Dr. Marc A. Pomerantz has 20 years experience in hair restoration surgery. Here the Doctor has answered some of the common questions bizymoms visitors have about Hair transplant.
Q. What is Hair Transplant and who would be a good candidate for hair transplant surgery?
A. Hair transplantation consists of taking a number of hair follicles or small closely knit groups of 2, 3, or 4 follicles along with minute amounts of the surrounding skin and subcutaneous fatty tissue from the lower hairs in the back and sides of the scalp, dissecting them under very high or microscopic magnification, and placing the grafts into tiny openings in the skin usually in the scalp, but the openings, called receptor sites can be made anywhere in the skin of a human body. I have, personally, done grafts into eyebrows, moustaches, beards, a chest, a pubic area, and thousands of scalps. I do not do eyelash grafts, but some doctors do. One limitation, the graft must be into the same body that the hair is taken from. As all of us cop show devotees know, human hair contains DNA. Grafts from one random person to another would require using anti-rejection drugs; and all of those drugs cause hair loss. You could graft between identical twins, but what would be the point? Identical twins have identical patterns of hair loss. The most important thing with grafting is to do the grafting in such a way that a barber or hair stylist cannot detect the result as grafted.
Determining who would be a good candidate for hair replacement surgery requires skill, judgment, and experience. Again, we should start with the dichotomy of medical versus surgical treatment. Almost any adult person, regardless of gender, who is losing hair is a candidate for some type of medical treatment to attempt to slow, stop, and possibly reverse the hair losing process. As with any medical treatment, we begin with a health history. For women, we want to determine whether or not the patient is pregnant. Also, many doctors want a simple blood test to determine the state of a woman’s thyroid gland because an over or under-active thyroid can cause hair loss with little in the way of other obvious symptoms. Fortunately, the range of safe and effective treatments is broad - something for everyone. Determining whether or not a person is a good candidate for surgery requires an assessment of multiple variable factors. The level of contrast between hair color and skin tones and hair texture are important factors. It is easier to create a hairline that does not appear to be grafted in a person with light colored hair or a person with light brown hair and a lightly tanned complexion. Another important factor is the combination of hair texture and follicular density. Obviously it is better if a patient has a large number of hair follicles per square inch. Another doctor and I devised an instrument called a Densitometer, a simple instrument that allows a doctor to make a quick count of the number of hair follicles in a 4 cm circle. A person with a follicle count below 20 cannot achieve densely thick hair with grafting. Sometimes, it takes more than one session of grafting to obtain full density.
Q. What are the new hair restoration treatments available for men and women?
A. The major new treatments for hair loss include the use of Low Level or Cold Laser Treatment. Since there is no down side to this treatment, it may be ideal for a woman who wants to stop her hair loss. It is safe and effective, and there is no contraindication to using it when a woman is pregnant. Another major change is the willingness of more doctors to prescribe Propecia [Finasteride] for use by women. Although the FDA does not approve this dug for use by any women, it is the most powerful tool to control and possibly reverse hair loss, but it cannot be used in a pregnant woman or a woman in her reproductive years because of the risk of birth defects. While 2% Minoxidil [Rogaine] can be used by a pregnant woman, it is much less effective than the 5% solution. Some women who have used the 5% solution have developed facial hair. Although Minoxidil is much more effective in women than in men, a well kept secret, it is very difficult for someone with long hair to use. The other important development in the field is the use of large numbers of small grafts which produces a wholly natural appearance rather than the original 4 mm [1/4 in] "plugs". The coming development in surgical hair restoration will be cloning in which a few follicles are removed from the donor area, put into a Petri dish, as many grafts as desired can be grown.
Q. Do you provide free consultation and do the clients need to bring any information with them?
A. I do not charge for consults. Information I would like are the names of any drugs that the patient is taking and, for women, a set of blood tests of Thyroid gland activity.
Q. Should medications be taken after hair transplant surgery?
A. Doctors differ somewhat on this. I ask patients to do something to slow or stop the ongoing hair losing process. I also routinely treat a patient with hydrocodone [Vicodin], an antibiotic, and an anti-swelling medicine for a few days after a procedure.
Q. Do the clients need to use a bandage after the surgery?
A. I do not bandage patients after surgery although some doctors do so. We give patients a clean baseball cap to wear during the ride home
Q. When can clients expect to see results?
A. Grafts usually begin to grow on the 4th or 5th day after a procedure. The medical literature says that these small hairs fall out after several days, and the hairs are not seen to be growing again for 5-6 days. Our experience is that in 80% of patients, the grafted hairs just continue to grow.