Feature Archive

Options Abound for Hair Loss

Hair Not There?

By Jim Morelli
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Gary Vogin

Surgery, Drugs -- Options Abound for Hair Loss

One New Product Allows You to Sprinkle on Temporary 'Hair'

By Jim Morelli, RPh
WebMD Medical News

They can range from some of the most delicate surgical procedures to some of the most drastic; from microscopic cut-and-paste jobs to scalpings of horrid dimension. They can be expensive, disruptive, and not without pain -- but that doesn't stop thousands of men each year from undergoing hair restoration surgery -- nor numerous transplantation clinics from luring them in.

But be careful what you ask for, advises a dermatologist. "There are a lot of people who think they need transplants but who are not ready or not suitable candidates," says Michael Reed, MD, who performs hair transplants in New York City. "I just had a 22-year-old come in ready for a transplant and he went out with two prescriptions."

Reed's point: Baldness is progressive. Surgery performed today stands a chance of looking ridiculous 10 years down the road -- picture a nice, healthy island of hair sprouting up from a sea of scalp. "We have to plan ahead," Reed says, no pun intended. "You can't just chase baldness around. It's worse to look unnatural than to look bald."

But even good candidates for transplant surgery can get into trouble -- if they choose the wrong doctor. "The first thing I'd try to avoid is anybody who promises to do a whole head in an entire session," says Walter Unger, MD, a New York-based hair transplant specialist. "Although it's possible to get a very nice looking result, there's good evidence that a good number of hairs have died in the process."