Today I want to discuss a question I am commonly asked which is “when is the right time to have a hair transplant procedure?” The answer is different for every person. Each time I examine a prospective patient I try and estimate the full extent to which the hair loss will progress over the patient’s lifetime. This is imperative in order to understand how much donor hair the person will have available for the amount of balding area that will present over time. The individual needs to understand and internalize the amount of hair loss they will eventually have and try best as possible to see if they can be happy with a realistic result based on their supply to demand ratio. Young patients may not want to know their eventual hair loss amount or may want to proceed with a treatment plan that does not take this into account. This is not an option, as it is our job as hair restoration surgeons to educate the individual and only do what is right for the patient both in the short term and long term.
In general, I like to wait until the patient is at least 25 before performing the hair restoration procedure unless hair loss is taking a severe toll on the patient’s psychological health and I believe that the eventual loss of hair will not preclude the individual from being a good candidate for the procedure. In addition, that the prospective patient has a good grasp on what is a realistic result both in the short term and long term.
I always tell my patients when they ask me, “do I need to do the hair transplant now?”. No one needs to do this at any point. This is an elective procedure that people undergo in order to make them feel better about themselves. To reclaim a piece of the person that they once had. Something that was once part of their body and their appearance, that was taken away from them. When you get to the point that you don’t like looking in the mirror anymore at what you see on your scalp, then that is the right time to have a hair transplant procedure (assuming you are chosen as a good candidate and you have realistic expectations).
The psychological component of hair restoration surgery is one of the largest factors involved and it is our duty as hair restoration surgeons to educate our patients and allow them to make the best educated decision for themselves both in the short term and long run.
All the best,
Marc Dauer, M.D.