Hair loss or alopecia is not a problem limited to men and is much more common in woman than people realize. In fact, woman represent 15% of patients who undergo a hair transplantation. The human head has between 100,000 to 150,000 hairs. The hair follicles are going through a constant cycle of growth, shedding and dormancy. These phases are respectively called anagen, catagen and telogen. Each day we lose between 50 and 100 hairs. Hair thinning occurs when the hairs being shed exceed the number entering the anagen or growth phase.
Woman can develop 2 different patterns of baldness. In the male pattern baldness the frontal hair line recedes and resembles the frontal hair line of a man. In addition, woman can also develop a pattern of progressive thinning of the hair where the scalp becomes more and more visible between hairs and especially when the hair is parted. There are many causes of these types of hair loss in woman including:
- Male pattern hair loss due to an elevation of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) a breakdown product of testosterone itself. The elevation in DHT can be a result of many etiologies including menopause, inherited, ovarian cysts, hormonal imbalances or the ingestion of medications such as birth control pills.
- Hair loss may develop as a result of a stressful event such as major surgery, the birth of a child, a severe accident, or a significant infection.
- Alopecia areata is hair loss related to an autoimmune disorder.
- Iron deficiency anemia, Vit B deficiency, excess of Vit A, and thyroid disease are examples of nutritional and metabolic causes of hair loss.
- Many of the medications commonly taken including those used to treat hypertension, arthritis, psychiatric drugs, blood thinners and even the common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Chemotherapeutic agents are another unfortunate cause of medication induced hair loss
- Hair styling where the hair is tightly pulled back and surgery are two examples of traumatic alopecia.
Is surgery the only answer? Not at all! First of all, an evaluation of the patient should be done to rule out one of the treatable causes of alopecia as a result of some of the etiologies listed above. Patients who are just beginning to see some hair loss may benefit from oral supplements, topical products such as minoxidil, or external red light therapy using LED and low level light laser devices.
Patients who have progressed to the point where the hair loss is slightly more noticeable but not severe enough for surgery may benefit from a series of PRP (platelet rich plasm) injections. These injections which are done in a series of 3-4 sessions spread a month apart can help stimulate recently dormant follicles to regrow hair and keep the ones that are active.
The third group is those patients female (and male) who are candidates for hair transplantation. At Rothaus Plastic Surgery, we only perform FUE (follicular unit) hair transplantation. These transplanted follicular units have as few as 1 but no more than 4 hairs. The follicular units are harvest using assistance from a semi-robotic device (NEOGRAFT). The donor site or area from where the follicles are taken heals quickly without any visible scars as seen in the strip method. The transplanted follicles are then placed in a manner to create a natural look.
If you suffer from alopecia or just thinning hair and interested in determining if you are a candidate for topicals, supplements, red light therapy, PRP or the NeoGraft procedure, please call the office at 212-737-0770 to schedule a complimentary consultation. You will be able to see how you possibly can look with our new cloud-based visualization software.