Am I a candidate for a hair transplant?
Many patients who come and meet with me are candidates for hair transplants - but some individuals are not. For some individuals who aren't good candidates for hair transplants, this information may come as a surprise.
Who can have a transplant and who can not?
Individuals with certain hair loss conditions like genetic hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia), traction alopecia are good candidates for surgery. Individuals with other conditions like alopecia areata, scarring alopecia and hair shedding disorders are not candidates for surgery.
Within 1-2 minutes of meeting a patient, I can usually determine if they are good candidates for surgery or not.
Consider the following patient (pictured on the left) who came to see me with concerns about her increasing hair loss in the centre of the scalp. At close examination and after asking her a series of questions, it became clear that her reason for hair loss was genetic. This made her a good candidate for surgery.
Consider now the woman pictured on the right in the photo. She looks just like the woman on the left. However, a series of questions followed by a detailed examination of her scalp as well as a scalp biopsy allowed me to utlimately diagnose her with lichen planopilaris which is a type of scarring alopecia. I was not able to perform a hair transplant on this woman as she was was not a candidate for surgery. Scarring hair loss conditions like lichen planopilaris can not be transplanted when they are in the active phase. If she had gone for surgery without being properly diagnosed, the transplanted hairs would not have grown well and perhaps not grown at all.
Not everyone is a candidate for hair transplant surgery. Only with a careful record of questions and a detailed examination of the scalp can all the other reasons for hair loss be excluded.
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Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299