Q: Can a hair transplant into bald areas caused by alopecia areata ever be successful? — R.K., Providence, R.I.
A: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. It generally appears as round patches of smooth bald areas scattered in the scalp or beard. Less commonly, it can involve the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or all facial and body hair (alopecia universalis). Unless the condition is well localized and totally stable, hair transplantation is not likely to be effective because the transplanted hair would be subject to the same problem.
We prefer that one have no new lesions for a minimum of two years before considering surgical hair restoration, although this does not ensure that the procedure will be successful.
You may find more information on this relatively common condition at the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). For more information, visit: www.naaf.org.
Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D.