[Posted on June 25th, 2014 by Dr. Carlos Puig]
Hairline surgery reverses the effects of male pattern baldness and restores the hairline to a natural appearance once again at our hair restoration clinic in Houston. There are different ways in which we achieve this, but all techniques we use result in a full head of hair for those suffering from male pattern baldness. How and what is done by Dr. Puig depends on what the patient presents to us for restoration. The final result is maintenance-free because it uses only the patients own hair for the transplantation process.
Male pattern baldness is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attacking the hair follicle and causing it to die off. DHT tends to attack hair on the crown and front hairline, leaving the hair on the sides alone. The healthy hair follicles on the sides are free from DHT, and can be harvested for placement in the balding areas on the head. These DHT-free follicles will not be attacked in the future simply because they are put in an already balding or bald area. Instead, they flourish and grow to fill in the area that has been transplanted.
When we first assess a patient, we explore the options that are available for treatment, including hairline surgery. Some men respond to treatment with drugs like propecia or minoxidil, which can slow or stop hair loss altogether. However, medication requires taking it long-term, and some may prefer to not go this route. We offer laser therapy for stimulation of existing hair follicles. Laser therapy thickens thinner hair follicles, and encourages cell division for increased hair growth. In the event these options don’t work, we offer surgical restoration to replace lost hair.
The core process of surgery is to take hair from the DHT-free areas of the scalp and insert them into the recipient areas. Follicles taken for transplant are known as donor follicles, but they only come from the patient himself. Transplanting from other sources causes an immune system response that kills off foreign hair follicles, and is to be avoided at all costs. Taking follicles from the scalp of the patient ensures that the hair will flourish and won’t be attacked by the immune system.
We use a number of hairline surgery techniques with which to move the follicles around. The core process involves making a slit on the scalp, then inserting a couple of follicles into the slit. This process is repeated over and over again until the area being treated is filled in. The area where the donor grafts were taken from will grow over and there is no evidence that hair was ever removed. After the surgery, there is a healing period in which the scalp closes around the follicles, and the follicles themselves begin to take root. The final result is a head of the patient’s own hair that can be cut and styled as he pleases.