Last updated: March 26, 2014

Fitness & Health - Hair Loss
Treatment options

Like many young men I started to lose some hair (male pattern baldness) on my front temples in my late 20s. By my early 30s I had lost enough hair that others around me were commenting on it. Since hair loss is a maternal inheritance issue, I looked at my mom's side of the family and saw the same hair loss pattern I had experienced in my grandfather and uncle.

Since I really didn't like the look of my developing hair loss I elected to have 2 hair transplants performed when I was 34-35 years of age. Each procedure involved cutting out a strip of scalp between my ears on the back of my head, and then placing ('planting') the individual hair follicles in my forehead. 800 transplants the first time, and 500 the second time. the scar on the back of my head is not visible, unless you really search for it under my hair, and there is no way anyone can tell from looking at the hair line on my temples. It takes good technique to achieve these results so I recommend that anyone considering this procedure do their homework and reference checking.

My hair loss continued, generally accelerating during periods of stress or when I was ill (with the same physical effects on my body). After 15 years most of my original hair on my temples is now gone but about 50-70% of the transplanted hair remains. This is because the transplanted hair is genetically stronger and more robust. When a hair follicle starts to die the hair first gets thinner, then it falls out, typically over a period of several years. The hair from the back of my head was much thicker and robust - therefore the transplanted hair looks better than the original hair that it replaced.

I now take a prescription drug, Propecia, which inhibits the breakdown of hormones into the compounds that attack and kill off hair follicles. It hasn't re grown any hair for me but it likely has slowed the rate of my hair loss. My attitude about my looks has changed as I have aged. With grayer hair and other aging effects (e.g. skin) it seems more acceptable to me now to have a receding hair line.

One word of caution about hair transplants: the procedure involves significant surgery, complete with pain, discomfort and the potential for complications. In my case, my head was swollen for a week each time and I looked like a freak. It is best to take a holiday somewhere quiet after your surgery.

 

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