The Effect of Propecia (Finasteride 1mg) on Hair Transplants
Leavitt M, Perez-Meza D, Rao N, Barusco M, Kaufman K, Ziering C. Effects of Finasteride (1mg) on Hair Transplant. Dermatol Surg 2005; 31: 1268-1276.
The progressive decrease in hair shaft diameter that causes thinning (also called miniaturization) characteristic of male pattern baldness, can be decreased by the use of the DHT blocker Propecia (chemical name finasteride). Most men undergoing hair restoration surgery have some existing hair in the area that is to be transplanted that will thin over time and, in fact may thin a bit more quickly as a result of the surgery. For men undergoing surgical hair restoration, the thinning of the surrounding hair can diminish the overall impact of the hair transplant. Even though Propecia has no effect on the transplanted hair, it can help to maintain the patient’s surrounding hair and is therefore useful as an adjunct to hair transplant surgery, to enable the patient to obtain a better overall result.
The present study looks to see if Propecia given from one month before surgical hair restoration until eleven month after, can increase hair growth in the area surrounding the hair transplant. In the study, consisting of almost eighty men divided into two groups in a double-blind fashion, were either given Propecia or a placebo. Growth was recorded by hair counts and by photos.
The study showed that Propecia was substantially better than the control group in increasing hair counts and in increasing visible fullness when patients started Propecia a month before their hair transplant and were on a the medication for one year.
Comments by Dr. Bernstein: The present study confirms scientifically what has already been widely observed, that treatment with finasteride is an important adjunct to hair restoration surgery, for those with androgenetic hair loss. The authors appropriately state their conclusion based upon the parameters studied. As a result, the paper does not stress enough the importance of continuing Propecia for an extended period of time after the hair transplant. At the conclusion of the paper, the authors state that Propecia, taken for a year (i.e. one month before and eleven months after surgery) will increase the density of the surrounding hair. Some may interpret this as indicating that one only needs to take Propecia for a year in order for it to be a useful complement to hair transplant surgery. Of course, this is not the case, as one must continue to use Propecia for it to be beneficial.