Hair Transplant VS Hair Replacement Systems
Written by: BusterWriting
The Basics of Hair Loss
Hair thinning and hair loss are conditions that affect nearly half of all men by the age of 50, and 1 in 5 women throughout their lives. However, for men, Alopecia or male pattern baldness can begin to affect them as early as during their late 20s. In fact, according to national statistics, approximately two-thirds of males will experience significant hair loss between their 30s and 50s, and nearly 40% of all men within the UK are completely bald. This statistic compares to 85% of men in the United States who will experience significant hair thinning or hair loss by the time they are 50 years old.
Causes of Hair Loss
There are numerous causes of hair loss and hair thinning. Between hereditary influences, medical conditions, and even psychological causes, the sources of hair loss are varied enough that correct testing and diagnoses are every bit as important as the treatments themselves. The treatments can be every bit as different and personalised as the causes and range from dietary changes to medications to surgery if the patient wants to be able to grow their own hair again.
Otherwise, there are countless options available for those who would rather replace their own hair with something else entirely, including hair replacement systems like what Hairbro has to offer. There is no true hair loss cure, so to speak, so be sure to research your options thoroughly before making any decisions so that you have a clear expectation of what may or may not work best for your situation. Ask yourself what your ultimate goals are in both the short-term and the long-term, discuss your options with loved ones and professionals alike, and choose what will ultimately make you happiest.
Genetics is the top reason why a person may experience hair thinning or hair loss, either as early-onset or toward their 50s. If you come from a long line of people with balding issues, the chances are high that you may experience the same in your lifetime. This can be either male- or female-pattern baldness in the form of a receding hairline (for men) or patchy baldness and noticeable thinning (for women).
Alopecia - Alopecia Areata is one of the leading medical causes of hair loss. This is an autoimmune condition that causes the body’s cells to attack itself, specifically within the hair follicles of the scalp and/or body. It can affect small, quarter-sized areas, the entire scalp, or even the entire body depending on the extent of the condition.
There is currently no known cure for Alopecia, but there are a couple of types of treatments available for those who just want to encourage hair growth.
● Steroid Injections- Anti-inflammatory injections, oral medications, and topical ointments can sometimes help relieve any agitation that’s keeping your hair follicles from being able to produce new hair fibers and/or causing your follicles to shed before the natural end of your hair’s life cycle. This option typically requires a series of treatments before you begin to show improvement.
● Immunotherapy Medications- Because Alopecia is an autoimmune condition, immunotherapy chemicals can potentially cause an allergic reaction that would stimulate hair growth. This method of treatment can cause itching, and would also require multiple treatments before the patient began to see genuine improvement. There are mixed results for immunotherapy because it relies on the patient having a reaction to begin with, and not all Alopecia patients are responsive.
Infections- Ringworm is the primary infection that can cause hair loss on the scalp. Thankfully, this condition is fairly easily treated with topical or oral antibiotics, and the hair loss effect is only temporary. If you have any lasting issues with having your hair grow back, however, you may want to look into additional treatment.
Thyroid Disease- Any irregularity within your thyroid gland can result in brittle hair, hair loss, and other such side effects. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism alike may negatively impact the health of your hair follicles. Thyroid nodules are likely to cause hair loss and thinning as well. Treatment for such conditions will be based on the type and severity of the thyroid disease, ranging from hormone-suppressant or hormonereplacement medications to surgery. Either way, correcting overall thyroid function should, in theory, correct the hair loss issue.
Medications and Oral Supplements
Unfortunately, some of the medications we take for completely unrelated issues may have hair loss as a potential side effect. It’s important to pay attention to all possible side effects when starting a new medication, or even to double-check old ones so that you’re not caught off guard if and when something happens. Medications that have been known to have this side effect include (but are not limited to):
● Blood pressure stabilisers
● Arthritis medications
● Cancer treatments
● Heart medications
● Cholesterol-lowering medications
● Blood thinners
● Anticonvulsants (for seizure patients)
● Acne treatments (particularly Isotretinoin, better known as Accutane)
● Hormone Therapy (any dramatic change in hormones is known to potentially cause hair loss-testosterone treatments are common when this is the case)
If you’re on a medication that has hair loss as a side effect and have noticed a definite change in your hair volume, talk to your doctor to see if there are other options available for you to try. If not, you may be able to treat the hair loss symptom without changing your medication.
