Realistic Goals & Expectations
For many women and men considering hair transplant surgery, it represents an opportunity to reverse the aging process and look and feel younger again. While natural looking hair grafts can certainly help them achieve that goal, prospective patients should thoroughly discuss their hair transplant expectations, goals, and possible results with their doctor before their surgery. Having realistic goals about your hair transplant results and working in cooperation with your doctor is the key to patient satisfaction with hair restoration surgery.
The days of unnatural pluggy, barbie doll looking hair transplants are long over, despite how much it’s made fun of in the movies.
Hair transplants also will not give you the unnatural, detectable look that a hairpiece or toupee will. Hair transplant surgery involves transferring hair loss resistant hair from one area to your balding or thinning area. The success of this will depend on many different variables outlined below.
Every patient should have a thorough consultation with their hair transplant doctor where his or her goals and possible results are discussed. Before going to your consultation, you should have a list of questions ready to ask your doctor. Perhaps you have researched hair transplants on the internet or discussed it with a friend and have developed a list of questions in your mind. Our Consultation article was written to help prepare you for meeting with hair transplant clinics.
While it is the doctor’s responsibility to inform you about (among other things) his skills, experience with other patients and his outline to help you achieve your hair restoration goals, the prospective patient also has a responsibility to educate themselves as much as possible, satisfy all their questions and understand the possible results and limitations of hair transplant surgery for them.
The Variables of your Hair Transplant Results
The results of your hair transplant surgery are dependent on these main factors:
1. Your age
2. The amount of hair loss you currently have
3. The amount of donor hair available
4. The amount of hair loss you may have in the future
5. Family history of hair loss
Your age plays an important factor for a number of reasons. For example, if you are a 35-year-old male, your doctor must consider #2, #3, #4 and #5. With his examination, he should be able to determine the pattern of male hair loss you have and how you will look 10, 20 or even 30 years after your surgery. If you are susceptible to future hair loss, he must take this into consideration when determining the distribution pattern for your implanted hair grafts.
The doctor will also take your age and hair loss into account for when he harvests grafts from your donor area. In the illustration below, a man with an extreme case of male pattern hair loss will have far less donor hair to cover a large area of baldness. He does not have enough donor hair to provide a thick, full head of hair.
During your hair transplant consultation, Dr. Friedman will ask you about your family history of hair loss to determine your genetic predisposition to future hair loss.
Your budget and financial considerations play an important role in the outcome of your hair transplant surgery for several reasons. The amount of hair grafts you can afford to have transplanted will determine the amount of coverage and density you receive. While one surgery is often enough for many patients, many others find that a second or even third procedure is required to achieve the look they desire. During your consultation and examination, Dr. Friedman will be able to tell you whether you will require more than one surgery.
In cases where two or more surgeries are necessary, the first procedure could be characterized as the “light coverage” session. Here, the doctor will probably give you a new hairline and “dense pack” the grafts over your balding area to give you the best coverage possible. However, once the new grafts start to grow, this coverage area will be “thin,” and it is during the second and sometimes third procedure where the doctor plans to “fill in” and add “density” your existing hair grafts.
If this is the plan that you and Dr. Friedman agree on, you must take those follow up hair transplant sessions into financial consideration. If you are not sure if you can afford follow up procedures, financing with low monthly payments is available to most patients.
Building the right hairline
While you might have had great hair as a teenager in high school, the hairline you had then may not be appropriate for your age when you are in your in 30s, 40s, and 50s. Hair transplant doctors are professionals that care about their work and giving you a natural looking hairline that is appropriate for your age is important to your results. While the hairline at left, below, might have been appropriate and natural looking when you were a teenager, professional hair transplant doctors with years of experience know that rebuilding a hairline for a 35 year old man is more appropriately demonstrated in the picture on the right.
In order to achieve a natural looking hairline for a man in his 30, 40s, 50s, hair transplant doctors will try to rebuild a frontal hairline with a wide U shape. Learn more about how Dr. Friedman rebuilds the frontal hairline.
While you may not achieve that rock star look or have the same hairline you did as a teenager, hair transplant surgery can help you look younger and feel more confident with a natural looking appearance. The outcome of your procedure is dependent on variables including age, hair loss, family history, available donor hair, future hair loss, and finances. Patients and doctors should thoroughly discuss the procedure during the consultation meeting to satisfy all questions and concerns including goals and how many procedures it will take to achieve those goals. Although patients have a responsibility to educate themselves as much as possible, it is during this dialogue with their doctor that expectations of his or her hair transplant results are made clear.