There was a time when no one would even think of doing hair transplant surgery on young men. It was agonizing for this group of young people because thinning, balding, and receding hairlines often started before they got out of their teens. Now the procedure is being opened to young men – but with restrictions.
Because losing hair at such a young age is very traumatic, hair transplant doctors do not like to go along with the patients’ snap decisions. After an in-depth consultation, the doctor will do everything in his power to put off the surgery. He will ask the patient to come back for a final consultation in six months or so. Many doctors will refuse to do immediate hair transplants if they are put to the test.
Hair Transplant Procedures for Young Men
There are advantages to getting hair transplant surgery under the age of 25. Most of these patients are healthy. They do not usually take medications. They are often optimistic and have the motivation required to make the commitment needed for what may end up being lifelong treatment.
When a young man gets a hair transplant procedure, it can avert many problems with low self esteem and lack of self confidence. With older men, these attitudes are already ingrained so that it takes some doing to change them. If the hair restoration is started early enough, the young patient need never feel the stigma of being bald for very long at all.
A doctor who is skilled in doing hair transplant procedures on young people will do some investigation before tackling such a project. He will ask to see members of the family to assess their hair loss and how the young person might inherit hair loss traits from the family. If family members cannot be present, the doctor might ask for photos.
One trick of doctors, who work to give young people hair transplant surgeries, is to guide them in setting the hairline. A young person will usually want a fairly low hairline. He remembers the way it was just a few short years ago and wants to duplicate the image.
A good hair transplant surgeon will discourage a low hairline. Instead, he will campaign for a higher hairline. There are several advantages to this. One is that, with less top hair to cover, more donor hair will be saved. Since the young patient will be dealing with this problem for a long time, this is a necessary consideration.
When the hair transplant surgeon achieves a higher hairline, he will be able to get more fullness on the top of the head because he has less to cover. This is not to say the young person will have a receding hairline when the procedure is complete; just that the hairline will not be too low.
There is no reason for young people to enter adulthood without a full head of hair if they can get a hair transplant. This option is now open to them. It is bound to make many young men very happy.
Why hair transplants in young men is not advisable
In an effort to look better and do something positive, many men rush into hair transplants. Not a day goes by that I don’t see it or hear it. There are a number of things that all young men should keep in mind.
Hair loss does not stop – it continues forever
Too many young men forget that hair loss will continue forever. If a patient is developing genetic hair loss at a young age, one thing is for sure: they will continue to slowly bald unless medication treatment is considered. Having a hair transplant does not stop the balding process – it only delays the appearance.
Males who start balding in the early 20s are likely to develop advanced balding patterns in their 30s and 40s.
It is critically important to understand that once genetic hair loss starts, it will continue forever. If balding starts at a young age, there is a very high chance that male will develop more significant hair loss in the 30s, 40s or 50s.
Males who have hair transplants in the early 20s must be prepared for more surgeries throughout their lifetime
If a hair transplant is performed in the frontal hairline at too young of an age, the hairs that are moved into the frontal hairline may last a long time. However, the hairs ‘behind’ this frontal area could potentially disappear as normal balding continues along its course. At hair transplant performed at too young of an age often leads to placement of place hairs in an area which could look unnatural in the future. A good example would be the placement of too low of a hairline or a hairline with not enough curve to it. In order for the patient to continue to look good and not have a ‘gap’ develop between the transplanted hairs and the continually receding hairline, the patient must return to the surgery centre from time to time for more transplants. In other words, if needs to be prepared for a lifetime of hair transplants. Therefore, a hair transplant is not a one time thing.
It’s nearly impossible to predict prior to the mid 20s how many donor hairs a patient actually has.
If humans had an infinite number of hairs in the “donor” area to move through hair transplants, I would be more likely to advise that more young men move forward and have hair transplants. However, hair in the donor area at the back of the scalp is present in limited supply. A young male with balding may have anywhere from 0 hairs to move (if they have diffuse unpatterned alopecia or DUPA) to up to 8000 folllicular units to move in his lifetime. It may not be clear until the mid to late 20s whether the number is closer to zero or closer to 8000.
Before the mid 20s, one needs to keep in mind that it is just a ‘guess’ as to how best to use hair transplant grafts from the back of the scalp. As one ages, it becomes much clearer as to where it is best to place these grafts.
It’s rarely a good idea for a young man to have a hair transplant before the mid 20s. There are exceptions whereby a hair transplant in a 23 or 24 year old can be life altering – but these are rare exceptions. In most cases, I recommend these young patients strongly consider non surgical treatments to try to stop their hair loss before considering hair transplantation.