Restore Confidence and a Full Head of Hair
Nearly one out of every five people in the United States experiences some form of hair loss. The majority of people lose their hair due to genetics, and the problem usually occurs during the aging process. In rarer cases, young men and women may develop early hair loss in their later teenage years or early twenties. Some people lose hair due to medical conditions, like autoimmune diseases, stress-related disorders, and vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Less commonly, injury to the scalp, like a burn, can permanently damage hair follicles leading to hair loss that cannot regrow on its own. Once half or more of a person’s hair volume has gone, thinning is visually apparent.
Hair loss can age a person’s looks, and it makes some people feel the need to the cover their head with hats or cut and color their hair into styles that help camouflage thinning and balding. Because partners Dr. Amy Garcia and Dr. Josh Surowitz believe that people should dictate their looks and not the other way around, the Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery practice in Charlotte, NC offers some of the best modern solutions available to treat hair loss.
The Science behind Hair Loss
Hair can be found throughout the skin of the body, with the exceptions of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. This may be so that humans can grip things and walk unimpeded, an evolutionary necessity. Each pore in the skin holds a hair follicle, and a sebaceous gland feeds natural oils into the follicle to condition the hair and skin. Hair is built-in as part of human anatomy to offer protection. Much of the hair on the body cannot be seen, but the head has a higher concentration of hair than the rest of the body, making hair loss much more noticeable.
Hair is formed from cells of keratin, which is a protein found in the human body. As hair grows from the scalp, the collection of older cells is pushed out by new keratin cells, forming a strand of hair. The process of keratin cell generation is cyclical and produces hair growth at the rate of about half an inch a month. A healthy head of hair consists of up to 150,000 strands of hair that sheds about 100 hairs every day. Hair loss patients may notice that the rate of daily loss is accelerated and new hairs may not regrow from the follicles.
The hair growth cycle occurs in four phases where hair grows (anagen), stops growing (catagen), the scalp releases the hair (exogen), and the follicle rests until there is new hair growth (telogen). Factors that shorten the hair growth phase, such as medical conditions and lifestyle choices, cause hairs to grow in shorter and thinner in a process known as miniaturization. If this continues, the hairs can ultimately be lost. A chemical of the body, DHT, can impact the hair follicle and prevent the normal cycle of hair production and growth. DHT is what testosterone converts to, and can actually cause the hair follicle to decrease in size. The most prevalent forms of hair loss, which are male and female pattern baldness and alopecia, are at least partially attributed to DHT’s effect on the hair follicles.
Dr. Andrea Garcia and Dr. Josh Surowitz are dual board certified surgeons.
Different Types of Hair Loss Explained
While many different conditions can affect the growth pattern of the hair, below are some of the more common conditions that lead to hair loss.
Also called pattern baldness, this term encompasses both male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. Determined by a person’s genetics due to their gender, androgenic alopecia can create different patterns in hair loss. While the condition can be improved by certain medications, medical intervention is often the best solution.
Male Pattern Baldness – MPB
Medically termed male androgenetic alopecia, male pattern baldness affects the majority of hair loss sufferers. Caused by male sex hormones (androgens), science actually backs that the condition is passed along by genetics inherited from the male’s mother. Men with a father who experienced hair loss are also at a greater risk of developing MPB. Male pattern baldness is characterized by initial receding of the hairline and thinning of scalp hair at the crown, or top of the head. Generally, the sides and back of the scalp continue to produce ample hair growth, and remain largely unaffected by the specific hair pattern that is characteristic of the condition.
Female Pattern Baldness – FPB
Many people are surprised to learn that by age 50, nearly half of women are affected by female androgenetic alopecia (or FPHL for female pattern hair loss). Male sex hormones present in small amounts as well as genetics are the main causes for this form of hair loss. Women affected by female pattern baldness tend to show thinning of the hair within the top of the scalp, which can also span to the sides of the scalp. This can be obvious when a woman parts her hair as the scalp may be readily visible through the style, with a thicker part than normal. More often, the hairline does not shift like male pattern baldness and women experience a thinning rather than total loss.
