The hair restoration revolution: Addressing male pattern baldness
Addressing male baldness with hair restoration is of high importance in today's world, where physical appearance often impacts self-esteem and social interactions. Hair loss, especially male pattern baldness, can profoundly affect an individual's psychological wellbeing and quality of life. In this context, advancements in hair restoration techniques have emerged as a beacon of hope for many, offering not just aesthetic improvements but also a boost to self-confidence and personal outlook.
In a comprehensive interview with Jeffrey Schreiber, MD, a leading expert in the field of hair restoration at Chesapeake Hair Restoration, we delve deep into the nuances of male pattern baldness and the innovative treatments that are revolutionizing the landscape of hair restoration. Schreiber, with his extensive experience and expertise, sheds light on the latest advancements in hair transplant techniques, such as automated follicular unit extraction and the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments.
ASPS: What are the most significant advancements in hair restoration treatments that you have observed in recent years?
Dr. Schreiber: The most noteworthy advancement is automated follicular unit extraction (FUE), which I consider the gold standard of hair transplants for its virtually scarless technique. It's superior to the strip method, or follicular unit transplantation, which also provides excellent results but leaves a scar at the back of the scalp. The FUE procedure leaves virtually no scar and heals within one to two weeks on the donor side. The addition of PRP to hair transplants is also significant, though there haven't been a multitude of advancements in recent years due to the efficacy of the current methods.
ASPS: How does the effectiveness of modern hair transplants compare to those performed a decade ago?
Dr. Schreiber: Today's hair transplants are almost undetectable, avoiding the outdated "pluggy" look. The meticulous preparation of grafts under a microscope ensures a natural appearance. Although the procedures can be time-consuming, taking about six hours on average, the results are worth it.
ASPS: Could you explain the process and benefits of PRP treatments for hair loss?
Dr. Schreiber: PRP involves drawing blood, centrifuging it to isolate the platelets and then injecting the platelet-rich plasma into the scalp. This stimulates the stem cells in the follicular unit, promotes new blood vessel growth and aids in recovery and new hair growth. It's beneficial for hair transplant patients and for those with thinning hair who are not candidates for transplantation.
ASPS: What factors do you consider when determining the suitability of a patient for hair restoration surgery?
Dr. Schreiber: It's not a one-and-done process. Patients who have advanced hair loss and come in and want a full thick head of hair, which is very difficult with just one transplant. So, realistic expectations are essential not only in hair transplants but in plastic surgery as a whole. Then they need to have a good donor site so that there's enough in the back of the scalp. They also can't be on any blood thinners and have to be relatively healthy.
ASPS: Can you discuss the risks and recovery times associated with different hair restoration procedures?
Dr. Schreiber: Recovery is relatively easy. I advise patients to take a week off for recovery as they may experience some swelling, but it's generally not very painful. Exercise should be avoided for a week as well.
ASPS: How do you personalize hair restoration treatments for patients with different patterns and stages of baldness?
Dr. Schreiber: Treatment is tailored to the stage of hair loss. For early stages, one procedure may suffice, but advanced hair loss may require multiple stages. It takes about a year for hair to fully grow out post-transplant, so sessions are spaced accordingly.
ASPS: In your experience, how have hair restoration treatments improved patients' self-esteem and quality of life?
Dr. Schreiber: I mean, it's pretty remarkable; hair loss in both men and women can be devastating, especially if it happens in an earlier stage, and they might be having trouble meeting people or getting jobs. It's amazing. They come back after a year and they're a different person – happier, some come in and tell me they're engaged. It's not just for the hair. I also do hair transplants for eyebrows and beards and mustaches.
ASPS: What are some misconceptions about hair restoration that you often encounter? And how do you address them?
Dr. Schreiber: Some misconception would be for one, that a hair transplant is going to be like a toupee or a wig. That's not reality, right? Another would be that hats don't cause hair loss. It's also not just the mom's side that you can get baldness from, you can get it from either side of the family because most of the time, it's genetic. The other thing to address would involve who you go to. Some patients are going to Turkey or elsewhere, and what if there's a problem? I've been doing this for almost 20 years and it's a very low complication rate, but if there are any issues, I'm always available versus if you go to another country or somewhere else and you have an issue. It's almost impossible to find someone that will take care of you. You need that relationship because this is not buying a car in another country. This is your life and so I stress the importance of choosing a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon for the procedure.
ASPS: How do you incorporate new research and techniques into your practice to ensure the best outcomes for hair restoration?
Dr. Schreiber: I stay current by attending professional meetings, reading peer-reviewed journals and adopting practices that are supported by strong evidence-based medicine.
ASPS: Can you provide any advice or recommendations for men specifically who are exploring hair restoration options for the first time?
Dr. Schreiber: Start considering hair restoration as soon as you notice significant thinning. It's crucial to do your homework, look at before and after photos and choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with a good track record and the willingness to provide care throughout the process.
ASPS: Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions about hair restoration that we didn't cover here?
Dr. Schreiber: I think the only other thing that I would have would be sometimes patients have scars from facelifts or brow lifts. I can transplant into a scar, and it hides the scars. So, if I've done a brow lift on somebody and there's a little bit of alopecia along the incision, we can do a hair transplant and hide this scar, and also from if they've had surgery on the scalp or that or brain surgery, you can transplant into those scars as well. So, it can really help those people.
To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.