Since hair restoration surgery is a good option for nearly 90% of the
balding men in the country, women think they will also make good candidates,
but this is usually not the case.
Very few women have the type of hair loss that make them good candidates.
Most women have diffuse hair loss instead, an overall thinning in all areas of
the head, including the sides and back, which are the areas that act as donor
sites in men. It is from these sites that the hair is removed for hair
transplantation to other areas of the head.
Many women with hair loss suffer in silence, altering their hairstyle to hide thinning or patches. But the sooner you seek care, the better the chances of successfully treating it, says Mary Gail Mercurio, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.
It's not as uncommon as you may think: As many as 5% of women under 30 and 60% of those older than 70 are affected, she says. At the recent meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Miami Beach, Fla...
In men, the donor sites are called stable sites, which means that the hair
and follicles in those areas are not affected by the
dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that shrinks follicles elsewhere on the head.
This is the situation in those with androgenetic alopecia, or what's commonly
called male pattern baldness.
In female pattern baldness, however, these donor areas are usually unstable.
They are thinning, just like the other areas of the head. The donor areas in
women are affected by follicle-killing DHT. That means that if you remove hair
and accompanying follicles from these donor areas in women and transplant them
to other areas, it's just going to fall out. Any doctor who would attempt to
transplant hair from an unstable donor site is potentially unethical and may
just be trying to take economic advantage of the patient.
Another difference between male and female pattern baldness is the frontal
hairline. Unlike men, women with hair loss tend to keep their frontal hairline.
They don't have to worry about needing a hair transplant to frame their face
and are instead more concerned about the loss of volume from the top and back.
Hair transplants, though, don't do much to increase volume. It just moves hair
from one place to another.
Which Women Are Good Candidates for Hair Transplant?
According to experts a very small percentage of women are candidates for
hair transplant surgery. About 2% to 5% of women with hair loss will benefit
from this type of procedure. They are:
Women who have suffered hair loss due to mechanical or traction alopecia
Women who have had previous cosmetic or plastic surgery and are concerned
about hair loss around the incision sites.
Women who have a distinct pattern of baldness, similar to that of male
pattern baldness. This includes hairline recession, vertex thinning (on the
crown or top of the scalp), and a donor area that is not affected by
Women who suffer hair loss due to trauma, including burn victims, scarring
from accidents, and chemical burns.
Women with alopecia marginalis, a condition that looks very similar to
Published on March 1, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from the American Hair Loss Association