How Young Is Too Young To Have A Hair Transplant?
23rd September 2014
Increasingly, younger men are starting to come to my clinic to enquire about having a hair transplant. Usually they have started to recede at the temples, either in their late teens or early twenties, and want to stop their hair loss in its tracks.
Performing surgery on younger patients presents a dilemma because it is exceptionally difficult to accurately map the projected level of hair loss, which in turn makes it tricky to perform a surgery that will have long-lasting results and not leave the patient with a patchy hair pattern.
Patients who begin losing their hair before the age of 25 are generally more prone to experiencing extensive hair loss, especially if it runs in their family. As a result, it becomes much more important to gather a thorough family history – this allows the surgeon to build up a more comprehensive picture of the likely extent of their hair loss.
Factors such as having an immediate relative – father or either grandfather – with severe hair loss (types five to seven), the age at which hair loss began and the quality of the remaining hairs will all paint a picture of the patient’s likely extent of baldness in future. I will then use this information to advise young patients on the best course of action, in order to ‘future-proof’ the results. The last thing you want is thick patches of hair around the temples or in the middle of the crown but completely bald areas around them later in life because you have only treated the areas showing hair loss in your 20s!
As a general rule, I prefer to wait until patients are at least 25 – and ideally even older – before performing hair restoration surgery, to allow for a more precise prediction of their future hair loss. Before that age, men who are worried about hair loss and want to slow the process down should be considering other treatments, such as minoxidil, finasteride or low level laser. Camouflage products can be helpful to disguise their worry areas but will not stop the ongoing loss obviously.
However – as always – one size does not fit all and younger patients can be suitable cases for surgery in certain circumstances. If you are young and worried about hair loss and want to slow it down, the best course of action is to arrange a consultation to get expert advice on the next steps to take.