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Topical vs. Surgical: What is Best for Hair Restoration?

Genetics are the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. 95% of people who suffer from alopecia (baldness) do so because of the DNA they inherited from their parents. The remaining 5% are losing their hair due to stress, illness, medications, or even diet.

When it comes to hair restoration techniques, there are many options to choose from such as surgical vs. non-surgical, cost, and even length of treatment. To help you determine which treatment option is right for you, we have compiled a list of topical vs. surgical treatments and reasons why you might choose one over the other.

Propecia (finasteride)

Propecia is the brand name for Finasteride. It was originally developed for men who had enlarged prostates. Many users of finasteride reported new hair growth and diminished thinning of the hair as two beneficial side effects. Over time, scientists developed Propecia, which is a pill that is intended to be used for the treatment of hair loss.

The medication works by preventing testosterone from being converted into DHT in the oil glands, hair follicles, and prostate. DHT is a form of testosterone that is responsible for hair loss.

There are a few known side effects that can affect ~2% of men using them. Such issues as decreased sex drive, depression, and allergic reactions have all been reported. However, most of these cases are extremely rare and the vast majority of people who take finasteride report no side effects at all.

Rogaine (topical minoxidil)

Rogaine is another non-surgical option for treatment of hair loss. It is a foam that is applied to the hair once a day. Results can be seen in as little as 12 weeks. It is designed to help grow newer, thicker hair. It can take upwards of 1 year before the full benefits are seen. This is due to how slow human hair grows – Rogaine cannot speed up the rate at which hair grows, only encourage new hairs to grow.

The downside to Rogaine is that it is not permanent. It must be used on a regular basis. If it is discontinued, any new hair will fall out at a rapid pace until the body catches up to the point of hair loss that would have occurred if Rogaine had never been taken in the first place.

Rogaine is most effective when used to slow or stop hair loss in the crown of the head. It is not very effective at treating receding hairlines. Rogaine is just one of many brands that has minoxidil as the active ingredient. Research has shown that products with a higher concentration of minoxidil have been proven to be more effective at slowing or stopping hair loss.

Laser Light Therapy

Low-level laser light therapy helps promote hair growth by triggering enhanced cellular activity. Aging cells are revitalized and that in turn stimulates new hair growth. Laser light therapy is achieved by the usage of a helmet that the patient wears in the comfort of their own home. Low level lasers are beamed into the scalp for 20 minutes, twice-a-week. The treatment is hands-free and cordless, so it can be done while watching t.v. or lounging on your sofa.

Laser therapy is non-surgical, and does not require a potentially dangerous or harmful prescription. It’s backed up by decades of research by some of the leading hair restoration experts.

Hair Replacement Surgery

Hair replacement surgery is an option for people who are looking for permanent results. This treatment options involves taking hair follicles from donor sites on your body and then transplanting them into areas that are balding. The techniques have been perfected over the years to the point where results are indistinguishable from normal hair growth.

Reasons for Topical vs. Surgical

There are plenty of reasons why a person would choose a topical hair restoration procedure over a surgical one and vice versa. Here are a few things to consider:

Severity of Hair Loss – How severe is your hair loss? If the severity of hair loss is pretty high, then certain treatments may not be as effective. It’s best to schedule a consultation with a doctor so they can evaluate the degree of hair loss and advise as to which treatments would work best.

Treatment Processes – Hair restoration will require a choice of surgical vs. non-surgical to be made. If getting surgery isn’t appealing due to cost or other constraints, then the only option left is the non-surgical one – which can have less-than-appealing results when compared to getting a permanent hair transplant.

Long-Term Goals – The long-term goals of each patient must also be carefully evaluated. Is hair loss only going to be a concern for a few years? Is applying a topical solution such as Rogaine on an indefinite basis appealing? Or does the patient want to get it all over with by getting a hair transplant so they never have to worry about it again?

Cost & Financing Options – Most hair growth treatments are not covered by insurance. As such, financing will be completely up to the patient. While surgical hair transplants cost the most, they are also the longest lasting. While topical treatments such as Rogaine may seem like a financial bargain, they must be applied continually. If stopped, accelerated hair loss will occur.

Hair Loss Treatment in Baltimore.

If you’re experiencing hair loss and would like to learn more about the various options available, give us a call at (410) 828-4123 or schedule an appointment. At the Baltimore Center, we specialize in hair restoration procedures that can leave you with a fuller head of hair and a new outlook on life!

Founded and directed by Johns Hopkins faculty Dr. Randolph Capone, the Baltimore Center is a premier plastic surgery practice dedicated exclusively to providing state of the art care for individuals desiring body enhancement, rejuvenation, or repair. The Baltimore Center for Plastic Surgery was founded for one purpose: to combat the signs of aging and deformity.

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