This insightful information was posted on our hair restoration forum by Dr. Paul Shapiro of Bloomington, MN who is a member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians.
Hair transplants can be very successful in women and I previously posted a photo album of some of my female hair loss patients.
The most common cause in women with hair loss is what we call Androgenic Alopecia, also called female pattern baldness (FPB). This is an inherited condition in which you have certain genes which makes your hair susceptible to hair loss when exposed to the normal, small amount of androgens (male hormones) which all women have. Occasionally there are other causes of hair loss in women such as hormonal imbalance, medication side effects, or other dermatological conditions. A dermatologist or hair loss specialist should take a complete history and exam to determine if your alopecia is the result of FPB, or if any testing is needed to rule the other rare causes of baldness.
The video of Dr. Meja’s patient is very instructive and shows a good example of a successful female hair transplant. It is obvious from the video that Dr. Meja spent time educating this patient, so that she knew what results to expect. Most women with hair loss have poor donor, and a large area to cover. As the woman said in the video she was told that she would have more hair, but not a full head of hair. It is important that you have realistic expectations of what can be done in one hair restoration surgery if you decide to go ahead with a procedure. A lot or women are satisfied after one hair replacement, but many female patients need more then one surgery to meet their goals.
If you have female pattern hair loss, hair transplantation may be a great option for you. It is important to get several consults from surgeons who have experience with female patients. Look at as many before and after photos as you can and ask to surgeon to speak to some of his female patients. Also try to find photos with the hair styled and not styled to get an accurate idea of what the surgery accomplished.
I find that most women with female hair loss benefit from Rogaine (minoxidil), and it also lessens the chance of post surgery hair shedding (telogen effluvium) which is very common in women.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Paul Shapiro, MD
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