Women’s Hair Transplant Advice
My 27 year old sister underwent a hair transplant to lower her hairline. To my knowledge she had no hair loss but just wanted to kind of frame her face better. The hair transplant surgeon who performed the surgery claimed to have done the same type of surgery on many female celebrities so my sister was excited. Today she looks like a women with a hair transplant and has become extremely withdrawn. She no longer wants to go to work. She does not date and is very depressed. She is also now losing her normal hair since she had the hair transplant. Is there anything I can do to help her? Can her hair be fixed? Is it normal protocol to do a hair transplant on a 27 year old girl with no real hair loss? Her surgeon is basically ignoring her calls now. Please give me some advise.
Thank you for your letter. It is unfortunate that your sister did not receive the results that she was hoping for. It sounds like there are two issues that need to be addressed, hair loss in a woman and a transplant result that is not completely natural. I will attempt to give you some options regarding both of these problems.
By your letter it sounds like your sister has started losing her “native” hair since the transplant. You didn’t mention where this is occurring but the situation should be evaluated like any woman with hair loss. This involves obtaining a history of the condition as well as an examination by an experienced hair restoration surgeon. The treatable cases such as thyroid function abnormalities, anemia, elevated testosterone or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) should be ruled out. If it is determined that she has female pattern loss then she should consider using minoxidil to treat the condition. She can also consider low level laser therapy after discussing this with her doctor. If she is losing her hair in the area where the grafts taper into her existing hair it could be shock loss from the procedure and if it has been some time (6-10 months) since the surgery without any regrowth then it is likely permanent and she may benefit from additional grafting. If your sister’s hair loss is not in the area adjacent to the transplants it is unlikely that the surgery caused her current loss.
The second issue is the appearance of a transplant that does not appear natural. You didn’t mention why you felt this way but there could be several causes. Misdirection of the grafts could cause the hairs to grow in a direction that does not flow with the existing hair. The options for treatment could include removing the offending grafts and replacing them with grafts that are oriented in the proper direction. A second cause of an unnatural result would be the use of grafts containing too many hairs (2-4) in the very front of the newly reconstructed hairline. The options for treatment would be the same as those just mentioned for misdirected hairs, removal and replacement with the proper type of graft. Another possibility could be a hair line that is too linear or straight. This can be corrected by either removing some of the grafts or adding additional grafts to break up the line. A final possibility that could cause an unnatural result would be a transplant that didn’t create enough density such that there is wide spacing between the grafts. This can be corrected by additional grafting by an experienced surgeon. If your sister didn’t want to go through the process again and there is minimal or no scarring in the grafted area she could use laser hair removal to rid the area of the transplanted hair.
At this point it is very important to find a physician that has considerable experience in the medical and surgical treatment of hair loss in women. It is perfectly acceptable to ask a physician about their experience in this area, request to talk to some of his women patients, and to see his or her surgical results.
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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.