Losing one’s hair can be a traumatic experience. Many of us regard our hair as our crowning glory. So when it starts to fall out, many of us experience not only physical effects but psychological ones as well. Hair loss can cause self-esteem issues and anxiety.
Because of this, people look for ways to regrow hair and keep the hair they have from falling out. Hair transplants are a gaining popularity as ways to achieve a full head of hair. But they are not to be taken lightly. A transplant is a life-changing procedure that can significantly improve the enjoyment of life and have helped patients to regain a positive self-perception.
If you have been considering a hair transplant, the first step is to find out if you are a candidate. Hair transplants can be performed on almost anyone in good health, regardless of age or gender. The only way to know if you are a good candidate is by having a consultation.
Before you consider a hair transplant, it may help to know the statistics. Despite the state of the economy, hair transplants are on the rise. In 2010, there were 923,599 transplant patients worldwide, with most of the patients in the United States. This number has grown 156 percent since 2004. Males make up almost 86 percent of patients, while the remaining 14 percent are women. The average age range is between 30 and 49 years old. Some are as young as 22 and as old as 65.
What Happens at the Consultation?
At the consultation the doctor will want to get to know you on a more personal level to understand your reasons for wanting a hair transplant and discover any details that will aid in the success of the treatment. It’s important to do at least six months of research before jumping into a hair transplant. A candidate should have tried other methods first (such as creams and medications).
Personal and family history of hair loss, your goals and expectations, any prior scalp surgeries and medical conditions are some of the important points the doctor will want to discuss with you.
At the clinic the doctor will also consider factors such as:
- Long Term and Short Term Goals
- Number of grafts required to meet your expectations
- Future Hair Loss Projections
- Hair Characteristics
- Donor Hair Characteristics
- Scalp Elasticity
In general there are patients that are better candidates than others. Doctors will look for these characteristics in their potential patients to determine if they are well suited toward the treatment:
- Men who have been losing their hair due to genetic hair loss for more than five years.
- Men and women who have lost hair due to trauma or burns.
- Patients that have realistic expectations and understand that their hair loss might continue to progress even if they are taking prescription medication to prevent this from occurring.
- Men and women who have lost hair or their hairlines have been raised, as a direct result of a cosmetic procedure, such as face and brow lifts.
- Men who have been balding for many years and the patterns of loss have stabilized.
- Women with stable donor hair who exhibit more of a male pattern, rather than the commonly female, un-patterned hair loss.
Health is also an important aspect when determining whether or not a person is a good candidate. A transplant, like any surgery, comes with risks. A healthy person will be more likely to have a positive result. If you have a medical condition or take medications, it is important to discuss this with your surgeon. He or she will use this information to see if you qualify for surgery or if it needs to be delayed until your health improves.
The consultation is the best time to develop a positive rapport with the doctor and to become comfortable with the environment of the clinic. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor about his or her experience and training in the hair restoration field. These questions are encouraged. An assessment is the first step to a hair transplant procedure. If the potential patient is a good candidate, this procedure can truly enhance lives both physically and psychologically.