How Young Is Too Young To Have A Hair Transplant?

June 5th, 2014


At Bernstein Medical, generally, we don’t perform surgical hair restoration on patients with androgenic hair loss who are younger than 25. This is because it is difficult to determine if their donor area contains enough stable hair to perform a hair transplant. We advise patients in their late teens and early twenties to first use medication and to postpone surgery until they are at least 25 years old.

Here is a more detailed summary of the video:

Dr. Bernstein: We are often asked what age is reasonable to have a hair transplant — how young can you be? There is no specific answer to this question because every patient is different. As a general rule, however, 25 should be the cut-off as the youngest age that a transplant should be considered for genetic hair loss. It’s certainly OK to wait longer, but earlier than that has a number of problems.

The first thing is that people who are losing their hair at a young age — in their late teens or early 20s — often run the risk of being very bald (compared to losing hair later in life) so there would generally not be enough donor hair to cover the entire scalp and thus a hair transplant would result in incomplete coverage.

Also, their donor area may not be stable, and when someone is very young it is really difficult to determine whether or not they have a permanent zone. If you operate on someone who is eventually not going to have a permanent zone then not only will the hair transplant disappear — because the hair that is moved is not permanent — but the donor area will continue to thin and the scars from the transplant will become visible. That will happen with either FUE (follicular unit extraction) or FUT (with a strip procedure).

When patients are very young their expectations are very high. It is very difficult to satisfy someone who is first losing their hair. When they are in their late teens or early 20s, they want their density back or their old hairline back. Although that is understandable, it is impossible to do surgically.

When someone is older, not only do we have more information about the permanency of the donor supply, but their expectations are usually more reasonable. An older person, who doesn’t want to be bald, doesn’t need to have that much hair to make them happy. If they have hair on the front and top of the scalp and the crown was not transplanted, they would still look much better than being totally bald. They don’t necessarily have to have every inch of their scalp covered.

In a younger person, if they’re going to have a bald crown (the back of the scalp), it is obviously not going to look good and they might as well not do a procedure at all and just cut their hair very short or shave their head. Remember, once you have had a hair transplant, by any method (FUT or FUE), there will be permanent scars in the donor area that will be visible if your hair is cut very short or if the scalp is shaved.

For young people, we generally advise them to start with medical therapy and, if they have extensive hair loss, to keep their hair shorter and to try to postpone making the decision to have surgery as long as possible – and they should wait at least until the age of 25.

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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on June 5th, 2014 at 11:51 am



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