How Young Is Too Young for Hair Transplant Surgery? Dr. William Lindsey Discusses His Hair Restoration Philosophy
In your opinion, is there a minimum age to have a hair transplant? How can one be sure that he won’t need a second procedure?
First, if someone is younger than 23 (or older too), I encourage parents to come to any pre-op planning and, better yet, the initial consultation. This has solved almost all issues of young people getting swept up in the excitement of a hair transplant and booking without thinking it through. I made better decisions at 23 than 21 and even better at 30. So, maturity or mature advice is an excellent component of the decision tree for prospective patients.
Second, it’s imperative that a young guy who is thinking about surgery realize that he’s buying a hairline that has to look age appropriate at age 30, 40, 50 etc. I can’t tell you how many young guys I’ve seen who either refused to consider a more mature hairline than all of their peers even though I explained that they will look goofy with a low straight hairline at 50 or have come in with horrible hairlines at age 35 from a tragic low, straight hairline case elsewhere that might look okay on a 20 year old but now they are up a creek.
Third, if a young guy is reasonable for a case but his genes suggest that he’s going to experience a lot more hair loss before he’s 30 (still just a guess), I encourage them to wait and do a bigger case, or realize that they may be back sooner rather than later for a second case. I see such a fellow every June who got 1600 grafts to his triangles a week after graduating from college. He has a 50 year old dad who has exactly those same triangle recessions and no other family history of balding. We gambled, and I think correctly, that he’s probably not going to need future work. But, even if he does, we’ve built a mature hairline foundation and haven’t burned any bridges.
Fourth, I see lots of 20-23 year old guys with no significant loss who are stressed and that stress is exacerbated by infomercials. I recommend they simply return yearly, with or without medical treatment, and when it’s a “fight worth taking” we’ll discuss hair restoration surgery. I’m guessing 10% show back up and who knows how many go on to surgery elsewhere where a few hairs a sprinkled in that entire frontal 1/3 as a “preventative” transplant. Given that I’ve repaired 5 of these guys in 2014 and it’s May, I’m guessing a fair amount will proceed with a different hair transplant surgeon.
Fifth, I see a few young guys with class 5+ hair loss, good insight, parental involvement who believe that their hair loss is affecting their social/work life. It may well be. I don’t hesitate to offer these guys surgery as long as they are willing to take a mature hairline, and realize that future balding may occur, necessitating future surgeries.
Dr. William Lindsey – McLean, VA
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