Dr. Bernstein answers frequently asked questions about hair transplantation, hair loss, and medical treatment for hair loss.


Hair Restoration Answers

Does Minoxidil Improve Graft Survival After a Hair Transplant?

August 17th, 2016

Q: Does minoxidil play any role in the survival of the grafts after a Neograft/FUE procedure?

A: When a doctor performs a hair transplant, the hair should be taken from the permanent zone so, by definition, that hair is not affected by medication (i.e. does not need to be maintained by either minoxidil or finasteride). If the doctors using Neograft are suggesting that minoxidil increases survival, then they are probably harvesting hair outside the permanent zone. To clarify, I use the ARTAS robotic system for our FUE procedures, not Neograft, as the former is a far more accurate device for harvesting.


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Posted on August 17th, 2016 at 2:06 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

Is the Dose of Finasteride the Same for Everyone?

June 29th, 2016

Q: Does a man’s height and weight affect the dose of finasteride or Propecia he should take? i.e. will a 6’4″ man need a higher dose than a 5’7″ man. — T.B., Rye Brook, NY

A: The dose of finasteride is the same (i.e. 1mg) regardless of a person’s height or weight. The reason is that one needs only 0.5mg a day for it to be effective, so there is much leeway built into the dose (but the rate of non-responders is slightly higher at the 0.5mg/day dose). That said, after 5 years or so, finasteride seems to be less effective and doctors often increase the dose a bit. The next step-up is generally to take 1/3 of a 5mg pill each day. Keep in mind that the dosing we are speaking about is for hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). When finasteride is used for prostate enlargement, the dose is 5mg a day.


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 29th, 2016 at 2:50 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Have a Hair Transplant if I Have a Scar in My Donor Area? If So, Which Do You Recommend, FUT or FUE?

June 10th, 2016

Q: I have a diagonal scar in the middle of my donor area that I got during a childhood accident and I am concerned that it will limit my options for hair restoration. Will this type of scar prevent me from having either FUT or FUE? Do you recommend one or the other? ~ R.F., Upper West Side, NY

A: Traumatic scars in the donor area do not preclude us from performing a hair transplant. With an FUT/strip procedure, we can remove all or part of the scar when we excise the donor strip. In Robotic FUE, the ARTAS Robot can be programmed to avoid a scar during harvesting. In either procedure, we can improve the appearance of the scar by implanting follicular unit grafts directly into the scar tissue. The hairs will grow permanently in the scar, just like ones we implant in the recipient area, and the scar will become harder to detect.

It is important to note that transplanted hair will not grow in a thickened scar. If your scar is thickened, the doctor can thin it out (soften it) with injections of cortisone. They are usually repeated at 4-6 week intervals in advance of the procedure. The number of injection sessions required depends upon the thickness of the scar and your individual response to the medication.

The presence of a traumatic scar should generally not determine which type of transplant you have. That should be decided in consultation with your physician based on factors such as how much volume you need, how you intend to style your hair, how short you would like to keep it, how soon you need to return to strenuous physical activity, and other general considerations for a hair transplant.

We recently posted photos from a patient who had a robotic hair transplant with a scar in his donor area. The photos include images of his donor area (with scar) before his procedure, immediately after robotic graft harvesting and 11 days post-op. View this patient’s before after photos.

View Patient RSI’s hair transplant photos

Read about techniques used to fix scars

Video: How Does the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant System Locate and Dissect Follicular Units?


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 10th, 2016 at 10:31 am
Hair Restoration Answers

Is FUE or FUT Better for an MMA Fighter?

May 18th, 2016

Q: I am an MMA fighter and I want to get a hair transplant. How long do I have to be out of commission and which type of procedure should I have, FUE or FUT? — J.A., Columbus, OH

A: With any type of hair transplant it takes 10 days for the transplanted grafts to be permanently fixed in place. The difference between FUE and FUT is in the limitations of activity due to the donor area. With FUE one would need to abstain from MMA for the same 10 days it takes the recipient area to heal (the grappling component of Mixed Marshal Arts is the most stressful on the scalp). With FUT, however, one would need at least three months for the linear donor scar to heal before one could resume contact sports like MMA.

