Who Is Not Suitable for A Hair Transplant?

At AHI Clinic we’re all about helping people with their hair loss worries, with are most frequent question being: ‘Am I suitable for a Hair Transplant?’. Many of our blogs talk about the causes of hair loss, how a hair transplant procedure can help and what to expect from the results. Many people who visit our clinic (and read through our website) are made aware about their suitability for a hair transplant procedure, but what about those who aren’t? Whilst we remain positive about the help we offer, and want to change the lives of as many people as we can, we won’t ignore those for whom a hair transplant is not advisable. 

So, who is not suitable for a hair transplant and why?

1.Those affected by alopecia areata 

This is an auto-immune condition and occurs as the white blood cells attack the follicles, causing hairs to fall out. For many people affected by this concern, the hair will grow back but usually find another bald patch will often appear somewhere else on the head. As the condition characteristically moves from one area to another, it’s likely that there is no one place that we can ensure is a suitable donor site (where we extract healthy hairs and follicles for transplantation). Also, in around 80% of cases the condition will resolve by itself over time.

2.Women, post pregnancy

There are a variety of reasons for thinning hair / hair loss post pregnancy, including: hormonal changes, stress and a decrease in blood volume leading to iron deficiency. This type of hair loss is found to be a temporary concern, and after 6 months the hair growth cycle will resolve and hair will become fuller once agian. Therefore, there is usually no need for a hair transplant. If hair loss continues to develop after several months post pregnancy there may be an underlying concern which may require further investigation.  

3.Those affected by thyroid disease

Thyroid disease is thought to affect the production of the hormones that control hair growth – T3 and T4. It can affect hair growth all over the body, and may develop rapidly. However, like post pregnancy related hair loss, this can be a temporary concern as treating the disease can put a stop to any associated symptoms. It’s common for those with thyroid disease to also be affected by other conditions which can also contribute to hair loss. These can be identified through routine testing, and treated in the right way. 

4.Those who engage in hair-pulling (trichotillomania)

This condition is described as an ‘impulse control disorder’ that affects around 1-2% of the population. It’s the action of tugging on the hair frequently that weakens the follicles and leads to the hair falling out. With medication and cognitive therapy the patient can be helped and the desire to twist, pull or pluck their hair can be controlled. In time, natural hair growth can be restored and the concern will have resolved – without the need for a hair transplant. When deciding if a hair transplant procedure is suitable, we need to consider that any potential hair pulling in the future will affect the previously transplanted hair. If hair loss seems to be permanent as a result of hair pulling, we’ll need to be sure that the compulsion has been stabilised for 1 year, and the patient is free of other associated symptoms, such as: itching, tingling, pain or a burning sensation. 

5.Those affected by diabetes

It may be possible for those affected by diabetes to have a hair transplant, but this carries a risk of complications. Due to the length of surgery (up to 6 hours) a patient’s blood sugar levels can change, often due to the inability to regulate through medication or diet as they normally would. When visiting our clinic we will assess each case individually, and explore any potential steps that can be taken to make the procedure safer (such as taking regular blood samples).

6.Drug-induced hair loss

Whether drugs are taken for recreational or medical purposes, there is the potential for side effects with hair loss being one of them. Our consultation process discusses a patient’s medical history, including any drugs or medication that they’re taking. If medication is temporary, it’s likely that any associated hair loss will be temporary too – therefore, a hair transplant is not necessary. For permanent hair loss that’s linked to on-going, lifetime treatment, we’ll need to assess the case individually before we can decide if a hair transplant procedure will produce the desired outcome. 

7.Those affected by anaemia

Those affected by anaemia do not have enough haemoglobin (red blood cells) in their blood to carry sufficient amounts of oxygen to the tissues in the body. The body will take oxygen to places where it is needed most, usually the vital organs, which means other places won’t get what is needed to function properly – the follicles being one of them. As a result this will lead to less hair being produced. In most cases anaemia (iron deficiency) is easy to resolve, as are any related conditions. Reviewing diet, and / or taking regular supplements / medication can restore sufficient levels of red blood cells. 

Is there still help available? 

Depending on the cause of thinning hair / hair loss, we may be able to explore an alternative treatment option, such as the use of medication or other therapies. As well as being an experienced hair transplant surgeon, Dr Waqas Chaudhary is also an expert in treating hair loss through other methods. We welcome all patients with hair loss concerns to contact our clinic and see how we can help.

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