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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

Do Women Have Less Shock Loss Than Men?

Q: I have heard that shock loss is somewhat common after a hair transplant. Do women experience less shock loss than men? — N.R. ~ Mineola, N.Y.

A: The risk of shock hair loss is generally greater in women than in men since women usually have a more diffuse pattern of thinning. This is because females generally have more miniaturized hair, the hair that is most subject to post-op shedding.

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What is Female Androgenetic Alopecia?

Q: What is female androgenetic alopecia?

A: Female androgenetic alopecia, also called female pattern hair loss, is caused by the shrinking of susceptible hair follicles in response to normal levels of hormones (androgens). It is the most common type of hair loss in women, affecting perhaps 1/3 of the adult female population. It is seen as a general thinning over the entire scalp, but can also present in a more localized pattern i.e. just limited to the front and top. The condition is characterized by a gradual thinning and shortening (miniaturization) of individual hair follicles, rather than their complete loss and, although the condition tends to be progressive, it rarely leads to complete baldness.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is A Hair Transplant For Women Different Or More Difficult Than One For Men?

Q: Is the hair transplant for women different from the one for men? Anything easier? Anything more difficult?

A: Women’s hairlines are far more complex than men’s as the hair in a women’s hairline often creates subtle swirls and directional changes. These must be mimicked in the surgical design for the hair transplant to look natural.

In women, we are more often working in and around existing hair, as most women that seek hair transplantation are thinning rather than bald. This slows down the graft insertion steps and makes the procedure take a bit longer compared to men.

Read more about hair loss in women or see before/after photos in our Women’s Hair Transplant Gallery.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why Is Hair Loss In Women Harder To Treat With A Hair Transplant Than Hair Loss In Men?

Q: Why is hair loss in women harder to treat with hair transplants than hair loss in men?

A: The majority of women present with diffuse hair loss (i.e. thinning all over) rather than the patterned hair loss seen in men (where the hair loss is localized to the front and top of the scalp).

Diffuse thinning presents two problems for a potential hair transplant candidate.

The first is that there is no permanent area where the hair can be taken from. If hair is taken from an area that is thinning, the transplanted hair will continue to thin after the procedure, since moving it doesn’t make it more permanent.

The second problem is that since the areas to be transplanted are thin, rather than completely bald, the existing hair in the area of the hair transplant is at some risk to shedding as a result of the procedure.

When women have a more defined pattern (i.e. more localized thinning on the front part of the scalp with a stable back and sides), they can make excellent candidates for surgery. This pattern occurs in about 20% of women. A small percentage of men have diffuse thinning and are, therefore, poor candidates for a hair restoration surgery as well.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What are the Most Common Causes of Hair Loss in Women?

Q: What are the most common causes of hair loss in women other than genes?

A: The most common causes for localized hair loss in women are traction (due to tight braiding) and alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that produces smooth round patches of hair loss).

Other than genetic (hereditary) thinning; generalized hair loss is most commonly caused by medications, anemia, and thyroid disease.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Do You Treat General Thinning in Women ?

Q: I’ve been losing my hair just around the front of my scalp for years, but now it’s bad enough that I need to wear a wig to hide the top and back. Do you transplant women?

A: If you have thinning in such a broad area, most likely your donor area is also thin and you would not be a good candidate for surgery.

An examination can determine this and also determine if there is some other cause of your hair loss other than genetics.

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What Medications are Used During a Hair Transplant and are they Safe During Pregnancy?

Q: Is it necessary to take medications before, during, or after the hair transplant? Will these medications affect pregnancy? — V.M., Fairfield, C.T.

A: It is not necessary to take any medication for a hair transplant other than the local anesthesia used during the procedure.

Although I would not have a hair transplant during pregnancy, the procedure will have no effect on future ones.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can a Woman be a Candidate for a Hair Transplant?

Q: I am female and thinning can I be a candidate for a Follicular Unit Hair Transplant?

A: If it turns out that you have female pattern hair loss, you may be a candidate a hair transplant, but would need to be evaluated by a doctor who specializes in surgical hair restoration.

In the evaluation, you should have your degree of hair loss assessed and donor supply measured, using an instrument called a densitometer, to be certain that you have enough permanent donor hair to meet your desired goals. For more information about hair loss in women, please see the Diagnosis of Hair Loss in Women page of the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Are Women Less Likely to be Candidates for a Hair Transplant?

Q: I heard that a smaller per cent of women are candidates for hair transplants compared to men. Is this true?

A: Yes, that is true. Women more commonly have diffuse hair loss where the thinning is all over the scalp. This means that the donor area (the back and sides of the scalp) are thinning as well.

If the donor area is not stable, then there is no point in doing a hair transplant, since the transplanted hair will continue to fall out. Remember, the transplanted hair is no better than the area where is comes from.

On the other hand, women with stable donor areas can be great candidates for surgical hair restoration. The stability of the donor area can be assessed using a procedure called densitometry and should be part of the hair loss evaluation when you see your physician.

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