Hair loss can affect just scalp or the entire body. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or medications. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss. It can come on suddenly or gradually. While some types of hair loss are temporary, others are permanent.
Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some people prefer to let their baldness run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss and to restore growth.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:
When to see a doctor
- Gradual thinning on top of head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter M. Women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
- Circular or patchy bald spots. Some people experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some cases, skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
- Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
- Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over body. The hair usually grows back.
- Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.
See the doctor if distressed by hair loss and want to pursue treatment. Also talk to the doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your or your child's hair. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
This surgical procedure aims to move hair follicles from one part of body called donor, to balding part known as recipient. It can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, chest hair etc. Patients who undergo this surgery, witness excellent hair growth after few months. This replaced hair is healthy and permanent.
Clinically, this surgery is known as Follicular Unit Transplantation. It can be carried out in two different ways:
Out of the two, Strip harvesting is more popular. In this process, a scalpel is used to remove hair bearing tissues from posterior end of scalp. Careful detachment of follicular unit grafts is done. Stereo microscopes are used for this process, so as to ensure proper removal of fatty tissues without damaging grafts to be transplanted.
- Strip Harvesting
- Follicular Unit Extraction.
Fine blades and needles are used to implant grafts on receiving sites. This technique leaves a thin scar on the donor site that gets covered with natural hair eventually. The recovery period for this process is about two weeks.
The second method is more or less similar to the first one. However, it has an added advantage of making very tiny punctures as compared to strip harvesting. Therefore, this method appears to be more natural and leaves no significant scar post surgery.
A common side effect associated with this surgery is known as “Shock Loss.” Here, non transplanted native hair falls out after transplant. However, one should not worry as it is temporary and new hair returns back within a short duration of time.
After surgery, surgeons help patients to shampoo their hair. This is an important step to prevent scabs from growing around your newly transplanted hair. Further, the operated area needs to be protected from sun and heavy rain for few days post operation. Slight swelling and itching may also be experienced. Scratching may lead to adverse effects. So, inform your doctor who can prescribe proper medication.
Cost of hair transplant surgery in India ranges between INR 35,000 to INR 2,00,000; depending on choice of clinic and method used.