Covid-19 Update

Our offices are now open. Please see our COVID-19 safety and quarantine protocols»

Robotic Hair Transplants & Hair Restoration
Flagship: 110 East 55th Street, New York, NY
212-826-2400 - [email protected]
About Header Image

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

Hair Restoration Answers

Is a Hair Transplant Painful and What Kind of Anesthesia do You Use?

Q: Dr. Bernstein, is a follicular unit hair transplant, the way you perform it, very painful? — M.C., Laguna Niguel, C.A.

A: We perform our hair transplant procedures using long-acting, local anesthesia, so after the initial injections, the patient doesn’t experience any pain or discomfort.

The local anesthesia (a combination of Lidocaine and Marcaine) lasts about 4-5 hours. For long sessions, we give additional anesthesia before the first wears off.

Before we start the local anesthesia, we give most patients IM Versed (also known as midazolam). This medication is a very fast acting sedative that is very relaxing. Some patients even doze off at the beginning of the procedure. This is very different, however from the deep sleep produced by general anesthesia.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

What is Best Hair Transplant Density and do You Measure Maximum or Overall Hair Density?

Q: Dear Dr. Bernstein, a full head of hair averages ~100 FU/cm2. To achieve the appearance of fullness with a hair transplant 50% is required. In one of your articles you say that you recommend 25 FU / cm2 to your patients. Is that the density per one session or the final one? If that is final density, then it is far below the 50%. Please explain as I am profoundly confused. — W.N., Easton, C.T.

A: If a person is to become a Norwood Class 6, the hair that we have available for us to transplant is only about 12% of what was there originally. This, of course, will vary from patient to patient depending upon one’s donor density and scalp laxity and a host of other factors.

We make the hair restoration look good by restoring 25-50% in the front, and proportionately less in the back. Logically one cannot restore 1/2 of ones original density to an entire bald scalp with only a thin strip of donor hair – there is just not enough hair, even with multiple sessions.

I transplant 25-35 FU/mm2 in one session, but this is the density created in the front, not overall.

Due to follicular unit graft sorting (placing the larger follicular units in the forelock area) this provides even more density than the actual numbers suggest. If someone is relatively certain to have more limited hair loss, then the numbers can be increased, but it is risky if you underestimate the degree of eventual hair loss.

Please carefully read the article on Hair Transplant Aesthetics.

It will answer your excellent question in greater detail. The article is a bit old, but the principles are the same.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars   2.67 stars from 3 vote(s)

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Treat Hair Loss Using Rogaine and Propecia Together?

Q Do Rogaine and Propecia work synergistically? — N.W., Chappaqua, N.Y.

A: They are synergistic, since the mechanisms of action are different.

Rogaine directly stimulates hair growth, while Propecia is permissive for hair growth by blocking DHT, the byproduct of testosterone that causes hair to miniaturize and eventually disappear.

The important thing to remember, however, is that for most people, Propecia is far more effective.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Can a Hair Transplant Repair a Large Scar on the Scalp?

Q: Hi Dr. Bernstein. My question is: if you have a surgical scar or incision on your head that is relatively large, is it possible to do a hair transplant into this scar?

A: Hair can grow well in a scar. Since scar tissue generally has a somewhat lower blood supply than normal tissue, we have to make some adjustments in the technique.

When we perform a hair transplant into a large scar, we place the grafts into the perimeter first i.e. the outer edge of the scar. This allows new blood vessels to develop and permits additional hair to be added more centrally at a later date until the whole area is filled in.

If the scar is small or thin it can be transplanted as with normal tissue.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Can Women Use Propecia to Treat Hair Loss and Does Their Age Matter?

Q: I have early thinning on the top of my scalp and I was told to use Propecia, but I heard that is was only for men. What do you think? — T.G., Staten Island, NY

A: Women can’t take Propecia during the child-bearing years because, if ingested, it can cause birth defects in male offspring.

In post-menopausal women, where we see the greatest frequency of hair loss, it doesn’t seem to be effective.

In pre-menopausal women who do not plan to become pregnant or who already have children, we are still cautious about using the medication, since there effectiveness has not been proven and its long-term safety in this population has not been tested.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

How Long is Hair Transplant Procedure?

Q: Hair transplantation sounds like a really time-consuming procedure. How long does the hair transplant actually take? — S.M., Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.

A: An average hair transplant, that involves the movement of 1,500 to 2,500 grafts, can take a team of up to six people, five to eight hours.

Surgical hair restoration is a very time-consuming, labor intensive process, where every aspect of the surgery must be precisely controlled to get maximum growth and an optimum cosmetic result.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

What is the History of Hair Transplant Procedures?

