My Hair Transplant MD Discusses Proposed
Alternatives to Hair Transplants
Solution #1: Pharmaceutical Treatments
The best known medication on the market is Minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine®.
In 1988 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Minoxidil as the first medication to be scientifically proven to grow hair. A 2% Minoxidil solution is sold under the Rogaine® name by the Upjohn Company and is now available without a prescription.
This however is the area of greatest concern for most balding or thinning men.
Next is Finasteride, (marketed by Merck as Propecia® 1 mg or Proscar® 5 mg) whose effect on hair loss was also discovered by accident. Prescribed for men with an enlarged prostate gland, It blocks the enzyme, 5-alpha-reductase that converts testosterone into DHT (remember that’s what triggers hair loss in some people) it can further stop hair loss, and in many cases reduce your sex drive.
Propecia is a medical breakthrough. For many, but not all men, hair growth as well as preventing further hair loss of the vertex (crown of the head) is possible.
Finasteride may be incorporated into one’s long-term hair restoration treatment.
Solution #2: Artificial Cover-Ups
Cover-ups carry negative images in the minds of most men. Salespeople now refer to wigs as weaves, hair extensions, or hair systems. Others call it a “rug,” “toupee’,” “lid” or just “fake hair.”
Call it what you like, it will never be your own living naturally growing hair. Most hairpieces are made from synthetic fibers (like nylon or acrylic) or from real human hair mainly from European or Asian sources.One of the main disadvantages of having a hairpiece is the problem of embarrassment and humiliation when it comes off. For this reason manufacturers have come up with creative ways of attaching the hairpiece. One technique is to surgically stitch the hairpiece’s wire loops into the scalp.
This carries the risk of serious infection as the holes in the scalp most often never completely heal and close.An alternative method is “tunnel grafting,” where pieces of skin are surgically cut and implanted into the scalp to be used as a loop fastener to attach the hairpiece.
Another choice is “hair weaving.”
This type of hairpiece is normally secured onto netting that is then tied tightly to a man’s remaining natural hair in several places. A major drawback of this method is that you need to constant retie or tighten the hairpiece. As the natural hair grows, the woven piece will keep loosening. If that wasn’t enough, the constant friction of “retying” can lead to even more permanent hair loss (medically referred to as permanent traction alopecia).
You can expect to buy several hairpieces over a lifetime if you want a ‘gradual change’ you’ll need at least four or more hairpieces. The price of a hairpiece and maintenance can easily exceed $3500 a year… year after year for the rest of your life.