Drastic Lifestyle Changes
Extreme loss of sleep, fad diets, and sudden and extreme weight gain or weight loss are all lifestyle changes that can dramatically affect hair growth. Dieting in such a way that deprives the body of nutrients it needs (i.e. fasting or unsafe cleanses) can both decrease the time that your hair is in its growth phase and cause the follicles to shed before it’s time. Additionally, insomnia (or general lack of sufficient sleep) can alter the body in a variety of ways, including a result of hair thinning or hair loss.
People are generally familiar with this cause. Radiation typically refers to the radiation therapy that cancer patients are known to receive. Similarly to chemotherapy, this treatment targets and destroys cancerous cells, but is also prone to destroying healthy cells as well. Most notably, it will target any cells that grow rapidly, including hair cells. This side effect is generally localised, however, restricted to the actual part of the body receiving the radiation therapy. In other words, if you’re receiving radiation on your shoulder or leg, you’re not likely to experience hair loss on your scalp.
This is a rare but still viable cause of hair loss. The stress the patient is under has to be extreme enough to jar the body into a state of physical panic. There is currently no scientific proof that reduction of stress factors can improve one’s ability to grow their hair, but the effect has been noted in several studies.
Hair Transplants - Facts, Warnings, and More
How Does It Work?
Hair transplants take donor hairs from a place typically unaffected by hair loss or thinning, usually from the lower part of the back of the head, and implant them wherever the thinning or bald patch is. There are two kinds of transplants:
● Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)- This method has been improved upon by the method below, but FUT involves removing tissue from the area providing the donor follicles. Once removed, the tissues are cut into individual follicular unit grafts. Then, small cuts are made directly into the scalp where the grafts will go, and the grafts are carefully implanted into those pre-made holes. This method can leave noticeable scarring.
● Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) - There is significantly less scarring with this particular method of hair transplant surgery. It’s more precise and involves simply removing each individual follicle from the donor patch. Then, holes are made in the scalp through which to implant those follicles. This part can be both painful and unpleasant even with anesthetics, as you can hear the impact through your skull, and the process is done usually a few thousand times. Most surgeons recommend using headphones during this stage of the procedure to minimise mental discomfort.
As far as the processes go, the removal of the follicles is described as somewhat unpleasant, but entirely bearable. The making of the new holes for those sheaths to go into, however, is the most unpleasant bit by far, and you’ll want to make sure to ask for additional anesthetics if you’re feeling it too much. The actual implantation of the hair follicles is easily the part that bothers people the least.
How Long Does It Take to Restore Hair Growth?
After the procedure, the hair inside the transplanted follicle sheaths will usually fall out within the first couple of weeks, replaced by new growth over the following months. This is a crucial detail to know before you make any decisions, as the results are not immediate by any means. It’s important to know that these implants can take up to a year to fully take root and begin to grow like every other follicle on your head. However, the implanted hairs should grow and blend in with the rest of your hair over time.
Once you’ve started to see the new growth, keep track of that growth over the next several months and years to make sure it remains healthy. It should truly blend in with the hair on the rest of your head once it’s had time to adapt to its new location, but it may help to take pictures every month to document progress.
Who Is It For?
Another extremely important thing to keep in mind is that hair transplant procedures will not work for those suffering from Alopecia Totalis (loss of all hair on the head) or Alopecia Universalis (loss of all hair on the body) since there won’t be enough active and healthy hair follicles to cover the affected areas. The same may, unfortunately, be said for those who are suffering from hair loss due to chemotherapy, since the chemicals tend to affect hair growth systemically as well.
Those who suffer from male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, hair loss due to medication side effects, or even Alopecia Areata (localised Alopecia) may benefit from a hair transplant if they should choose to go that route. If a patient is not interested in surgical procedures, however, neither FUT nor FUE will be for them, and they may wish to look into hair replacement systems or other treatments.
People will often try to travel somewhere that will offer the procedure for significantly less money. This can be incredibly dangerous for a multitude of reasons, but if you’re going to look into such a workaround, make sure that you at least thoroughly research the facility and doctor you plan to visit.
Oftentimes, the surgeons will be the ones who give you your consultation, information, and price quote, but a nurse or an assistant is given the responsibility of performing the procedure itself. Ask during your consultation who will actually be doing the hair transplant, and if at any point you’re uncomfortable with the situation, ask questions and make changes until you’re satisfied. Even aside from the money you’re spending on the procedure, it’s your own body, and your satisfaction, safety, and health are the highest priorities.
Additionally, if the surgery does not take for whatever reason--the follicles don’t connect with your bloodstream, the procedure was done incorrectly, or the condition that caused your hair loss is preventing you from being able to succeed with the transplants--you need to be certain that your surgeon will still take care of you. Some may do the procedure but not have sufficient aftercare provided as part of the cost. Others may provide aftercare for the transplants, but not continue working with you if the surgery itself fails.
