While tens of millions of men and women alike struggle with genetic hair loss, or androgenic alopecia, each year, the increasingly effective and natural results of modern hair transplants have inspired more individuals than ever to undergo hair transplantation surgery to restore the hair they have lost. Advanced hair transplant techniques use real hair from unaffected areas of the scalp to reverse receding hairlines and fill in bald spots for results that look and feel real — because they are. With minor side effects, little to no downtime and truly transformative outcomes, hair transplants have quickly become the gold standard in hair restoration solutions for those living with the detrimental effects of genetic hair loss.
At Cooley Hair Center, we are proud to offer our male and female patients comprehensive hair transplant services for those interested in combating genetic hair loss with lasting, real results. If thinning or balding hair has taken an adverse toll on your self-confidence and self-image, now is the time to schedule your one-on-one consultation with board-certified dermatologist and internationally-renowned hair transplant expert Dr. Jerry Cooley. Dr. Cooley will sit down with you and evaluate your concerns to devise a treatment plan that helps you regain a thick, full and youthful head of hair with long-lasting results.
What is Hair Transplantation?
Hair transplantation surgery is the most effective and lasting method for treating male and female pattern baldness. Unlike antiquated procedures of the past that relied on large hair grafts and produced the unnatural and infamous “pluggy” or “doll head” look, modern hair transplant procedures are designed to create natural-looking results that are indistinguishable from the surrounding hair. As a minimally-invasive and highly successful procedure, it’s easy to understand why the number of men and women opting for hair transplants is increasing every year.
The Hair Transplant Process
The processes behind hair transplant procedures are relatively straightforward. Hair transplantation works by harvesting healthy donor hair follicles and transplanting them to the areas of the scalp where the hair follicles have died out. Hair grows naturally in groupings of one to four hairs, referred to as follicular units. During modern hair transplant procedures, viable follicular units are harvested from active parts of the scalp, known as the donor sites. The follicular units are then transplanted to rebuild thinning hairlines and fill in bald patches.
While women tend to suffer from diffuse hair loss that occurs across the entire scalp, most men only lose hair from the tops of their heads and generally bald to a more significant degree than women. For men, hair follicles located on the back and sides of the head are much more genetically-resistant to hair loss than the follicles found on the front and top of the scalp. By harvesting these healthy follicular units and transplanting them to sections that have begun to thin out, hair can be effectively redistributed to provide a more consistent and uniform density. Transplanted follicular units will retain their genetically-resistant properties and continue to grow hair, making them indispensable to successful and lasting hair restoration techniques.
Since hair loss in women affects the whole scalp, the donor sites typically used in hair transplantation surgery for men aren’t always viable donor sites for women. This can make hair transplantation surgery options more limited for women; however, you may still be a candidate for hair transplants depending on the extent of your hair loss. At Cooley Hair Center, Dr. Cooley provides hair transplantation surgery to his patients using only the latest, minimally-invasive surgical techniques: follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction.
Follicular Unit Transplantation
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) is one of the two modern methods used for hair transplants today. During a FUT procedure, a strip of the scalp is removed from the back or side of the head. This donor strip is then carefully dissected to separate the healthy follicular units from the tissue, while the skin is sutured shut with dissolvable stitches. The viable follicular units are then transplanted into the targeted areas of the scalp, creating a fuller and thicker head of hair.
FUT results in a thin horizontal incision line where the donor strip was removed. Still, any subsequent scarring from this technique can be easily camouflaged by the surrounding hair and will continue to fade in appearance for up to 12 months. While results are not instant, patients can expect to see a significant improvement in their hair density and coverage after about six months, though new hair growth will continue to persist for up to 18 months. The results you attain with FUT should last indefinitely so that you can enjoy a fuller, healthier head of hair for a lifetime. Additional treatments, such as hair loss medications or platelet-rich plasma therapy, may also be recommended following your hair transplantation surgery to prevent or slow down any future hair loss.
Follicular Unit Extraction
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) utilizes a much more meticulous approach to hair restoration surgery than FUT. Rather than removing a strip of the scalp to provide viable hair grafts, FUE works by extracting individual follicular units from the donor sites. Using a handheld punch device, Dr. Cooley can harvest healthy hair follicles without making large incisions or leaving behind a long scar at the back of your scalp.
Once a sufficient amount of hair follicles have been harvested, the hair grafts are transplanted in the same manner as FUT. The only difference between these two techniques lies in the method used to extract the hair grafts at the beginning of the procedure. The circular excision marks left behind by FUE tend to heal very well, leaving behind faint scarring that is easily covered by short length hair growth over time.
As with the FUT technique, results will not be immediate but will be visible around the six-month mark when density and coverage provide noticeable improvements. Final results will be apparent around the 18-month mark, at which point you should enjoy fuller, thicker hair for a lifetime. While hair loss may continue after your procedure, medications or platelet-rich plasma therapy may be recommended after your surgery to prevent or slow down hair loss and preserve your results.
Who is a Candidate for Hair Transplants?
Most middle-aged men and women with genetic-related hair loss can be great candidates for hair transplantation surgery; however, it’s essential to understand that hair transplants are not right for everyone. While there are no age restrictions on the procedure, it can be challenging for providers to determine the stability of donor sites in younger patients and whether those sites will still be stable over the patient’s lifetime. Early hair loss in young men is often indicative of more extensive balding down the road, so hair transplants may not be worthwhile until you have an established balding pattern.
Women’s hair loss usually presents as thinning across the entire scalp rather than the balding patterns seen at the top of the head with men. Because of this, women tend to have less stable donor areas than men experiencing hair loss, which means fewer women than men are ideal candidates for hair transplantation procedures. However, if diagnosis confirms stable donor areas, women can still make excellent candidates for hair transplants.
During your consultation, Dr. Cooley will evaluate your hair loss patterns, donor sites and goals for the procedure to determine if hair transplantation surgery is the right option for you. In general, you may be a good candidate for hair transplant if:
- Your hair loss is caused by androgenetic alopecia
- You are over the age of 25 and have an established balding pattern
- You have a sufficient amount of viable donor hair available for transplant
- You have realistic results about the results you can achieve with hair transplants
- You understand that hair transplants are not a “quick fix” and require patience as results develop.
Schedule Your Hair Transplant Consultation with Cooley Hair Center
If you are considering hair transplants but are worried about the unnatural appearance of hair plugs or the telltale signs of outdated procedures, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Cooley to learn more about modern hair transplantation surgery. Hair loss can often feel like a losing battle, but today’s hair restoration treatments result in hair that blends in effortlessly without distracting scars or noticeable signs of having “work done”. To book your appointment, call the Cooley Hair Center today at 704-542-1601 and discover how hair transplantation surgery can transform your appearance, your self-confidence and your life.