View our FUE vs. FUT page with a detailed summary of the pros and cons of each procedure
After FUE Hair Transplant Surgery
After FUT Hair Transplant Surgery


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on May 18th, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

How are PRP Treatments Different at Bernstein Medical?

April 28th, 2016

Q: How are PRP treatments for hair loss different at Bernstein Medical? — E.D., Huntington, N.Y.

A: There are three reasons Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments are different at Bernstein Medical from other facilities. First, we use the Emcyte Pure PRP System, the most sophisticated system for the preparation of Platelet Rich Plasma. Second, by using a double centrifuge technique, we generate the optimal concentration of growth factors in PRP. Third, and most important, we have the knowledge to know when PRP is appropriate and the skill to inject the proper quantity of PRP at just the right depth to achieve the desired result — a skill that cannot be overstated.

Read more about PRP
Read our PRP for Hair Loss FAQ


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Posted on April 28th, 2016 at 2:13 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Have PRP During a Hair Transplant?

March 24th, 2016

Q: Do you administer PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) during a hair transplant? — R.W., Manhattan, NY

A: The wounds created in the hair transplant procedure (recipient site creation) promote blood platelet migration and the activation of growth factors making PRP therapy unnecessary for the actual surgery. That said, doctors may wish to use PRP for areas of the scalp that are thinning, but were not addressed by the hair transplant. An example might be using PRP for the crown if the doctor only transplanted hair to the front part of the scalp.


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on March 24th, 2016 at 12:04 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

What Problems Can Arise from Transplanting the Crown Too Early?

March 17th, 2016

Q: What is the problem with transplanting the crown too early? — P.L., Newark, NJ

A: If a person’s hair loss continues – which is almost always the case – the crown will expand and leave the transplanted area isolated, i.e. looking like a pony-tail. The surgeon can perform additional hair transplant procedures to re-connect the transplanted area to the fringe, but, as one can see from the photo below, this is a large area that can require a lot of hair. It is often impossible to determine when a person is young if the donor supply will be adequate. If there is not enough donor hair, then the island of hair may remain isolated. Most importantly, it uses up a lot of hair that might be better transplanted to the front and top of the scalp – areas that are far more important cosmetically.

Patient who visited us who had an early crown transplant

The front and top of the scalp are more important to one’s appearance than the crown, and these areas should be the first priority when planning hair restoration surgery.

As an exception, if a person has a family history of baldness limited to the crown, even at an advanced age, and the person in question is following this pattern, then earlier treatment of the crown may be considered.

Lastly, if you do treat the crown in a younger person, or one with whom the extent of hair loss is uncertain, the crown should be transplanted with light coverage only. That way a limited amount of hair will be used up in this area and there will be enough left over for the more cosmetically significant top and front of the scalp.

For a complete review of this topic please read: Follicular Transplantation: Patient Evaluation and Surgical Planning. Dermatol Surg 1997; 23: 771-84. A copy in PDF format, and other hair transplant publications, can be downloaded at the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration Medical Publications page.

View the Crown (Vertex) topic, the Age topic or see posts tagged with Early Hair Loss for further reading.

View Before and After Photos of some of our crown hair transplant patients

Read about candidacy for a hair transplant in young patients


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on March 17th, 2016 at 8:16 am
Hair Restoration Answers

Can Resistance Training Accelerate Hair Loss?

January 26th, 2016

Q: I have read several articles on the internet which suggest that resistance training can accelerate male pattern baldness. Is there any truth in this?

A: Anything that raises androgen levels in your body can potentially accelerate hair loss. That said, I suggest that you should exercise as you normally would. As long as you don’t take drugs to enhance your workout, the effects should be minimal.

Read about Hair Loss in Men
Read about the Treatment of Hair Loss in Men


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on January 26th, 2016 at 5:39 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

How are Recipient Sites Programmed into the ARTAS Robot?

December 18th, 2015

Q: How are specifications for making recipient sites inputted into the ARTAS® robot? — A.F., Queens, NY

A: At the outset of the procedure, the physician sits at a computer terminal that is connected to the ARTAS Robot and enters the specifications directly into the robot’s software. Variables programmed in this manner include: the number of recipient sites, density of sites, angle that the hair will extrude from the skin, depth of recipient sites, and the minimum distance away from existing hair follicles that a site can be created.

