Hair loss can be a difficult and embarrassing problem for many people. Fortunately, there are a variety of surgical treatments available to help restore hair growth.
Hair grafting, also known as hair transplantation, is an outpatient procedure that is performed in a dermatological surgeon's office. During the procedure, local anesthesia is injected into the scalp and sedation may be used to help the patient relax.
The donor site on the back or side of the head heals with a straight scar that is well hidden in the rest of the hair. Hair grafts come in several sizes, including micrografts (containing one or two hairs), cleft grafts (containing four to ten hairs), perforated grafts (containing 10 to 15 hairs), minigrafts (containing two to four hairs), and strip grafts (long, thin grafts containing 30 to 40 hairs). Hair transplant surgery is used to move hair to bald or thin areas of the scalp and is usually recommended for people who have already tried other treatments for hair loss. Dermatologists or plastic surgeons typically perform hair transplants. In some cases, such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata), hair may grow back without treatment over the course of a year.
Other treatments for hair loss include medications and surgery. If hair loss is caused by an underlying disease, treatment for that disease will be needed. If a certain medication is causing hair loss, your doctor may recommend that you stop using it for a few months. Hair replacement surgery can also be used to treat permanent hair loss. This includes hair transplant surgery, flap surgery, expansion of scalp tissue, and scalp reduction surgery.
Hair transplant surgery involves taking hairy skin from a part of the scalp and grafting it onto bald or weakened areas of the scalp or areas of trauma. Once the hair starts to grow back, it should look natural because the hair is transplanted in the direction it would normally grow in that place. Plasma injections can also help repair blood vessels, stimulate collagen production, and promote cell growth in areas of hair loss on the scalp. Rogaine is a topical solution that can be applied directly onto the scalp where hair growth is desired. Low-level laser devices have also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for hereditary hair loss in men and women. Hats, helmets, caps, combs, and headbands that use laser technology to stimulate the scalp and hair follicles can also help promote hair growth and blood flow.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used for over a decade to help people recover after joint surgery and may be an option for some people with hair loss. A typical hair transplant involves removing patches of hair from the head and re-inserting them follicle by follicle into bald sections. Hair loss can be caused by common male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia), inflammation of the scalp, or an injury to the scalp. Certain inflammatory diseases, such as lichen planum/external link, lupus or morpheaExternal link, can also cause permanent hair loss in areas suitable for transplantation.