Today, there are more ways to effectively manage hair loss than ever before. From topical hair loss foams to advanced LLLT devices and hair transplant robots, men and women have a variety of hair loss treatment options that are all designed to safely and effectively treat androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness). These hair loss treatments fall into 2 distinct categories: Non-surgical options and surgical options.
Non-surgical Hair Loss Treatments
Topical foam treatments like minoxidil, available under the brand name Rogaine®, can be effective in stopping hair loss when used as directed by a physician. This typically entails applying the foam to the scalp on a daily basis. The biggest benefit of this type of treatment is that it is easy. However, some patients have hair loss that is too pronounced to fight with topical foam treatments alone. Moreover, foam can be messy and bothersome to apply daily.
Prescription hair loss medications like finasteride, available under the brand name Propecia®, also demonstrate an ability to stop hair loss. However, prescription medications may cause side effects. Additionally, finasteride is not approved for use by women, making it a non-option for treating female pattern baldness.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) can be utilized by physicians to help patients achieve a newer, fuller head of hair without the use of messy foams, prescription medications, or surgeries. Designed to stimulate hair follicles and promote all-natural growth from within, LLLT devices for hair loss include in-office domes and personal at-home devices like the Capillus laser caps.
Surgical Hair Loss Treatments
Strip donor transplant is the most common of the three surgeries mentioned above. During a strip donor transplant, the surgeon removes a strip of donor hair follicles, called a micrograft. The micrograft is then separated into individual donor grafts, called follicular units. Following segmentation, the surgeon transplants each follicular unit to the patient’s thinning or balding areas.
Follicular unit transplant (FUT) is a more refined type of surgical hair restoration procedure in which the surgeon removes the donor hairs with a special punch-like instrument that measures only 1-2 mm across. This extracts hair grafts a cluster at a time, significantly reducing the appearance of scars in the donor area. Unlike the linear scar that is produced when a micrograft is harvested via strip donor procedure (as described above), these FUE scars resemble small reddish dots that are nearly invisible to the naked eye, even when hair is worn very short.
Robotic FUE transplant is a newer and more advanced method of hair transplant that uses state-of-the-art digital imaging and robotics equipment to locate, extract, and prep individual donor hairs for transplant. Similarly to the follicular unit transplant procedure described above, surgeons must transplant each unit of donor hair by hand to restore the patient’s thinning or balding areas.