Hair Restoration: What are My Options?

In Birmingham, AL

By Blake Raggio MD

man with grey beard smiling | Raggio Facial Plastic Surgery

Published on January 2021

Hair Restoration: What are My Options?

In December’s article, “The Anatomy of Facial Aging,” we discussed the ins and outs of the facial aging process. This month, I would like to discuss the nuances of Hair Loss and the available treatment options.

Hair Loss Affects Men & Women
Let’s face it, hair loss represents a distressing issue that plenty of us are going to experience at some point in our lives. In fact, hair loss affects a large portion of the population,
including up to 85% of males and 40% of females, and its incidence increases with age for both sexes. Hair loss can have a devastating effect on your self- confidence, and it can make you look older than your stated age and leave you looking less youthful.

What Causes Hair Loss?
Though many causes of hair loss exist, by far the most common etiology is androgenic alopecia (AGA), a hormone- sensitive pattern of hair loss that affects both men and women. Typical hair loss patterns exist with AGA and include a receding temple hair line (male-pattern hair loss) or a diffusely thin head of hair especially evident at the part (female- pattern hair loss). Another telltale sign of AGA includes the thinning of the hair caliber and lightening of the hair color. The good news for patients who suffer from AGA is that they represent ideal candidates for hair restoration.

For those patients who may not be sure whether they have AGA, it remains important to rule out other less common etiologies of hair loss including inflammatory or traumatic origins, as these conditions may not respond well to current hair restoration modalities. Signs and symptoms associated with inflammatory or traumatic hair loss would include the following: an unusual hair loss pattern, many broken hairs, excessive shedding, scalp inflammation, unexplained scarring, and scalp pain, burning or itching.

Are There Non-Surgical Treatments for Hair Loss?
Non-surgical modalities exist which may halt the progression of hair loss and even help grow new hairs. These range from over-the-counter products (shampoos and vitamins) to prescription medications (Rogaine and Propecia) to scalp injections using autogenous blood products. Though many options exist, the treatment with the largest body of evidence supporting its use remains Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP). PRP is extracted from the patient’s own blood and processed in a way that collects the growth factors within the blood. PRP scalp injections have been proven to a) decrease hair shedding, b) thicken current hairs, c) and regenerate new hair; and thus, remains the “gold-standard” in non-surgical hair restoration.

What About Hair Transplants?
The stigma previously associated with hair transplants is over. So long are the days of unsightly and unnatural results from outdated techniques such as “hair plugs” and “scalp rotational flaps,” to name a few. Recent advancements in surgical hair restoration, however, have made hair transplantation an increasingly effective, safe, and reliable way for patients distressed by hair loss to regain a more youthful and natural appearance of their hair.

In short, hair transplantation is a minimally invasive procedure where healthy donor hairs, taken from the back of your scalp, are implanted into thinning or balding areas. The newly transplanted hair follicles then grow to restore thickness and volume to otherwise depleted parts of your scalp.

What Hair Restoration Plan Is Best for Me?
First, one must recognize that although certain hair loss patterns exist, hair loss remains unique to each patient. That said, a customized treatment plan, often using a combination approach, remains paramount to achieve optimal results. Next, you should consult RICH P with a physician who has specialty training in the various hair restoration techniques mentioned above, as your provider may recommend treatments ranging from non-invasive modalities (e.g.. shampoos, supplements, prescription medicines) to procedural interventions (e.g., PRP injections, Hair Transplant).

Lastly, choose a surgeon whom you trust.
There are few things more important than
your relationship with your doctor.
In Good Health,

Blake Raggio, M.D
Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

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    I am a week post-op from my cosmetic rhinoplasty with Dr. Blake Raggio, a Facial Plastic Surgeon here in Birmingham, Alabama. I just had my cast removed today and I could not be happier with my results already!

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