If you’re a guy who’s struggling with hair loss, you’re not alone. Celebrities like Jude Law, Matthew McConaughey and even Prince William have all had to face up to the same problem. And while some men are content to embrace the bald look, others want to hold on to their locks for as long as possible. But what if your baldness has already reached an advanced stage? Is it still possible to remedy things with a hair transplant or has that ship sailed?
This article will attempt to answer that question for you. Keep reading!
What’s the Norwood Scale?
The Norwood Scale, (or the Hamilton-Norwood Scale, as it’s properly called), is a classification system that measures male pattern baldness, with seven being the most severe stage and one being the least severe. If you’re a six on the Norwood Scale, it means you have significant hair loss on the crown of your head, but still have hair on the sides and back.
If your hair loss has reached that advanced stage, you might be wondering if a hair transplant is still an option for you. To understand the challenges and possibilities involved, you need to have some knowledge of the hair transplant process.
FUT and FUE
Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), also known as strip harvesting, is one of the two modern hair transplant methods. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is the other. Both techniques are a vast improvement on the methods used in bygone years and have greatly improved the aesthetics of the modern hair transplant. FUT involves removing strips of hair follicles from the donor area at the back or sides of the head and transplanting them to the balding area. With FUE, individual hair follicles are transplanted one by one. FUE has overtaken FUT in popularity and is now the most commonly used technique around the world.
Once the transplanted hair follicles take root and start growing, they will continue to grow naturally just like the rest of your hair. It will take several months for the full results to become apparent, so it’s important to manage your expectations.
The particular problem posed by advanced-stage hair loss is that the bigger the balding area, the greater number of hair follicles required from the donor areas to provide decent coverage. If the amount of donor hair available is not enough to do the job, the hair transplant won’t be viable.
That might be hard to hear for someone desperate to regain their hair, but reputable surgeons will always be honest about this. They know the dangers involved in over-harvesting the donor areas, a practice that can lead to scarring and a noticeable patchy appearance in those areas.
That may seem like an obvious call; it makes no sense, after all, to try and fix a hair loss problem on the top of the head only to create another one at the back. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous clinics at home and abroad which do exactly that. To boost sales, they sell an unrealistic vision of what can be achieved to those who present with advanced hair loss. They then proceed to over-harvest the donor areas in an attempt to make good on their promises. There is never a good outcome with these transplants.
Never Say Never
So, returning to the question of whether those with advanced hair loss can get a hair transplant, the good news is that even if you’re a six on the Norwood scale, a hair transplant may still be a viable option for you. Indeed, many men with hair loss at this level have had great success with hair transplant procedures. A recent study assessed the outcome of FUE hair transplants in advanced-grade baldness (Norwood 5-7) and found that 94% of recipients were satisfied with their transplant.
The viability of any ‘late-stage’ transplant comes down to the surgeon’s professional assessment of what can safely be harvested and what coverage can be provided. That’s why it is so important to do your research and find a properly qualified, experienced surgeon, one who will give you an honest assessment of what can and cannot be achieved.
If you’re way up the charts on the Norwood scale and you’re considering a hair transplant, you may be worried that you’ve left it too late. There’s some comfort in knowing that others in a similar situation have gone on to have successful transplants. Ultimately, however, the only way to know is to find out!
Vinci Hair Clinic can help you with that. We’re one of the world’s leading hair restoration organisations with a network of clinics around the world. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients, one that can take place in person or by using photographs over the phone. Get in touch and book an appointment today!