Frequently Asked Questions
The Causes of Hair Loss
Whether you are a man or a woman, by far the most common reason for your hair loss is genetics — that’s right, genetics. There are other potential causes for this situation such as illness, stress, severely poor diet, and medications, but these fall far behind heredity. The medical term for this condition that affects greater than 50 percent of men and one in twenty women is androgenetic alopecia, or male or female pattern baldness, a condition that leads many to our Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire facilities to seek hair loss treatment.
With the clever hair restoration marketing plans that we hear on radio and now on television stations, not to mention the Internet, it is important to know what does NOT cause male and female pattern baldness. You’ve heard the ads over and over and over again. Clogged pores and hair follicles, tiny scalp mites, wearing hats, or using the wrong shampoo are not causes of hair loss conditions. I have hair restoration patients even today who spend thousands of dollars on these “snake oil” hair regrowth products. Money-back guarantee or not, patients should not spend even one hard-earned cent on any of them as they are not an effective hair loss treatment. THEY DO NOT WORK.
These hair loss treatments are designed only to make their manufacturers tons and tons of money at your expense, the very high expense, of people reaching out for anything to help them with their hair loss. Honest, true medical studies have yet to prove these products are capable of hair restoration; do not waste your money on them!
The tendency of male and female pattern baldness can be inherited genetically from EITHER or BOTH sides of your family. The genetic culprit in androgenetic alopecia is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The DHT affects the follicles on the top of your head but not along the back and sides in the vast majority of people. These genetically sensitive follicles begin the process of miniaturization whereby these hairs become progressively shorter and thinner as well as less pigmented, signs of male and female pattern baldness. This is why you can no longer grow your hair long in these thinning areas, leading to the need for hair loss treatment. Eventually these miniaturized hairs become microscopic and disappear from sight. One of the most eye-opening statistics regarding male and female pattern hair loss is that it is not until after 50 percent of ones hair has fallen out that the thinning is even noticed. WOW! This is why it is very important to be examined by hair restoration surgeon Dr. Leonard sooner rather than later in the hair loss process. If you think you may have male or female pattern baldness, contact one of our Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire office locations today for hair loss treatment.
Why does an individual lose his or her hair?
Genetics is the most common reason for hair loss. In fact, 98 percent of patients experience hair loss due to their genetic history. Research indicates that hair loss occurs for two main reasons: dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and decreased blood flow. Men and women both contain the hormone testosterone in their bodies. Obviously, women contain much smaller levels of this hormone. An enzyme known as Type II 5-alpha reductase is found in the hair follicles’ oil glands, converting testosterone to DHT. Understanding DHT is important for patients, especially when we discuss medical treatment options such as Propecia®.
In genetically predisposed men and women, the level of DHT prevents healthy hair from surviving by shortening the growth cycle. As a result, a person’s hair follicles will shrink, becoming shorter, skinnier, and less pigmented. Over time, the continued growth of these miniaturized or shrunken hairs causes a person to become progressively bald.
Unfortunately, it’s only after individuals have lost 50 percent of their hair, that they notice their hair is thinning!
The second cause of hair loss is a result of decreased blood flow to the thinning or bald areas on the scalp. Doppler Flow studies, which use sound waves to measure the flow of blood, reveal there is less blood circulation to balding and thinning areas as compared to the rest of the scalp. Low Level Laser Light Therapy is one form of treatment that can benefit patients affected in this regard.
Does wearing a hat or helmet contribute to hair loss?
No, wearing a hat or helmet has absolutely no affect on the amount of hair an individual has. Similarly, how frequently you wash, brush, and comb your hair, in addition to the type of shampoo used are all factors that do not contribute to hair loss.
How much hair loss per day is considered normal?
The average number of hairs a person loses each day is approximately 100 to 150 hairs. Although this may seem like a lot of hair, if the follicles are healthy and intact, the hair regrows. In adult men and women, the typical head of hair consists of about 150,000 hair follicles.
How is male pattern baldness treated?
Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia – as it is medically referred to – can be addressed through Propecia® (finasteride), Low Level Laser Light Therapy, and/or ROGAINE® (minoxidil). Also, a hair restoration procedure can present another excellent option. Each of these treatments has been medically proven as effective.
What is hair transplantation?
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure in which Dr. Leonard takes hair grafts from the donor area and redistributes them to thinning or balding areas of the scalp. The two methods used to harvest hairs are the traditional (or strip) technique, and the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique, which uses the ARTAS® Robotic System.
Will the hair that’s transplanted fall out?
No, the reason transplanted hairs are removed from the back and sides of the head is because the hair grows lifelong in that area. In other words, hair from the donor area is genetically programmed not to fall out. That is why hair transplantation is the permanent solution to hair loss.
Is a hair transplant painful?
During the hair transplantation surgery, Dr. Leonard uses a local anesthetic to ensure that the procedure is as minimally painful and as comfortable as possible. For several days following surgery, Extra-Strength Tylenol can be taken to help with any minor discomfort that occurs.
What is a good age for a hair transplant?
