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Innovations in Hair Transplant and Other Alternatives to Hair Loss

Although many people do not have visible hair loss, hair loss is a natural daily occurrence. Approximately 50 to 150 hairs are lost each day, but most hair regenerates because the hair follicle remains intact. If the follicles shrink due to heredity, hormones, stress, infection, certain prescription medication, illness, nutritional deficiency or age, the hair is not restored. When shedding significantly surpasses hair growth, baldness occurs. This Male Pattern Baldness usually begins at the forehead or on the top of the head, and progresses to the familiar horseshoe-shaped fringe of hair. Depending on your type of hair loss, treatments are available.

Since hair loss may be an early sign of a disease, it is important to find the cause so that it can be properly treated. A doctor usually inspects the hair shafts, and may perform a biopsy of the skin. A biopsy helps determine if the hair follicles are normal; if they are not, the biopsy may indicate possible causes. If the doctor’s examination finds signs of irregularities or other serious illness, blood tests to identify those disorders may be required.

Assuming no diseases, or pathologies there are two medications that can treat baldness effectively. Minoxidil, originally used to treat hypertension, has been shown to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. The exact way that this medicine works is unknown. Hair growth usually occurs after the medicine has been used for several months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after Minoxidil treatment is stopped. Minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp on a daily basis. Minoxidil can be used for both men and women.

Proscar, a medication used for prostate enlargement, works by blocking the effects of male hormones on the hair follicles and is taken by mouth daily.
Individuals with increased levels of the hormone DHT in the scalp experience a shortening growth phase or thinning of the hair. Proscar lowers the level of this hormone, and contributes to the normalization of the hair growth cycle. Proscar may be used for men only.

Improvement may occur with either of these drugs when taken for several months. The most important effect of these drugs may be to prevent further hair loss. The effects last only as long as the drugs are taken. A more permanent solution is a hair transplant, in which hair follicles are removed from one part of the scalp and transplanted to the bald area. During this procedure, the surgeon removes a section of hair form the back of the head, near the base of the skull. This area of hair is genetically different because they do not have the gene for hair loss in their follicles. Only a small scar is left and unless one shaves the back of the scalp is it not noticeable. The donated follicles are then placed in saline solution, while small incisions are made in the areas of hair loss. Each individual donated follicle is placed creating an uneven ordinary hairline. After the hairline is formed, the remaining donor follicles are put where thinned or balding spots occur.

In the newer hair transplant technique, only one or two hairs are transplanted at a time. Although this technique is more tedious, and time consuming, it does not require removal of large plugs of skin and allows the implants to be oriented in the same direction as the natural hair.

If satisfactory treatments are not appropriate for your type of hair loss, you may consider trying different hairstyles, wigs, hair weaves, hairpieces, or artificial hair replacement, or very simply wear a hat.

Jay B Stockman is a contributing editor for Affordable Hair Transplant Surgery Visit for more information.