Today I will address the question of who is a good candidate for hair restoration surgery. To begin with, it should be determined that the loss of hair is due to genetic causes and that the donor area (the sides and back of the scalp) are not affected by hair loss and have robust density of hair present. The next major factor is determining the patient’s eventual total loss of hair (their genetic hair loss pattern) and eventual total donor reserves. This allows us to approximate how much donor hair will be available over the patient’s lifetime and how much donor hair they will require to cover the eventual area of hair loss. This is most important in younger individuals who are usually destined to lose significantly more hair over time. This also allows the patient to have an idea of what they can expect not only in the short term, but in the long run as well. Some patients would opt not to proceed with hair restoration surgery if they know that they cannot cover their entire head with a thick mane of hair, and others would be more comfortable with this. It is our job as hair restoration surgeons to educate the patients as to their realistic expectations in the short term and long term so that they make the proper decision now and one that they will be happy with later on in life. Too often I meet patients who were “sold” an unrealistic bill of goods by an unscrupulous hair restoration surgeon and they subsequently end up regretting their decision to have had the procedure in the first place because they had no idea that their hair loss would progress to such an extent.
In summary, responsible hair restoration surgeon should educate their patient as to all the possibilities and allow them to make the informed decision as to how to proceed with hair restoration surgery, or not to proceed. This is an amazing procedure when performed properly on the proper patient, and having had 3 hair transplants myself, I am a walking testimonial of this fact along with thousands of my patients. But make sure you have all the facts before making the decision for yourself to ensure that it something that you are happy with in the long run.
All the best,
Marc Dauer, M.D.