For almost all men, hair transplant surgery is the best solution to the problem of baldness, whereas hair transplantation for women is not the ideal solution for many.
Very few women have a type of hair loss that makes them ideal candidates for a transplant.
Women suitable for a hair transplant, according to experts, varies from 2–5%.
Why are women not ideal candidates for a hair transplant?
Because hair falls out differently in men and women.
In men, baldness is recognisable because it takes on the characteristic M shape, while in women it is distributed over the whole head.
Women generally have widespread hair loss, the hair becomes thinner and falls out across the whole head. Thinning is a problem, because in women it affects potential follicle donor sites, the temples and the back of the neck. Follicle donor sites are those areas of the head that normally provide the hair to be grafted in the case of an autologous graft.
In men, the temples and the back of the neck are potential donor sites, while in women, the follicle is dead (if hair and follicles are taken from these donor areas for transplantation to other areas, the hair will continue to fall out).
There are also other differences between male and female baldness.
One of the most obvious is the forehead line. Unlike men, women who lose their hair tend to keep their forehead line intact. So in addition to not having the typical hairline of male baldness, women also have another difference to men which is that they lose the volume of their hair.
Potential candidates can include cases of:
- Hair loss due to mechanical causes or traction
- Alopecia (non-hormonal)
- Previous aesthetic medicine or plastic surgery treatments
- Baldness similar to male pattern baldness
- Trauma, burns, scars from accidents and chemical burns
- Marginal alopecia
Types of hair loss in women
Types of hair loss in women can be:
Temporary hair loss resolves when the cause is identified and treated. Temporary hair loss can become long-term due to misdiagnosis.
Alopecia is the medical term for excessive hair loss. Alopecia is common in both men and women; it is a symptom of something wrong with the body. There can be many causes, among the most common are:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Alopecia areata
Alopecia can also be a symptom of a short-term condition such as:
- Taking certain medications
The role of hormones in hair loss
Some of the causes of hair loss in women are related to the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can cause hair follicles to die.
Women have lower levels of testosterone than men, but even low levels of DHT can cause hair loss in women.
What are the most common causes of hair loss in women?
Androgenetic alopecia Most women with androgenetic alopecia have thinning hair spread across all areas of the scalp. Androgenetic alopecia can be caused by a variety of hormone-related factors, including:
- Ovarian cysts
- Oral contraceptives
- Hereditary factors
When you experience something traumatic such as childbirth, malnutrition, drastic slimming diets, a serious infection, surgery, or extreme stress, the follicles go into a resting phase with hair loss. The hair loss ceases when stressful events are removed or avoided, in this case the telogen effluvium is temporary. For some women, telogen effluvium is chronic and therefore long-term, with no triggers or stress factors.
Anagen effluvium occurs when cell function is altered during mitosis or metabolic activity of the follicle. This hair loss is usually the result of chemotherapy.
Traction alopecia is caused by hair pulling trauma over time. If you stop, your hair grows back right away. Braids, pigtails, ponytails, and hair extensions are among the most common causes of traction alopecia.
Usually, the doctor will carry out examinations and diagnostic tests to obtain a reliable diagnosis.
- Hormone levels
- Serum Iron, Ferritin and Total Iron
- Complete blood count
- Scalp biopsy
The hair traction test
The hair traction test is a simple diagnostic test in which the doctor slightly pulls a small amount of hair (about 100 strands at the same time) in order to determine whether there is excessive hair loss.
A hair densitometer is a handheld magnifying instrument to check the miniaturisation of the hair shaft.
Drug-induced hair loss. Many commonly prescribed medications can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
Hair Loss Treatments
Hair loss treatment products are not effective for most people who use them.
Autologous hair transplant for women, is a hair transplant for women the best option?
Hair transplantation is a decision influenced by many factors.
These may include:
- Family history
- Type of hair loss
- Amount of hair
- Age of onset of hair loss
- The progression of hair loss
- Reason for hair loss
- The results of any medical treatments used to slow down or stop hair loss, or to stimulate new hair growth
- The patient's expectations
The patient's expectations concerning the results are particularly important and should be discussed with the doctor.
Autologous transplantation is not recommended when:
- The scalp is affected by a serious disease
- When hair cannot be taken from the donor areas
- The patient's state of health
- Coagulation defects or bleeding disorders
Hair transplants for women require collaboration between the surgeon and the patient in order to evaluate and plan the procedure by taking into account numerous factors.