"Beauty comes as much from the mind as from the eye."
- Grey Livingston
Cosmetic Surgery>>

Hair Replacement
If You're Considering Hair Replacement...

Hair loss is primarily caused by a combination of aging, a change in hormones, and a family history of baldness. As a rule, the earlier hair loss begins, the more severe the baldness will become. Hair loss can also be caused by burns or trauma, in which case hair replacement surgery is considered a reconstructive treatment, and may be covered by health insurance.

The Truth About Hair Loss

Baldness is often blamed on poor circulation to the scalp, vitamin deficiencies, dandruff, and even excessive hat-wearing. All of these theories have been disproved. It's also untrue that hair loss can be determined by looking at your maternal grandfather, or that 40-year-old men who haven't lost their hair will never lose it.

The Best Candidates for Hair Replacement

Hair replacement surgery can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but the results won't necessarily match your ideal. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

It's important to understand that all hair replacement techniques use your existing hair. The goal of surgery is to find the most efficient uses for existing hair.

Hair replacement candidates must have healthy hair growth at the back and sides of the head to serve as donor areas. Donor areas are the places on the head from which grafts and flaps are taken. Other factors, such as hair color, texture and waviness or curliness may also affect the cosmetic result. There are a number of techniques used in hair replacement surgery. Sometimes, two or more techniques are used to achieve the best results.

Transplant techniques, such as punch grafts, mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts, and strip grafts are generally performed on patients who desire a more modest change in hair fullness. Flaps, tissue-expansion and scalp-reduction are procedures that are usually more appropriate for patients who desire a more dramatic change.

Remember, there are limits to what can be accomplished. An individual with very little hair might not be advised to undergo hair replacement surgery.

Hair Loss in Women

Some doctors estimate that one in five women will experience some degree of hair loss usually caused by aging, illness, or hormonal changes after menopause. Women tend to experience a subtle thinning all over the scalp rather than losing hair in patches as is common in men. To correct the problem, some women choose to wear a wig or hair extensions. Others have had some success using a topical prescriptive drug. The effectiveness of such drugs varies in some patients and simply prevents further hair loss without stimulating any appreciable new growth. Hair replacement surgery may be the answer for those who feel uncomfortable with either of these options.

Because mini-grafts are usually the surgical treatment of choice for filling-in thinning areas, good candidates for this procedure should have dense hair growth at the back of the head. Mini-grafts are harvested from this dense area and replanted in thinning areas to create a fuller look. Occasionally flap and tissue expansion procedures may be used if the individual is judged to be a good candidate.

If you're considering a hair replacement procedure, it's important to understand that you will never have the coverage you had prior to your hair loss, but surgery may camouflage the thin areas and give you more fullness.

All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk

Hair replacement surgery is normally safe when performed by a qualified, experienced physician. Still, individuals vary greatly in their physical reactions and healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.

As in any surgical procedure, infection may occur. Excessive bleeding and/or wide scars, sometimes called "stretch-back" scars caused by tension may result from some scalp-reduction procedures.

In transplant procedures, there is a risk that some of the grafts won't "take". Although it is normal for the hair contained within the plugs to fall out before establishing regrowth in its new location, sometimes the skin plug dies and surgery must be repeated. At times, patients with plug grafts will notice small bumps on the scalp that form at the transplant sites. These areas can usually be camouflaged with surrounding hair.

When hair loss progresses after surgery, an unnatural, "patchy" look may result-especially if the newly-placed hair lies next to patches of hair that continue to thin out. If this happens, additional surgery may be required.
Dr. Harry Marshak, F.A.C.S.
421 North Rodeo Drive | Beverly Hills, CA 90210
About Dr. Marshak|patient financing|the rodeo collection|what to expect
cosmetic surgery|reconstructive surgery|procedures in spanish|contact us