Read about Robotic Hair Transplants
Read about the ARTAS Robotic System
More details on Robotic Recipient Site Creation


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on December 18th, 2015 at 9:00 am
Hair Restoration Answers

Will Robotic FUE Reduce the Cost Per Graft for FUE Procedures?

December 17th, 2015

Q: Will the ARTAS robot result in a lower cost for an FUE hair transplant?

A: Robotic FUE may cost slightly more per graft than a typical manual FUE procedure due to the greater expense of this new technology. At Bernstein Medical, we use the ARTAS Robotic System for all Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedures.

Read about Robotic Hair Transplants


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on December 17th, 2015 at 8:07 am
Hair Restoration Answers

How Does the ARTAS Robot Avoid Transection of Hair Follicles During Recipient Site Creation?

December 16th, 2015

Q: How does the ARTAS System avoid damaging hair follicles in the balding area during recipient site creation? — R.K., Brooklyn, NY

A: The ARTAS robot‘s optical guidance system enables it to accurately create recipient sites in areas of thinning hair without damaging existing hair follicles. During the recipient site creation process, the robot uses its advanced image-guided optical system to scan the surface of the skin, locate existing hair follicles in the recipient area, and then create recipient sites at a specified distance from these existing hairs.

The ARTAS robot carries out this process rapidly, accurately, and consistently according to the physician’s programmed specifications. Thanks to the microscopic precision of the image-guided technology, the robotic hair transplant system can avoid injury to follicles that can result when Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is performed using manual techniques.

Read about Robotic Hair Transplants
Read about the ARTAS Robotic System
More details on Robotic Recipient Site Creation


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on December 16th, 2015 at 8:41 am
Hair Restoration Answers

What Is Your Opinion on Doctors Performing Only FUT or Only FUE?

June 22nd, 2015

Q: It seems that some doctors offer only FUT and others only FUE. What is your opinion on that? — D.E., Portland, ME

A: Both FUT and FUE are excellent techniques, but have different indications. To deliver the best care for our patients, hair restoration physicians should have expertise in both procedures, and they should offer both in their practices.

The main advantage of FUT is that it typically (but not always) gives the highest yield of hair. Therefore, when the patient’s primary goal is to achieve maximum fullness, FUT should be performed. There are many well described reasons for this, including the precision of stereo-microscopic dissection and the ability to efficiently harvest from a more select area of the donor zone, but these are beyond the scope of this brief commentary.

The main advantage of FUE is no linear scar. Therefore, when the patient’s primary goal is to be able to wear his hair very short, FUE should be performed. FUE is also indicated when there is an increased risk of a widened scar or when scalp laxity does not permit a strip excision. The patient may sometimes chose FUE simply to avoid the stigma of a linear donor scar.

There are situations in which both procedures are useful in the same patient. For example, FUT may first be used to maximize yield, but then, after several sessions, the scalp may become too tight to continue to perform FUT, or the donor scar may become wider than anticipated. In the former case, the physician can switch to FUE to obtain additional grafts; in the latter case FUE may be used to camouflage the scar of the FUT procedure.

It is tempting to see the world in black and white, and it is easiest to learn and train one’s staff in just one hair transplant technique — but medicine is never so simple. Developments over the past twenty years have given us two excellent hair restoration procedures. We should offer our patients both.

Read about FUE Pros and Cons


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 22nd, 2015 at 3:08 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

Does Propecia Work in Older Patients?

June 20th, 2015

Q: Hi. I am 52 years old and wish to know if Propecia will work for people my age. I have started losing some hair a couple of years ago and it’s thinning out. Thank you very much for your help. — K.E., Boca Raton, FL

A: Propecia (Finasteride 1 mg) can hold on to hair at any age, but works best to re-grow hair in those who are younger.

The reason is that finasteride works to reverse miniaturization (the thinning and shortening of hairs due to DHT). Younger patients, with early hair loss, generally have more hair in the early stages of miniaturization where the changes are readily reversible.

Older patients are more likely have more advanced miniaturization or areas that are totally bald and will thus not regrow with medical therapy.

Read more about Propecia


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 20th, 2015 at 2:40 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and How Does It Promote Hair Growth?

June 17th, 2015

Q: I’ve heard a lot about platelet-rich plasma (PRP). What is platelet-rich plasma, and how does it promote hair growth? — A.V., Scarsdale, NY

A: To begin, first let’s define a few basic terms: blood plasma, platelets and PRP

What Is Blood Plasma?

