Whilst the hair transplant has become a very successful procedure for men unfortunately it has nowhere near the same results in women. The is mainly because the way in which the hair is lost between men and women is vastly different.
The hair transplant: great for men – not so good for women
Men often retain strong growth in the back and sides, which means there are healthy areas of scalp which can be migrated to a receding hairline. Unfortunately for women they generally suffer from diffuse hair loss, which affects the whole head and doesn’t leave any areas suitable to hair transplant.
Even where it appears to be thinning in distinct patterns it is usually unstable elsewhere and not suitable for transplant. That’s not to say that all women wouldn’t benefit from a transplant but the percentage who can expect successful results is in the region of 2-5%, whereas it’s closer to 90% for men.
Among the groups in the qualifying 2-5% are women who hair loss around incision sites from cosmetic surgery, distinct pattern baldness (such as vertex thinning or hairline recession) or hair loss due to trauma such as burns.
All is not lost for the remaining majority of women with hair loss though. There are other treatments such as Minoxdil which has positive effects in 80% of women. The results aren’t usually instantaneous and the product has to applied to the scalp daily because it works by slowing down the growth phase of the air, allowing it time to develop more fully.
Other options include laser therapy and laser combs which increases blood flow on the scalp which theoretically stimulates hair growth. Results are mixed although there are some studies showing very encouraging signs with one in particular indicating an improvement in 90% of the participants after 16 weeks.
Many women eventually opt for a wig because it gives instant results and if chosen with care and applied and cared for correctly can be indistinguishable from the real thing. It does of course potentially increase anxiety at the possibility of being “discovered” but is often preferable to the debilitating effects of low self-esteem and confidence caused by female pattern baldness.
The hair transplant may be the way forward for a small minority of women but given the huge cost and invasive nature of the procedure most women would be well advised to explore the other treatments available first.