Question: Can women have hair transplants or is it just men?
Answer: Hi Ruth. Women can have hair transplants, however, the procedure can be a little more tricky than it is for men which is the most likely reason it is seen as a particularly ‘male’ form of surgery.
It very much depends on the type of hair loss a woman is experiencing as to whether or not restoration surgery is a good option and is likely to be successful. The reason it is popular among men is that the hereditary hair loss condition androgenetic alopecia presents differently in cases of male pattern baldness compared to how female pattern hair loss presents in women.
For both sexes the condition causes thinning hair that only affects the top of the head, however, in men this tends to appear in very distinct areas, such as a thinning crown or as a receding hairline, and as it progresses it can lead to eventual baldness. In women it causes a general thinning which mostly appears along the top of the head and at the temples but does not cause a receding hairline and only very rarely does it cause balding. Women are more likely to notice signs such as their parting becoming wider, thinning at the temples and their feeling less full when they try to put it in a ponytail, as well as excessive hair shedding.
Men generally have hair transplants to restore these specific areas around the crown or hairline and hair is taken from the back or sides of their head – known as the ‘donor area’ – then transplanted to top up these thinner spots. For women, as the hair loss is more spread out, a larger amount of donor hair would need to be taken in order to fill the thinner areas. The greater the area the grafts are required for, the larger the donor area needs to be plus the operation will take a lot longer, not to mention the cost which is often calculated on a per graft basis. Longer hair can also be harder to work with and certain surgeries require the head to be shaved at least in part.
There is another reason why it is more rare for women to get hair transplants and that goes back to how male and female pattern hair loss present differently in each gender. Whereas men can experience severe balding which leads to the hair follicle dying, thus rendering any form of treatment ineffective, this does not typically happen in women, meaning hair loss treatment can often produce significant regrowth results without the need for surgery. As hair loss medications are recommended both before and after a hair transplant as part of the on-going aftercare to preserve results and prevent thinning around the transplanted grafts, this is at least an option worth exploring first for those who are deemed suitable.
At Belgravia we have found that treating female hair loss clients with personalised treatment plans based around appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil from the wide range available at our Central London clinics can produce encouraging results. Minoxidil is the only clinically-proven treatment for both male and female pattern hair loss and it can be used in conjunction with various Hair Growth Boosters to provide an integrated approach to preventing further shedding and promoting regrowth as well as improving the overall condition and health of the hair.
An example of when a hair transplant may be the most beneficial option for women is in cases of cicatricial alopecia. This is where the hair follicles are damaged or destroyed by inflammation often caused by burns, but suitability for the procedure has to be decided on a case by case basis by an established surgeon.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.