Hair transplant surgery is the most effective treatment for pattern baldness, hair loss caused by genetics, but it's expensive. It's most effective for those whose balding pattern forms a wreath-like shape; it is not recommended for most women because their balding pattern often doesn't form the wreath shape. Experts say that if done properly, the results look very natural, but choosing the right surgeon is critical. Some people may require multiple surgeries, adding to the cost, in order to achieve the desired results. Every expert we found recommends first trying Rogaine (Est. $45 per 3-month supply) or Propecia (Est. $75 per 1-month supply) before considering surgery.
Not all balding patterns are suitable for surgery. Today's hair transplant technology allows surgeons to transplant smaller hair grafts of just one to four hairs for a more natural look: The procedure involves removing tiny plugs from the back or sides of the scalp and replanting them in the balding areas.
This technique is only appropriate for men with male pattern baldness that creates a wreath of hair around the back and sides of the head. Men who lose hair over diffuse sections aren't suitable for hair transplants. For this same reason, the vast majority of women aren't candidates for the procedure.
Hair transplant surgery is permanent, but the American Hair Loss Association reports that the number of sessions required varies based on the extent of hair loss and projected rate of hair loss.
A reputable doctor is required. Hair transplant surgery is costly and painful, and it comes with the risk of infection and scarring. Therefore, it's important to find a reputable surgeon who adheres to safe medical practices.
American Hair Loss Association reviewers warn that choosing a surgeon requires careful consideration because any licensed physician can perform hair transplants without any formal training. They suggest looking for detail-oriented physicians with a great deal of experience. They recommend looking at before-and-after photos of previous patients and setting up interviews to evaluate satisfaction and results.
1. American Hair Loss Association
The American Hair Loss Association discusses how hair transplant surgeries work. They also provide suggestions on what to look for in a surgeon as well as questions that every patient should ask before making a final decision.
Review: Surgical Hair Restoration, Editors of American Hair Loss Association, Not Dated
2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons
This article details what to expect from hair replacement surgery, also touching on possible risks and safety information. The editors of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons describe who is eligible for the procedure and offer questions to ask the plastic surgeon prior to treatment.
Review: Hair Replacement: Surgical Hair Transplants, Editors of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Not Dated
3. Men's Fitness
In this article for Men's Fitness, Frederick Joyce, M.D., offers his expertise in the area of hair-loss treatments. The article describes hair replacement surgery as "the best fix by far for replacing lost hair" and goes on to explain the difference between follicular unit extraction and "the strip method," in which a doctor surgically removes a section of hair from the back of the head and replants the individual hair grafts on the scalp.
Review: 6 Best Fixes for Hair Loss, Holly C. Corbett, Not Dated