Alternative Pattern Baldness
Both male and female patterns of hair loss commonly occur as gender-specific occurrences, but men can be affected by female androgenetic alopecia, women can display male androgenetic alopecia. It is not common, but some people with hair loss are affected by both male and female patterns simultaneously.
General hair loss is often referred to as alopecia, but more specific forms of the condition describe how hair loss appears on the scalp. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease can be noticed as early as childhood. It causes hair loss on the scalp and results in circular patches of hair loss that can range in size. Some hair remains on the scalp, but will appear irregular due to the loss. Doctors often prescribe a combination of therapies to control alopecia areata, including topical products, medication injections, and certain light therapies. Immunotherapy may also be helpful in suppressing the response that causes a person’s body to target its own hair follicles.
Other forms of alopecia include alopecia totalis, which results in total hair loss of the scalp, and alopecia universalis, which causes hair to cease from growing on the scalp, face, and body. There are combination regimens to improve hair loss in alopecia patients, but there are no preventative measures or cures for this disease. There are other types of alopecia, but those described are most easily identified in the alopecia community, whereas lesser known forms of alopecia can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Most treatments for thinning hair and a balding scalp performed by a facial plastic surgeon will focus on male and female pattern baldness.
Modern Solutions for Restoring Hair Loss
Men and women experiencing thinning hair and balding have a powerful option for hair restoration at Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery, where facial plastic surgeons Dr. Andrea Garcia and Dr. Josh Surowitz have the knowledge and expertise in hair restoration surgery to deliver natural, long-lasting results. The doctors are committed to the art and science of hair restoration, using the most modern techniques to address each individual’s unique needs.
Dr. Garcia and Dr. Surowitz are passionate about hair restoration. During your consultation, they will review your unique individual needs and help tailor a hair restoration treatment plan best suited to deliver the results you desire. Choices for surgical restoration include the “strip” procedure, which makes use of follicular unit transplant (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
Follicular Unit Transplant
The doctors work with each patient to develop a hairline that best complements his or her unique facial features. At the start of the hair transplant procedure, the surgeon will examine the patient’s scalp and mark a new hairline for reference during the surgery. The patient’s input is essential during this pre-operative step.
The strip procedure, also known as follicular unit transplant (FUT), is performed by the excision of a linear strip of hair-bearing scalp that is removed from the back and/or sides of the head.
Once the strip is removed, individual follicular unit grafts are meticulously separated. Each graft will contain one to four hairs, surrounded by healthy tissue that allows the graft to remain viable. The total amount harvested will be based on the size of the areas that require restoration.
The doctors will then implant individual grafts into the thinning or bare areas, using small incisions placed in a customized pattern to create results indistinguishable from the patient’s natural hair. The FUT hair restoration method maximizes the preservation of parts of the follicle responsible for keeping hairs healthy and strong. Up to 5,000 grafts can be transplanted in a single session using the strip procedure, which is performed in the comfort of Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery under local anesthesia. The technique is intended for patients whose hair loss is determined to be hereditary and progressing in an expected pattern.
Follicular Unit Extraction
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is another surgical hair restoration option at Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery. Similar to the strip procedure (FUT) in that individual hair follicles are removed from the back and/or sides of the head and transplanted to the areas of hair loss, follicular unit extraction differs from FUT in that individual hair follicles are removed using a specialized system to delicately core around each follicle. This takes longer than a strip procedure and typically fewer grafts can be harvested, but it avoids the linear scar associated with FUT for hair restoration.
Follicular unit extraction is ideal for patients with less significant hair loss and more viable hair to implant. Generally, these patient seek to restore the fullness of their hairline. There will also be round scarring associated with FUE, but even with shorter haircuts this is not generally noticeable. In some cases, both types of grafts may be utilized for the best cosmetic results.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
Patients experiencing hereditary and non-hereditary hair loss also have a range of non-surgical options to consider. Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery provides a comprehensive approach to hair restoration. In addition to surgical options such as follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplant (FUT or “strip procedure”), the practice offers low-level laser therapy (LLLT). This is a treatment option that is ideal for men and women with mild to moderate thinning, as it stimulates hair growth of the remaining existing hair. Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery offers the device for a patient’s use at home.
