Let’s say you are a man in your early 20s with a Norwood 2 classification—in other words, you are battling the most common of all hair loss scenarios, receding temples. Should you get a hair transplant, and is now the right time to have one? (Little known fact: many women also suffer temple recession.)
While every individual is different, we can make some generalizations. If you are a man in your teens or early twenties chances are the receding temples are the beginning of a pattern of more profound hair loss that will happen over time. If that is the case, follicles from the back of the scalp that are transplanted to the temples may achieve the short-term goal of filling in the temple area, but in fact are probably not in your long-term best interest.
This is because the sturdy, long-lasting transplanted follicles will most likely be followed by years of further male pattern baldness, which includes further temple recession. Within five years the hair at your temples could be followed by further thinning areas behind temples, resulting in a very unnatural look. Over time further hair loss can result in balding at the crown, and even total loss of all hair except the back and sides. In the worst-case scenario islands of robust hair at the temples would be surrounded by a sea of bald scalp. Obviously this is not a desired outcome for anyone, and yet chain clinics and some disreputable hair restoration outfits will have no problem parting you from your money to perform a temple procedure where this end result is practically a foregone conclusion.
What’s a young man to do? Fortunately there are many non-surgical options that can help you keep the hair you have. Medications such as Rogaine or Propecia can have a significant impact in slowing or even halting hair loss.
Now let’s say you are a 50-year-old man with temple recession. One thing is for sure—you are not alone. Most men will experience at least some hair loss by age 50, and temple recession is the most common area.
Dramatic loss of hair over the next decade resulting in a Norwood 7 classification is almost certainly not in your future. Your loss will typically be slow and gradual. You might be a perfect candidate for a hairline transplant to address temple recession. With the follicular unit excision (FUE) technique, it is possible to precisely and artistically fill in the gaps follicle by follicle.
In either case, the best thing to do is to find a very experienced physician at a reputable clinic. Avoid chains that employ sales people to tout procedures that may not be in your long-term interest.
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.