Nearly 5,000 women received hair transplants in 2008, a 21 percent increase since 2000, according to the society of plastic surgeons. That figure doesn’t account for all the clientele of dermatologists, plastic surgeons or hair restoration chains. (Source NY Times)
Still, not every woman of the millions who suffer from hair loss is a candidate. Underlying conditions, including anemia and thyroid problems, that are temporary, treatable or affect the scalp rather than the hair, must be dealt with before a transplant can be considered. Also hair loss caused by medications must be ruled out before a women considerers hair restoration surgery. If a transplant is ruled out, female sufferers must rely on wigs, hairpieces or styling tricks.
A hair transplant is an option only for woman who have a thick enough area of hair in the the back and sides of the head to “donate” to a more paltry part of her scalp. But many women don’t experience this kind of localized balding; instead their entire head of hair thins out during menopause or as they age.
At issue is whether donor hair is stable. “The hair we transplant is only as permanent as it would have been in the area we took it from,” says Dr. Boden
Men are more fortunate in this regard. Many have thick long-haul reserves on the back and sides of their scalps, from which Dr. Boden can harvest an ear-to-ear donor strip.
How good a surgeon is at placing transplants at the precise angle of existing hairs also matters, today we can transplant safely withing thinning hair to thicken and reinforce thin areas. Regardless of technical expertise success ultimately depends on the amount of hair available for harvest, as well as on the quality of the strands. Coarse hair trumps fine in terms of visual impact.