Scientifically proven and FDA-cleared, these devices stimulate hair growth on a cellular level through a process known as “photobiology.” The treatment is safe, effective, and requires no medication. LLLT can strengthen existing follicles and may rescue thinning hair follicles. One limitation of this therapy is that it cannot replace hair that has been completely lost—surgical hair restoration must be used in such cases. Patients who wish to explore surgical or non-surgical hair restoration can discuss their options with Dr. Andrea Garcia and Dr. Josh Surowitz.
Capillus Laser Caps
A preferred LLLT, Capillus laser caps are safe and comfortable for patients to use in their own homes. Built into what looks like a regular baseball cap, the small lasers effectively activate healthy new cell growth within the hair follicle to provide where hair can grow once again. The Capillus line has also created a line of clinical hair care to be used in conjunction with non-surgical hair restoration.
Hair Restoration FAQs
Is FUT painful to undergo?
Dr. Garcia and Dr. Surowitz commonly perform follicular unit transplant under local anesthesia, which may be combined with a sedative. Local anesthesia delivers pain medication to the areas of the scalp that will be treated. The procedure should be painless, and post-surgical discomfort can be managed by a cold compress like ice and pain medication. There are also special instructions to follow that can keep pain at bay, like sleeping with the head elevated and avoiding bending over to prevent swelling. A saline spray can also help to condition the scalp and the areas of the scalp that have been treated during FUT.
How does FUT differ from FUE?
Follicular unit transplant and follicular unit extraction are both performed to relocated hairs on the scalp from one area to another, but vary in how the treatment plan is carried out. FUT is considered the pioneering procedure for hair transplant and is most effective in patients with more extensive hair loss. A long strip of the scalp is removed so groups of hair can be transplanted to areas of hair thinning and hair loss. During FUE, hair follicles are punched out of the scalp with a circular device and transplanted one by one into barren areas of scalp.
Are the results from FUT permanent?
Hair transplant results are permanent, but may be affected by the progression of hair loss and underlying causes for hair loss. During FUT, hair is taken from an area of the scalp where the follicles are less prone to hormonal impact. They tend to remain healthier longer and are therefore seen as the most viable to remove the hair. In some situations, medication or medical procedures may supplement FUT surgery.
Can alopecia be treated by traditional methods of hair restoration?
In most cases, alopecia requires a medical diagnosis and medical treatment from specialized doctors. An immunologist can medically intervene with the body’s attack on the hair follicles and may suggest certain regimens or procedures performed by a plastic surgeon. Each case may vary, and an alopecia patient may require a team of doctors for their treatment and cosmetic needs.
When will results from FUT surgery be visible?
Patients may notice substantial hair growth several months after the surgery, and final results should be visible about a year after the procedure. Most patients only require a single follicular unit transplant surgery and are satisfied with the outcome. Others seek additional interventions, like FUE treatments to the scalp. This can prolong the final result, but the combination can be a very effective in a number of hair transplant recipients.
Is the Capillus cap painful to wear?
This at-home treatment product offers a pain-free way to discreetly manage hair loss. The laser therapy is delivered at low level outputs, and is safe and comfortable for patient use. The doctors will instruct patients on the use of the treatment product, and may have literature available for any additional questions that arise throughout the course of their treatment.
Dr. Andrea Garcia and Dr. Josh Surowitz are dual board certified surgeons and at the top of their field in head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery techniques. Patients have the unique experience of working with both surgeons, as the practitioners are a two-doctor team and most often treat patients in the operating room together. The doctors’ expert collaborations ensure great patient care, satisfaction, and less time spent undergoing the treatment.
To find out more about hair restoration in Charlotte, NC, call Dilworth Facial Plastic Surgery at (980) 949-6544 or inquire about an Online Consultation today.