First and foremost, it is important to seek the advice of your GP before taking any action. It is also vital to source a reputable, qualified hair loss expert who can provide careful assessment and facilitating transplant surgery via an experienced surgeon.
In order to be considered for transplant surgery, you must have a significant amount of good quality existing or 'donor' hair. Hair thinning which occurs in one area eg the crown is more likely to be suitable for hair transplantation. Unfortunately large areas of total hair loss are not deemed suitable for transplantation as the success rate of re-growth is minimal.
You must also be in general good health. Hair transplant is major surgery, performed under local anesthesia with an associated recovery period. In order for the surgery to be a success, you should be fit and healthy and ideally you will not suffer any other major medical conditions.
There are also age constants associated with hair transplant surgery. Candidates should be over 18 but many experienced surgeons will not perform a hair transplant on young adults. This is because genetic or natural hair loss is yet to occur and will affect the transplanted hair. Even if you are in your late 20s or early 30s, hair loss can still occur. This means if you undergo surgery, the new hair could fall out and it's a waste of your investment!
It's worth noting that there are new surgical techniques involved in hair transplants. One option is FUE – Follicular Unit Extraction – which means that hairs are individually extracted from the back of the head and re-planted across the area. This is a lengthy, pain-staking process but the result is minimal scarring and a very natural-looking hairline. The other main technique employed in hair transplantation is FUT – Follicular Unit Transplantation. This technique involves taking a larger area or 'strip' of hair from the back of the head, dividing it into smaller units and then re-planting those units in the desired area of hair loss. Scarring can be slightly more conspicuous at the back of the head as a larger area has been removed but an expert surgeon will minimize incision marks to ensure rapid healing.
Hair transplants do of course utilize your own natural hair and re-growth can be expected within 4 weeks of surgery. Great care must be taken during your recovery period to protect the newly-transplanted hair. However, once it is deemed safe to resume normal activities, the results can be life-transforming. A successful hair transplant is permanent and can restore confidence and self-esteem.