Why Do More Men Have Hair Transplant Surgery Than Women? What Impedes Women With Hair Loss from Having a Hair Transplant, if Anything?
If you keep up with my blog, you know women’s hair loss is a very complex topic, and women’s hair transplant surgery is no less complex. However, hair transplantation for women is more than possible. In fact, I have performed hundreds of hair restoration surgeries on women. When I began transplant surgery in the 70s only 2% of my patients were women; this number has increased fivefold.
To answer your first question—While there are many causes for hair loss in men besides genetics, a majority of men facing hair loss have male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Just as with women’s hair loss, men can also lose hair because of hormones, stress, and certain medications, among other causes. Men with pattern baldness are usually optimal candidates for hair restoration surgery because they have an adequate donor region for harvesting follicular grafts. Women’s expectations are generally much higher than men’s. Men approach hair transplant surgery wanting more hair, while women usually want a return to full thickness. Thinning hair is not acceptable for them, and oftentimes more than one session may be necessary.
Another reason you hear about more men undergoing hair restoration surgery is that there is a stronger social stigma tied to women discussing hair loss conditions. Remember the attention placed on Lady Gaga when she discussed using Rogaine® in interviews? While the pop superstar took advantage of topic treatments, it is becoming more acceptable for women to seek medical hair loss treatments beyond Rogaine®.
Also, women’s hair restoration surgery is more complex than men’s, and doctors are even sometimes reluctant to perform surgery on women because of the frequency of temporary hair loss amongst female patients. When female patients consider hair transplant surgery, the surgeon must diagnose the reason for loss making sure that it is not just a temporary loss where the hair will regrow with other medical treatments. For example, if hair loss is caused by scarring related to trauma or surgery, the transplanted hair may not grow in its new home.
I have been researching hair loss and hair restoration for 35 years. Therefore, after a thorough consultation which may include a scalp biopsy to confirm diagnosis, I am usually able to pinpoint the cause of a patient’s hair loss and suggest a suitable treatment plan, which may include surgery, hair loss prevention medication, or other therapies to regrow hair.
Now, for the second question—There are multiple variables that could prevent both men and women from having hair transplant surgery. In addition to an inadequate donor region or a larger than normal recipient area, hair loss caused by high fevers, trauma, or hormone fluctuation, such as women who lose hair during pregnancy, is often temporary. Likewise, men and women who lose their hair because of certain medications, especially after chemotherapy, can experience temporary hair loss. Usually once medications are discontinued the hair loss stops and hair recovers. Patients with temporary hair loss are not candidates for hair transplant surgery. However, these patients often need to seek the care of a hair restoration specialist to determine the cause of hair loss.
I have performed hundreds of hair restorations on women, and they have been equally as successful and grow as well as my male hair transplant procedures, as you can see in my women’s hair restoration before and after gallery. The “pattern” of female pattern hair loss is different from male pattern hair loss. Women, luckily, do not go totally bald like men. Men bald from the front backwards and lose hair in the temporal regions (around and above the ears) whereas only 12% of women lose hair near the ears. Women are most likely to begin balding near the front of the head and on the crown, leaving a rim of good hair around the head. Because men and women bald differently, I use specialized techniques to separate the donor and treatment regions during female hair transplant surgery to accommodate the distinct challenges presented by this procedure.
If you are a women experiencing hair loss and considering hair restoration, you need to first determine the cause of your hair loss. Schedule a consultation to learn more and to find out if you might be a candidate for surgery. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook.