This below question was asked by a member of our Hair Loss Social Community and Discussion Forums and answered by Stuart, patient coordinator and office manager for Coalition hair restoration surgeon Dr. Vladimir Panine:
Propecia (finasteride) seems like it is losing effect after only a few years, I’ve resorted to Avodart (dutasteride) once or twice a week which seems to be doing the trick. I just wonder though, if it all ends up failing and my hair loss eventually regresses like it did prior to using medications, what was the point of it all?
It’s cost me a lot of money. I’ve invested in the hair transplant route which could be a mistake if my balding eventually gets to where it was going. All I’ll have done is give myself years of stress trying to get it sorted – to then have to go through the stress of it failing and then having to go bald.
Are we not better off just going bald in the first place? Or, rather, letting the androgenic alopecia run its natural course and then seeing if there’s any potential for surgery much further down the line?
Are medical hair loss treatments something that allow men in their 20s-40s the illusion of stable loss and to feel safe going ahead with surgery, letting the hair transplant industry prosper, when really it’s a huge risk?
There are a few things in regards to hair loss that no one can tell someone – that is how fast they are going to lose their hair or how much hair they are going to lose. Also, there is no way of predicting how well Propecia, Rogaine (minoxidil) or Avodart is going to work until an individual tries them for a period of time. History has shown that they are the most effect treatments for genetic hair loss.
When is the right time for someone to have a hair transplant? That needs to be determined by a patient and his hair restoration physician. Anyone that is interested in a hair transplant procedure needs to tell the surgeon what his expectations are and the doctor will let the patient know whether he can meet his expectations or not. When a doctor looks at a prospective patient, he takes several factors into consideration; age, degree of present hair loss, potential future hair loss, donor availability, current non-surgical treatments, if so how well they are working, family history of hair loss and most importantly the patient’s expectations.
An individual that has decided to go forward with a procedure should never go into a hair transplant thinking they are only going to need that one procedure and never need a second or third procedure. If the surgery is performed by a qualified surgeon, that initial procedure should be able to stand alone if more hair is lost and the patient elects not to have another procedure. That is the beauty of transplanting follicular unit unlike the old days of the large 5.0mm, 4.0 mm plugs and mini grafts. It should just appear that you lost your other hair and the transplanted hair remained. If you were to look at individuals with hair loss, you will notice that there are many different patterns of hair loss; therefore it should not appear that the remaining hair was transplanted if done properly. The question is, does an individual want to accept the further hair loss or elect to have another procedure to improve on the further loss.
Hair transplant procedures are not for everyone. They are for individuals that do not like the present state of their hair loss. So, if that is the case, then it needs to be determined if they would be a good candidate for the procedure and if their expectations can be met now and in the future. Therefore, in my opinion, I would not call it buying time but more like improving on something that bothers me and if there is further hair loss down the road it can be improved again.
Patient Coordinator and Office Manager for Chicago Hair Transplant Clinic
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
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