Q: Dr. Bernstein, I remember Senator William Proxmire. He was one of the first sort of high-profile people who had a hair transplant probably, what, thirty years ago, and to be honest with you, it wasn’t all that great. It looked kind of funny. Have we made any progress in the last twenty-five, thirty years? — A.E., Fort Lee, N.J.

A: When hair transplant surgery was first developed in the late 1950s, early 1960s, everybody was so ecstatic that it grew – that one could actually move hair from the back of the head to the top, and it would grow – that no one really considered either the long-term implications or the aesthetic aspects of the procedure. And the fact that the hair grew is actually a problem because it never went away when it was transplanted poorly.

Over the years the grafts have gotten smaller and smaller. So where in the ’60s and ’70s they were the size of pencil erasers, they gradually decreased in size until doctors were performing hair transplants using just a few hairs at a time. The major breakthrough came in the mid 1990s when we realized that hair doesn’t grow individually but grows in little tiny groups and these groups are called follicular units.

In modern hair transplant surgery (which began in 1995) hair is taken from the back of the scalp and moved to the front and top of the scalp in these individual groups of one to four hairs.

In this way the results can completely mimic the way hair grows in nature.

See the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) section for more information.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars   5.00 stars from 1 vote(s)

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Does Hair Transplant Prevent Hair Loss?

Q: How does a hair transplant prevent hair loss? — M.M., White Plains, N.Y.

A: It doesn’t. Surgical hair restoration does just what it says. It restores hair to an area where the hair has been lost (by borrowing it from an area of greater density that is less important cosmetically, such as the back of the scalp).

To prevent, or slow down, further balding one would need to receive treatment with hair loss medication such as finasteride (Propecia).


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

What Causes Common Hair Loss or Baldness?

Q: I know that I am going to be bald because my father is bald and I am losing my hair just like him. What actually causes this kind of hair loss? — J.P., Paradise Valley, Arizona

A: Although there are many different causes, the overwhelming number of people that have hair loss have what is referred to as “patterned hair loss” or “androgenetic alopecia.”

In men, it is due to a hormone called DHT, which is a by-product of testosterone produced by the action of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is inhibited by the hair loss medication Propecia. See the causes of hair loss in men page on the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website for more information.

In women, the mechanism is a little bit more complex as another enzyme, aromatase, is involved in the metabolic pathway. See the causes of hair loss in women page on the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website for more information.

We know that the inheritance comes from both the mother’s and father’s side, although the actual genes causing hair loss in men and women have not yet been identified. Statistically, the inheritance from the maternal side appears to be a bit stronger, but the reason for this is unknown.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Is Hair Loss Hereditary and are Genes Inherited from Mother’s or Father’s Side of Family?

Q: Why do some people have a full head of hair into their seventies or eighties and others start to go bald in their late teens or early twenties?

A: The cause is genetic and this poly-genetic trait can be inherited from the mother’s side, the father’s side, or both.

There is an old wives’ tale that it is inherited only from the mother’s parents. Although the inheritance can come from either side, it is actually greater from the mother’s side – but only slightly.

Read about Hair Loss Genetics


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars   5.00 stars from 1 vote(s)

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

After FUE Hair Transplant, Why are there Pimples and Redness?

Q: I had a hair transplant of over 600 grafts using Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) to my frontal hairline and the frontal part of my scalp. The procedure was done less than a year ago by another doctor. Since then I have had persistent pimples and redness in the area that the grafts were placed. Also, the surface of the skin in the area is irregular. — E.Z., Long Island, N.Y.

A: One of the causes of having pimples and redness following Follicular Unit Extraction may be buried hair fragments and there are significantly more hair fragments generated with the two-step FUE technique than with the three-step method.

In the three-step procedure, we use blunt dissection which minimizes transection (cutting of hair follicles) and thus reduces the incidence of hair fragments. See the Three-Step FUE page at the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website.

In our practice, we also place every extracted graft under the microscope. This serves a number of purposes:

  1. It gives me immediate feedback on transection rates, so that I can adjust my technique in real-time (using a stereo-microscope is much better than visual inspection for this purpose)
  2. It enables us to trim away excess tissue and hair fragments (we use the same judgment as we do with strip harvesting, so that a “viable looking” fragment would be left attached
  3. It allows us to accurately count the number of hairs in each follicular unit graft, as it is particularly important to have pure 1-hair grafts for the frontal hairline. This also allows us to better anticipate the end cosmetic result.
  4. It allows us to dissect larger follicular units into smaller ones for specific cosmetic purposes, i.e. eyebrows, hairlines, temples etc.

