These questions were posed directly to Dr. Ken Siporin of Beverly Hills, CA who is one of our recommended hair restoration physicians by a hair loss sufferer seeking hair transplantation as a means to regrow hair. His professional answer is below.
After hair transplant surgery, will I be able to shave my head without showing scarring? If I continue to lose hair, will I need additional hair transplants? How many follicular unit grafts will I require? How much am I looking at spending to restore my hair?
You ask some very good questions, and honestly, I am not sure I can do them justice within the constraints of writing. Having said that, I will try to answer your questions, but understand, there is no substitute to seeing you and examining you in person. According to your the photographs that you have sent me, which gives me limited information, and I have no idea what your hair restoration goals are, but saying you just wanted to reestablish your hairline and increase the hair density in your midscalp, I would roughly estimate the number of follicular unit grafts to be around 1500-1700.
I would also recommend you get on Propecia (finasteride), which would limit your future hair loss, and therefore make it less likely that you would have to continually chase your baldness in the future, with additional hair replacement procedures. However, you may not want to take Propecia; you may start Propecia and then stop because of the rare sexual side effects (1.8% incidence), or you may not get any benefit from Propecia (unlikely, as 95 % of men maintain there hair count in the crown at 3 years), so your question regarding needing additional hair transplant procedures because of future hair loss is not so straightforward.
In terms of scarring, there are two ways to harvest hair: follicular unit hair transplantation (FUT) (strip excision), and follicur unit extraction (FUE). Neither method is completely scarless, but follicular unit extraction (FUE) is definitely better since the hairs are taken out one at a time with very small instruments, and there is no stitching necessary. Follicular unit hair transplantation (strip excision) leaves a scar that in most cases, is very fine and thin, and can be concealed with a very short haircut (a #2 guard), but it would be visible when you shave your head, in most cases. The debate is whether FUE would provide you with no scar when you shave your head. I have seen results at meetings, where the scalp of a donor area from FUE patients, looks moth eaten because of the numerous pin point scars, but this is more likely with large cases or with multiple hair restoration procedures. Another point about FUE, is that there are limitations to how many grafts you can move at one time, and I would argue that only a select group of hair transplant surgeons could satisfactorily move large amounts of hair by this method.
In your case, I think you need more than could be provided by one procedure of FUE’s, at least in my hands, so that you would actually have to do it over two days. FUE is also more expensive.
That leads to your final question regarding hair transplant cost. I am only giving rough estimates. The more follicular unit grafts you need, the greater the cost, but I do not charge purely on a per graft basis. It is a little too complex to get into, but suffice it to say a medium case such as yours would be in the ball park figure of $7,000.00.
Best of Luck,
Kenneth D. Siporin, M.D., F.A.C.S.
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