I am interested in having a hair transplant, but I am unsure about how my hair loss will progress in the future. Are there any tools that doctors can use to accurately predict my future hair loss?
Unfortunately, androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) is a progressive condition that gets worse over time. In the beginning stages of hair loss, the thinning/balding may be confined to the temples of the hairline, but as time progresses the areas affected by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) spread and become larger. DHT is the hormone responsible for causing androgenic alopecia in both men and women.
In addition, if left untreated androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) can be unpredictable and hair loss can become aggressive and spread without warning. However, patients who use hair loss medications such as Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) stabilize their hair loss and reduce the risk of androgenic alopecia spreading quickly and becoming aggressive. With that said, both treatments do not cure hereditary hair loss and in some instances hair loss may continue to progress however, at a much slower rate.
Hair transplant surgeons examine the patients scalp with high magnification glasses or cameras. These high magnification tools allow the physician to see hair miniaturization at the microscopic level. However, this does not always determine how the patients hair loss will progress in the future. Nevertheless, this does give the physician an understanding of the current hair loss and how to plan accordingly. Hair restoration surgeons also look at the patients family members who also suffer from male and female pattern baldness, because most patients follow one of their relatives balding pattern. Unfortunately, there is no surgeon who can predict the final hair loss pattern of a patient with 100% certainty. However, with hair loss medication, a thorough examination and an overview of the family history, most surgeons are able to create a reasonable long-term plan always keeping in mind the worst case scenario.
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