Make sure you know what kind of care you’ll receive after the procedure. Find out what the surgeon will and won’t do if something goes awry or if the implants don’t take (which is rare, but still deserves a contingency plan just in case). Finally, a good question to ask any surgeon for any procedure is how many times they have performed it and what percentage of them have resulted in complications. Make your decision based on these pieces of information along with the price you’re quoted.
Side Effects and Recovery
As with any kind of surgery or procedure that requires making incisions into the skin, there will be a recovery period. The most frustrating and difficult part of that period is the first few nights afterward. You have to sleep with your head completely straight in order for the newly implanted follicles to align with your blood vessels properly.
Aside from this aspect of recovery, the hardest part can be waiting. Once the newly implanted hairs fall out of their follicles (which is completely normal), there will likely be a period of a few months before you start to see new growth. If you’re patient and the surgeon did the procedure correctly, though, you’ll eventually see the results you’re dreaming of.
The cost of hair transplants varies greatly depending on how large the patch is that needs implants, who and where you seek the procedure from, and other medical factors that your surgeon will go over with you during your consultation. The range can be anywhere from $1000 to $30,000.
Hair Replacement System
Hair Replacement Systems
Hair replacement systems are non-surgical, non-invasive, and temporary solutions to hair loss and hair thinning. Though they are not permanent, they keep you in complete control of your hair volume, color, style, and even texture. Thanks to their lack of side effects and the freedom they provide anyone suffering from hair loss, hair replacement systems have become safe, popular alternatives to hair transplant surgeries.
Toupees, hairpieces, and wigs are all examples of these systems, though the materials used have improved exponentially over the years to make them indistinguishable from a person’s natural hair. The hair itself is typically attached to either a lace base or a polyurethane base.
There’s quite a long list of reasons why people are turning to this alternative, including but not limited to:
● Safety - There is almost no risk whatsoever to hair replacement. The only possible side effect is an allergic reaction to the adhesive that’s used, and even that is extremely rare.
● Immediate Results - Hair transplant surgeries require you to wait for several months with a bald or thin spot before you finally start seeing results. With hair replacement systems, your results are immediate, painless, and intensely satisfying!
● No Downtime - There is absolutely no recovery time since this is not a surgical or invasive procedure. You can make an appointment to have your hair replacement system applied and styled, then go about your day like normal...but with a huge boost to your confidence!
● Freedom - Because this does not rely on whether or not your body will accept or reject hair follicles, you have the freedom to choose exactly what you want. You can decide what color, style, and thickness works best for you without having to worry about whether or not you’ll change your mind later on. If you do, you can just switch out your current system for something else!
● Ease - Unlike with hair transplant surgeries, there’s no need to do heavy amounts of research, ask hundreds of questions in order to feel safe, or spend all kinds of time and money on finding the right doctor. All you have to do is search through a reliable hair replacement system supplier’s inventory, find what you like, and place your order! If you’d like, you can schedule an appointment at a nearby salon to have it applied and styled for you as well.
● Cost - This non-surgical alternative naturally costs a fraction of what hair transplant surgery would cost. Generally speaking, hair replacement systems should cost between $100 and $1000, though the majority you’ll find will be in the low hundreds.
When compared to the pain, the cost, and the time that would be invested in hair transplant surgery, there are all kinds of benefits to using a hair replacement system instead.
As mentioned above, there are hardly any cons to a hair replacement system, and the ones that could be listed are subjective. If permanence is an issue, keep in mind that that you would always have the ability to keep multiple options on hand so that you never go without. The only possible side effect is an allergic reaction to the materials used, and that’s an extremely rare occurrence thanks to the evolution of the products used over the years.
The vast majority of options through Hairbro are available for under $200. When you consider the fact that you could purchase five different hair systems for the price of the least expensive hair transplant surgery available, you may start to ask yourself whether or not a painful, expensive, and non-guaranteed surgical procedure is really worth it.
Hair System VS. Hair Transplant - So Which Choice Is Best For You?
Make informed, educated decisions anytime you’re considering a medical or surgical solution to a health or cosmetic issue. Talk to people, look online, ask as many questions as come to mind, and don’t settle for anything that makes you uncomfortable. Even if you’re considering transplant surgery but aren’t quite ready to invest in it just yet, consider trying a hair replacement system in the meantime and see how it affects your lifestyle. When it’s all said and done, what matters the most is that you’re satisfied with the hair on your head and the reflection in your mirror.