Although many technical advances have been made in the field of surgical hair restoration over the past decade, particularly with the widespread adoption of follicular transplantation, many problems remain. The majority revolve around doctors recommending surgery for patients who are not good candidates. The most common reasons that patients should not proceed with surgery are that they are too young and that their hair loss pattern is too unpredictable. Young persons also have expectations that are typically too high – often demanding the density and hairline of a teenager. Many people who are in the early stages of hair loss should simply be treated with medications, rather than being rushed to go under the knife. And some patients are just not mature enough to make level-headed decisions when their problem is so emotional.
In general, the younger the patient, the more cautious the practitioner should be to operate, particularly if the patient has a family history of Norwood Class VII hair loss, or diffuse un-patterned alopecia.
Problems also occur when the doctor fails to adequately evaluate the patient’s donor hair supply and then does not have enough hair to accomplish the patient’s goals. Careful measurement of a patient’s density and other scalp characteristics will allow the surgeon to know exactly how much hair is available for transplantation and enable him/her to design a pattern for the restoration that can be achieved within those constraints.
In all of these situations, spending a little extra time listening to the patient’s concerns, examining the patient more carefully and then recommending a treatment plan that is consistent with what actually can be accomplished, will go a long way towards having satisfied patients. Unfortunately, scientific advances will improve only the technical aspects of the hair restoration process and will do little to insure that the procedure will be performed with the right planning or on the appropriate patient.
The improvement in surgical techniques that have enabled an ever increasing number of grafts to be placed into ever smaller recipient sites had nearly reached its limit and the limitations of the donor supply remain the major constraint for patients getting back a full head of hair. Despite the great initial enthusiasm of follicular unit extraction, a technique where hair can be harvested directly from the donor scalp (or even the body) without a linear scar, this procedure has added relatively little towards increasing the patient’s total hair supply available for a transplant. The major breakthrough will come when the donor supply can be expanded though cloning. Although some recent progress had been made in this area (particularly in animal models) the ability to clone human hair is at least 5 to 10 years away.
The greatest mistake a doctor can make when treating a patient with hair loss is to perform a how much does a hair transplant cost on a person that is too young, as expectations are generally very high and the pattern of future hair loss unpredictable.Chronic sun exposure over one’s lifetime has a much more significant negative impact on the outcome of the hair transplant than peri-operative sun exposure.A bleeding diathesis, significant enough to impact the surgery, can be generally picked up in the patient’s history; however OTC medications often go unreported (such as non-steroidals) and should be asked for specifically.
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