients for the following reasons.

  • Hair loss is a progressive condition and is unpredictable. Younger hair loss sufferers with minimal hair loss are very likely to continue losing hair. It's a sad reality however, it is very probable. Because hair surgery is not a hair loss cure and does nothing to help combat future balding - undergoing hair restoration surgery at such an early age is risky and subsequent hair restoration procedures will most certainly be necessary as more hair is lost.

  • The younger a hair loss sufferer starts losing hair, the more hair you MAY lose. This is not a definite however, the risks are increaesd.

  • Donor hair supply is limited. Keeping in mind the unpredictability of hair loss in and it's progressive nature, a patient also has a limited amount of donor hair - that is, hair that can be used for implanting in the balding regions. Planning conservatively therefore is important for those losing hair with minimal hair loss. Though many patients typically need more than one procedure, younger patients will most likely need more in order to stay looking natural (though staying ahead of hair loss with hair restoration surgery is a misnomer). This is why lowering the hairline significantly for younger patients is considered highly unethical. Using a finite supply of donor hair to restore an ultra dense packed hairline will leave less donor hair in reserve in the event of probable future hair loss. The good news is, if a patient does not lose more hair, they can always go back later to lower the hairline, or fill in areas to add hair density. implanting hair in the crown with minimal balding can also prove to be problematic. Additional thinning hair around the crown may result in the "halo effect" leaving a ring of scalp around a patch of implanted hair. See why it might be best to wait implanting hair in the crown by reading the following hair loss Q&A blog.

  • Hair loss and restoration surgery is a financial commitment. Many people think that one hair surgery will be enough for them, and though it might be, it is rare. But those who are just starting to lose hair, hair restoration surgery might NOT be the answer immediately, especially if you need follow up procedures to try to keep up with your hair loss. Younger hair loss sufferers are typically not in the best finanicial situations. If there is only enough money for one hair loss and restoration procedure and it is unknown more money will become available, it may not be a good idea to undergo surgery.

But if these are all serious risks to be considered, why do ethical hair loss doctors sometimes do hair restoration procedures on younger patients? Haven’t we decided that it’s too risky for a younger candidate to jump in the chair?

Each case must be taken individually. Answering whether a young hair loss sufferer is a good candidate is not a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

Below are a list of conditions that, if met, I feel it MIGHT be appropriate for younger balding individuals to undergo surgery:

  1. The patient is educated about hair surgery and aware of all the benefits, risks, and limitations associated with the procedure.
  2. The patient is on Propecia or Proscar (both contain active ingredient finasteride which has been FDA approved as a hair loss medication) for at least one year before having surgery.
  3. The hair loss clinic has gone over all of the benefits, limitations, and risks with the patient
  4. The patient knows that subsequent procedures will most likely be necessary to cover future hair loss loss.
  5. The hair surgeon creates a very conservative hairline that the patient agrees to.
  6. If hairloss is minimal, a conservative number of grafts are used keeping a large reservation of grafts for the POTENTIAL future need.

Ethical Issues:

Many will try to keep up with their hair loss and go to doctors who will give the patient what they want.  You know the motto “the customer is always right”?  This should NOT be the motto for the medical profession.  In my opinion, doctors who try to satisfy the immediate desires of the patient without considering the future are highly unethical.  These doctors are more concerned about the money in their pockets from getting someone into surgery than they are about how this patient may look 10 years down the line.  Dense packing a hairline with 3000 grafts on a 20 year old when they only just started losing their hair is extremely risky.  Even if this particular patient has 7000 available donor grafts, this means they only have 4000 available grafts to for the rest of the head in the event of additional hair loss.  What if the patient becomes a Norwood 6?  This patient will ultimately be stuck with a low hairline and very thin hair behind it, leaving an unnatural look.  Planning conservatively therefore, is extremely important for those of a younger age, especially those of a younger age with minimal hair loss.

Bill Seemiller - Managing Publisher