Blood plasma holds the blood cells in a liquid suspension. Blood plasma makes up about 55% of the body’s total blood volume. There are three basic types of blood cells: red blood cells (that carry oxygen), white blood cells (that have immune functions to help fight infection) and platelets (that facilitate coagulation, wound healing and repair).

What is a Platelet?

A platelet is a type of white blood cell containing approximately 50 to 80 tiny encapsulated structures called alpha-granules. Each alpha-granule contains a high number of growth factors, many playing a fundamental role in healing following tissue damage.[1] Many of these platelets are also known to regulate the growth cycle of hair follicles.[2]

Platelets are formed in the bone marrow and circulate throughout the bloodstream in a concentration of approximately 140,000 to 400,000 platelets/mm3.

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Derived from a patient’s own blood plasma, platelet rich plasma is concentrated blood plasma which contains approximately five times the number of platelets and growth factors normally found in the blood.

How Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Work to Promote New Hair Growth?

Studies that have looked at the therapeutic effects of PRP on hair loss have found that it promotes hair survival and hair growth in both laboratory studies[3] and human clinical trials, but exactly how PRP promotes new hair growth isn’t clear. Researchers have suggested a few possible mechanisms.

In a recent pilot study[4] that found that PRP injections resulted in noticeable improvement in both males and females with androgenetic alopecia, researchers suggested that PRP may have stimulated hair growth by prolonging the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle.

In another study[5] that showed PRP promoted hair growth in males with alopecia, researchers suggested that PRP may have protected the hair follicles against one of the possible main mechanisms of pattern hair loss: the death of dermal papilla cells in the hair follicle.[6] The death of these cells leads to a gradual shrinking and eventual disappearance of the hair shaft, a process called miniaturization.

Other studies have observed that PRP seems to promote the growth of new blood vessels around treated hair follicles. Because of this, researchers have suggested that the growth of new blood vessels may be helping to stimulate new hair growth.[7]

In sum, while published studies so far suggest that PRP therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for male and female androgenetic alopecia, there is still a need for more extensive studies to better understand the mechanism by which PRP treatments promote hair growth.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) FAQ

See the PRP Treatment Steps

Read about the latest research into PRP therapy for hair loss

Read more in our section on Platelet Rich Plasma

References:
  1. Eppley BL, Pietrzak WS, and Blanton M. Platelet-Rich Plasma: A Review of Biology and Applications in Plastic Surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2006. []
  2. Itami S, Kurata S, Takayasu S. Androgen induction of follicular epithelial cell growth is mediated via insulin-like growth factor-I from dermal papilla cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1995; 212: 988–94. []
  3. Li ZJ, Choi HI, Choi DK et al. Autologous platelet-rich plasma: a potential therapeutic tool for promoting hair growth. Dermatol Surg 2012; 38: 1040–6. []
  4. Schiavone G, Raskovic D, Greco J, Abeni D. Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: a pilot study. Dermatol Surg. 2014; 40(9): 1010-9. []
  5. Cervelli V, Garcovich S, Bielli A, Cervelli G, Curcio BC, Scioli MG, Orlandi A and Gentile P. The effect of autologous activated platelet rich plasma (AA-PRP) injection on pattern hair loss: clinical and histomorphometric evaluation. BioMed Research International 2014; 1-9 []
  6. Whiting DA. Possible mechanisms of miniaturization during androgenetic alopecia or pattern hair loss. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001 Sep;45(3 Suppl):S81-6. []
  7. L. Mecklenburg, D. J. Tobin, S.Muller-Rover, et al. “Active hair growth, anagen, is associated with angiogenesis.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2000, 114:5; 909–916. []

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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 17th, 2015 at 12:35 pm
Hair Restoration Answers

Which Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) System Do You Use?

June 11th, 2015

Q: I have seen some talk about different forms of platelet rich plasma (PRP). Which is the best system for preparing PRP for hair loss? Which are you using? — E.C., Seattle, WA

A: We use the Emcyte Pure PRP system. It is a double centrifuge system that I think is the best.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) FAQ
See the PRP Treatment Slideshow


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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 11th, 2015 at 4:45 pm


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