What age should you get a hair transplant? When is it too late for a hair transplant? These are common questions among those suffering male pattern hair loss, the first signs of which can often appear in the late teens and early 20s.
Since no two heads are exactly alike, a definitive age for someone to get a hair transplant cannot be given. If anyone simply tells you, “age 25” turn around and bolt for the door.
When a relatively young man comes to my office, I examine his individual level of hair loss, its pattern, and take a family history on both the mother’s and father’s side. Oftentimes an individual is coming to see me to get a second opinion after visiting another clinic that “sells” hair restoration. Many clinics will gladly perform a transplant on a 24-year-old, which can have deliver unfortunate results down the road.
This happens when hair is transplanted from the back of the head to, say, restore hair to the temples. Things may look fine for a few years, until the temple recessions accelerates from a Norwood 2A to a Norwood 4A, which is a perfectly foreseeable trajectory of male pattern baldness. What’s left are tufts of robust hairs unnaturally and insufficiently distributed amidst a bald area.
Furthermore, if you are experiencing hair loss in your 20s, several decades of hair loss is likely to be in your future. Since there are a finite number of donor grafts that can be harvested from the back of the head, you don’t want to use the majority of the viable donor grafts all up through multiple sessions by the time you are 35. Even men who have had transplants in their 40s can suffer similar results down the road.
So how is someone to know the correct way to make age-appropriate hair transplant decisions? The answer is this cannot be done via a web search or by visiting clinics with a sales team with monthly targeted sales goals. Your age, your unique hair loss situation and your family history must be taken into account.
I urge you to seek out a very reputable hair restoration doctor and clinic that is known for giving sound advice, not one that tries to sell you something you may or may not need. Indeed, great results can oftentimes be achieved without a transplant at all, by administering finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine). Non-surgical treatments such as low level laser therapy is also effective in many cases, as is platelet-rich plasma.
If a transplant is determined to be in your best interest at your current age, it’s important that the physician be extremely experienced in designing the right hairline for your age and face, and taking into account the likelihood of future hair loss . The goal is a transplant that is completely undetectable to your family, your friends, and even your hairdresser. This outcome is achievable, and indeed, you should not settle for less.
Vet your surgeon thoroughly. Is he or she a member in good standing of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery and the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery? Does the physician make you feel comfortable? Study their curriculum vitae.
Does the physician offer consultations and tailored advice with absolutely no pressure to decide or buy? I do.
Dr. James A. Harris is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, inventor of patented follicular unit excision technology, published author in the field of hair restoration and an advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Harris or read rave reviews from his patients.