Many people will experience hair loss at some point in their lives and this loss not restricted just to the scalp. The most visible hair is that on the head and eyebrows and it is the loss of this hair that can be so distressing for sufferers and leads them to look for more permanent solutions.
What causes of hair loss?
Although it is estimated that there are five million hair follicles on the body it is the loss of the most obvious hair, on the head, eyebrows and eyelashes, that causes the most distress. There are several reasons why this might happen, some causes are treatable and hair will grow back, others result in more permanent hair loss. Some of the reasons for temporary hair loss include:-
- Fungal infections of the scalp such as lichen planus.
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
- Some medical conditions can result in some hair loss.
The main cause of permanent hair loss, which can affect both sexes, is male or female pattern baldness which is inherited and can manifest at a very young age. And it is mainly this condition that leads most people to seek cosmetic treatment.
Hair loss treatments
As with all surgical procedures, hair transplant surgery carries risks such as infection and scarring, which need to be taken into consideration when making your decision and it is not suitable for everyone. It is wise to try some of the less invasive options first as it is carried out in private clinics and may be costly. Always consult your GP if you are considering hair transplant surgery.
This option requires a number of sessions, depending on the extent of the hair loss and requires a gap of up to one year between procedures. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic which means the area to be treated is ‘numbed’ to reduce the pain. A small section of scalp is taken from the area of the head with the most hair. The hair on the removed section is then teased apart so that single hairs or small clumps of hair can be transplanted into the area where the hair has been lost. The hairs are ‘planted’ so it looks as natural as possible. It is estimated that it takes about six months for the hair to become established and start to grow again. Hair transplant surgery is not a quick fix it can take some time to get the result you want.
Other options include:-
Scalp reduction which is used for primarily for cases alopecia which has caused scarring. This is where a section of the bald area on the top of the head is removed then the more hairy sections of the scalp are moved and sewn together.
As with all things research is increasing the number of options available for treating conditions such as these. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, clinicians specialising in hair transplant will be able to use cloned hair rather than just repositioning existing hair.
Adriana Frederick writes regularly on medical issues and health related topics such as hair transplant, for a range of medical, health and well-being websites and blogs such as Crown Cosma Clinic.