One of the ironies of FUE is that it is more efficient to extract the larger FUEs, since this gives us a greater hairs/hole ratio, but this often leaves us with an inadequate number of 1-hair units, which must be obtained though traditional stereo-microscopic dissection of the larger extracted grafts.

Other causes of folliculitis (manifested by pimples and redness) can result from placing the grafts too deep in the recipient site (where they may get buried) and secondary infection. A mild, transient folliculitis is often seen after a hair transplant without any precipitation factors.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Will Rogaine Still Be Effective if Used Once a Day Instead of Twice a Day?

Q: If Rogaine is used only once a day will it still be effective? — I.P., Hempstead, Long Island, NY

A: Once a day topical use of Rogaine (topical minoxidil 2% and 5%) is probably almost as effective as using it twice a day. The reason is, although minoxidil has a relatively short half-life of several hours when given orally, when topically applied, it has a half-life of 22 hours in the skin.

This suggests that once-a-day dosing is a reasonable option. It is important to realize that Pfizer, the company that now makes Rogaine, specifically states that it will be less effective if used only once a day.

Read about Rogaine (minoxidil)
Read Tips on Using Rogaine


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars   5.00 stars from 2 vote(s)

Topic:

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

When Will Propecia be Available in Generic Form?

Q: I heard that Proscar, the 5mg version of finasteride, is now generic. Is that correct and is Propecia going generic as well? — F.J., Red Hook, Brooklyn, NYC

A: Yes, Finasteride 5mg (Proscar) is now available in a generic formulation. It is my understanding that Finasteride 1mg (Propecia) will not be available generically until the year 2012.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Switch from Propecia to Generic Proscar?

Q: I am currently taking Propecia 1mg a day for hair loss and heard that Proscar 5mg now comes in a generic form. If I get that, how should I take it? — G.A., Fort Lauderdale, FL

A: If you are currently taking Propecia 1mg a day, and want to switch to Proscar (Finasteride 5mg), you can either take Proscar 5mg, 1/4 pill every day or 1/2 pill every other day.

If you break up the pills, be mindful of the potential risk to pregnant women from handling crushed tablets. You can purchase a pill cutter in any pharmacy.

You should be aware that this dosing is not recommended by Merck and that there are no studies showing that either breaking up the pills or taking alternate day dosing is as effective as taking Propecia (Finasteride 1mg) a day.

That said, finasteride lasts in tissues for several days, so these alternate day dosing schedules seem reasonable.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated
Hair Restoration Answers

Is Success of Hair Transplant Affected by Age or Scalp Fibrosis?

Q: It is my understanding that as a person loses his or her hair, the skin of the scalp undergoes a number of changes, namely there is a loss of fat, an increase in cellular atrophy, and of course the dreaded perifollicular fibrosis (now that’s a mouthful). It seems to me that these changes, in particular the fibrotic scarring, are the main obstacles in the way of regrowth, and the reason Propecia does not work for extensively bald men. What can be done about this demon we call fibrosis? Can it be slowed, stopped, prevented, reversed? If we could somehow counteract collagen formation, wouldn’t our baldness problems be solved for good? If a bald scalp is atrophic, how does it have the capacity to hold a whole new head of transplanted hair? Is there a limitation to the number of hairs we can transplant (outside of donor limitations)? — R.L., Rivington, C.T.

A: The findings that you are describing are well documented; however, it is not clear if these changes are the cause of the hair loss or are the result of having lost one’s hair. Most likely, the DHT causes the hair follicles to miniaturize and eventually disappear. This, in turn, causes the scalp to thin and lose its abundant blood supply (whose purpose is to nourish the follicles). The changes in the scalp are also affected by normal aging, which causes alterations in connective tissue including the breakdown of collagen and other components of the skin. The changes seen with aging are greatly accelerated by chronic sun exposure.

Fortunately, even with long-standing baldness there is still enough blood supply to support a hair transplant, although there are some limitations. One should perform a hair transplant with a lower density of grafts when patients have thin, bald fibrotic scalps since the blood supply is diminished.

The most important factor, however, is photo change. The sun dramatically alters the connective tissue making the grafts less secure in their sites and alters the vasculature, (blood vessels) decreasing tissue perfusion (blood flow to the tissues). When there is bald atrophic, sun damaged scalp, I generally perform two hair transplant sessions of lower density (in place of one) spaced at least a year apart to give time for the scalp to heal and blood flow to increase in the area.

I often have the patient treated with topical 5-flurouracil before the surgery to improve the quality of the skin and to treat or prevent pre-cancerous growths from the sun.


Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  

Topic:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Updated



Browse Hair Restoration Answers by topic:


By:
Updated: 2019-11-15 | Published: 2009-07-02


212-826-2400