Summary of Patient’s Question: Do hair transplant doctors treat hair loss, or prevent hair loss, in addition to performing hair transplants, and if so, what is the recommended hair loss prevention method for a young person?
Doctor Friedman’s Answer:
Depending on family hair loss history, the earlier medical treatment is started the better the chance of stopping future hair loss. The medical treatments available today are limited to Rogaine (Minoxidil) and Propecia. Rogaine, which is topical Minoxidil has been FDA approved for both men and women since the late 1980s; a 5% solution for men and a 2% solution for women. The topical medication should be applied twice daily. Most dermatologists have been disappointed with the overall results and recommend Propecia for males.
Propecia (Finasteride 1%) has been FDA approved for men for at least 10 years and has been extremely successful in stopping hair loss in 92% of patients. The medication is a pill which is taken once daily. Similar to Rogaine any decrease or stopping of hair loss will be reversed when the medication is discontinued. Originally Propecia was touted to regrow hair, but we never saw any substantial regrowth. The earlier a person begins Propecia therapy, the better chances of stopping hair loss. Propecia is not FDA approved for women due to potential birth defects. In post-menopausal women the drug has received mixed reviews. The potential for side-effects is typically limited to sexual dysfunction in approximately 2% of patients. Any side-effects from the medication are reversed within 2 weeks after discontinuing the medication.
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the newest treatment available to stop hair loss. In my experience, I have seen some incredible results with LLLT. For laser to be successful the patient needs to have hair growing over the thinning scalp. The laser will have no effect over a bald scalp. Miniaturization (hair which is in the process of dying) can be reversed and returned to thicker, healthier hair with LLLT. In women, who typically experience diffuse thinning, LLLT has been truly a revolutionary treatment.
Hair transplant surgeons are the best resource to discuss not only hair transplantation, but medical treatments such as Rogaine and Propecia as well as Low Level Laser Therapy.
— Dr. Shelly Friedman, DO
Board Certified Hair Restoration Surgeon
Arizona’s Most Trusted Hair Loss Doctor
Named Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doc – Hair Transplant Surgeon