There is no “perfect” age for a hair transplant. At our offices, we have patients ranging from their early twenties to their early nineties. Good candidates for the procedure, however, are men and women who have realistic expectations of the results, and what can be achieved after a proper examination of one’s scalp. An adequate donor area is also necessary. Because each individual is unique, only an honest evaluation with a hair restoration professional can help someone decide when a transplant is most appropriate for them.
Will I be awake during hair transplantation surgery?
Yes, hair transplant patients are completely awake and alert during the procedure. Since only a mild, local anesthetic is used, patients are able to watch television, movies, or read while they sit in a comfortable chair. If, however, you would prefer a mild sedative for the surgery, it can be arranged. With the ARTAS® Robotic device, patients are pre-medicated in order for them to remain still during the high tech harvesting of the follicular units. If there is any motion by the patient, the robotic arm will not function.
How long does the procedure take?
Generally, a typical strip harvesting surgery will take around 5 hours. The time of surgery also depends on the size of the session. The ARTAS® Robotic FUE technique however, is a more timely procedure, and takes approximately 8 hours to complete.
How long will the hairs be immediately after the transplant?
Generally the hairs are a few millimeters in length immediately following the procedure. Once transplanted, the new hairs sometimes give the appearance of growing but in actuality are just being thrust out. Within a 2-3 week period, almost all of the newly transplanted hairs will have shed. Approximately three to four months following this initial shedding, the new growth of hair begins. To help expedite this waiting period and promote the growth of these news hairs, Dr. Leonard provides two weeks of complimentary laser therapy as well as our Copper Chemist Moisturizing Spray for all of his hair transplant patients.
When will the hair to start to grow?
Patients can expect to see normal hair growth four months following their hair restoration procedure. In some circumstances, hair growth may be slower due to individual variation or multiple surgeries. However, all patients can expect the normal growth rate to occur, which is 1/4 inch per month. Final results are typically achieved 18 months after the hair transplant procedure date.
Will insurance cover my hair transplant surgery?
As hair transplants are almost always considered elective procedures, health plans do not normally pay for hair transplantation surgery. If a patient’s hair loss was caused by an accident or a disease however, this may be covered. Also, for patients who are employed in occupations where physical appearance is a factor such as acting or modeling, demonstrating that the procedure is a critical aspect of being able to earn a livelihood can make the surgeon’s fees tax deductible. In those circumstances, it is necessary for the patient to seek the professional advice of his or her personal accountant.
Do women and men lose their hair for the same reason?
In most situations, the answer is yes. In the U.S., hair loss is a condition affecting 80 million adult men and women.
Can I perm or color my new hair?
Yes! Because transplanted hair is your own growing hair, you will be able to perm, color, cut, curl, and style your hair as you normally would. Like the rest of the hair on your head, transplanted hair will grow at about the same rate, which is 1/4 inch per month.
When can I start exercising again after my transplant surgery?
You can typically resume your exercise routine four days after the procedure. Once the donor area stitches have been removed, you can then resume your weight training. With the ARTAS® Robotic FUE procedure, you may resume weight training sooner.
Is there a best time to have my transplant?
The time of year or season will not have an effect on your hair transplantation procedure. The sooner you begin, however, the sooner you’ll be able to see results and hair growth. Prior to surgery, further progression of hair loss can be treated with medical therapy, such as Propecia®, ROGAINE® Foam, and Low Level Laser Light Therapy. In some cases, it can be too soon to begin hair restoration surgery. Since each patient’s circumstance is different, the one-on-one evaluation with Dr. Leonard will help determine which hair loss treatment will best benefit you.
Is general anesthesia administered during the transplant?
No, hair transplantation procedure only requires a local anesthetic. Patients are awake and able to sit comfortably during the procedure. If you would like to be more sedated, general anesthesia can be an option. General anesthesia, however, is unnecessary and can present additional risks.
Is it okay to wear my hairpiece after surgery?
For the first three days, you may not wear a hairpiece, as your scalp should not be confined in any way. Dr. Leonard also advises that hairpieces be worn as little as possible following surgery for several reasons. First, it can delay healing and regrowth, and second, it’s important for patients to psychologically adjust to being more comfortable without it. Your own hair is now on its way to growing, and you will no longer have use for your hairpiece.
Can someone else’s hair be used to transplant?
No, using another individual’s hair is not possible because of the way foreign tissue is rejected. Someday, with future advances in the field, cloning one’s own hair may be possible.
Do you perform the hair “plug” transplants?
No! Dr. Leonard has not used the hair plug technique for over 18 years. The hair plug technique was developed in the 1950s, and was widely used up until the late 1980′s. Today’s methods have advanced with state of the art precision and smaller hair grafts, consisting of only 1 to 4 hairs.
Do you offer financing options for hair restoration surgery?
Our practice does offer financing options for patients. We accept a variety of payments in the form of cash, personal check, credit card, or individual financing with American HealthCare Lending. American HealthCare Lending is the premier financing company in the cosmetic surgery industry. With over $5 Billion funded and over 300,000 loans inquiries serviced throughout their lenders, this is a name and a program you can trust.
Contact Leonard Hair Transplant Associates
If you would like to learn more about hair loss treatment, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact us today.