Alopecia and Hair Transplants

Most of us, if we were completely honest, would be pretty upset if we were diagnosed with alopecia.  The word itself conjures up images of hair loss and the negative aspects of the condition. But how much do we actually know about alopecia, and are there solutions to the effects it has? 

What is alopecia?

Most forms of alopecia are the result of an auto-immune disorder, other medical conditions, or ageing.  It causes the hair to fall out and can be permanent or temporary, depending upon the particular type of alopecia. It tends to be more common in men, and is the umbrella term used to describe anything from patchy thinning hair, to complete baldness.  Over the last few years we have become more open about discussing the effects of, and treatments for alopecia. This has resulted in an increase of Google searches for alopecia hair transplant.  However, before going ahead it’s important to identify the type of alopecia you are dealing with, so that the best treatment can be prescribed.

What are some of the signs of alopecia?

In the early stages, you could notice hair breaking more often and new hair growth might be weaker than your established hair. You may also see an increase in hair shedding overnight (visible on your pillow), or when you are washing your hair. There may also be small bald patches beginning to form. 

Signs of more advanced alopecia include lots of bald patches across the scalp and other areas of the body.  There may be pronounced thinning or complete hair loss across the scalp.  These are some of the symptoms that lead people to begin the search for alopecia hair transplant procedures.

What are the most common forms of alopecia?

Alopecia areata

This form of alopecia usually affects the hair and face. This is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles.  Although there is no cure, if the hair loss is in small patches it is likely to grow back.  If larger areas are affected and it becomes more of an issue then it can be treated by steroid injections under the scalp, or even alopecia areata hair transplant techniques.

Initial signs of this condition are grey and white hairs that may remain after hair loss.  The hair does start to regrow on its own, but there may be other areas that then start to show signs of hair loss. 

Alopecia areata hair transplant procedures are popular and effective, if the issue doesn’t resolve itself.  In order for the treatment to be successful the patient would need to be able to provide donor hair follicles, capable of growing healthy hair, from their own scalp. There needs to be enough of these donor follicles to fill the bald site, otherwise it won’t be effective.

Scarring alopecia

This is one of the more serious forms of alopecia, as hair loss is permanent. Scarring alopecia hair transplant procedures are popular amongst sufferers of this condition.  In cases like this the hair follicles are completely destroyed, rendering regrowth impossible.  An itchy rash or swollen and puffy skin may be present on the affected areas.  This type of alopecia is often due to a complication of another skin condition. If you think you may be suffering from this you should seek a Doctor’s opinion immediately, in order to save as much of the hair as possible. 

Treatments include steroid creams and tablets, other medications and phototherapy.  But a scarring alopecia hair transplant is another option. This may be the only way to restore the hair to its optimum condition. In this case, hair that is still within the follicles is grafted into the scarred area.  The method is more complex, due to the fact that the skin and tissues of a scar are different, and therefore require a more delicate procedure. Providing there are enough donor hair follicles, there is no reason why this cannot be a successful and effective procedure.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is slightly different. In most cases this can be reversed. Unlike other forms of alopecia, it isn’t caused by problems with the immune system.  Instead, it is a result of repeated trauma to the hair follicles.  This includes the insertion of hair extensions, particularly tight ponytails, and even some chemical relaxers used for straightening the hair. It usually becomes apparent due to a receding hairline around the forehead and temples, or a widening of the natural hair parting. It results in patches of thin or broken hair, where it has been under strain.

Although this type of alopecia is not usually permanent, it can be a longer term issue for some people, and they may resort to having a traction alopecia hair transplant. Providing there is healthy hair growing in other areas of the scalp, this can be a very effective procedure. 

What do I need to know about hair transplants?

In simple terms, a hair transplant is a surgical technique that removes hair follicles from one part of the body (donor site), to the balding part (recipient site).  It is most commonly used to treat male pattern baldness, but other conditions are also treatable with this procedure. 

It can be difficult to know where to start, but certainly choosing the right clinic is a priority. It might be tempting to consider clinics abroad, due to the lower costs, but it’s important to make the decision based on something other than price. Any reputable clinic will insist on seeing you before and after the procedure, so a UK clinic would be preferable.

You can expect to pay upwards of £4000 for this type of treatment, depending upon the severity of the condition.  If you don’t have the finances available immediately, but you are interested in going ahead with the procedure now, here at Enhance Hair Restoration we can put you in touch with finance houses that can offer flexible payment arrangements. 

Hair loss for any reason, whether you are young, old, male or female, can be very distressing.  If you are dealing with alopecia, in any of its forms, it’s important to recognise that there are successful treatments available. Make sure you get the right diagnosis so that the clinical team can provide you with the very best solution. Dealing with the issue as soon as you can will certainly help to achieve a more positive outcome.  If you are interested and would like to find out more, get in touch and we will happily point you in the right direction.

 

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