Men and women spend more than $1.8 billion each year on hair loss treatments of all sorts including topical treatments as well as hair transplantation.
By: Dr. Washenik, M.D., Ph.D.
Traditional hair restoration surgery and medications might seem boring to those looking at the future of hair loss solutions. With the future being unclear, and a variety of products only providing temporary solutions for permanent hair loss, patients today must choose between temporary solutions, waiting, or the only effective treatment for permanent hair loss we have today. A recent article in the LA Times written by Chris Woolston explores the options and a so-called “war on baldness” and a recent study from The International Society of Hair Restoration which reported a variety of hair loss facts, including an estimate that men and women spend more than $1.8 billion each year on hair loss treatments of all sorts including topical treatments as well as hair transplantation.
Woolson consults with Dr. Marc Avram, hair transplant surgeon and clinical professor of dermatology at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City, to discuss the problem that 40 million American men currently suffer from – hair loss. Although the authors assert that men fighting hair loss have many viable options, including medications and surgical transplants, The International Society of Hair Restoration which reported that surgeons performed more than 95,000 hair transplants in 2010. This number seems to suggest that people suffering from hair loss are looking for permanent solutions to hair loss. Bosley surgeon Dr. Washenik has performed many hair transplantations, and has seen many patients struggle with hair loss and alternative products.
Today’s hair treatment detractors and opponents admit that Rogaine and Propecia, which are applied directly to the scalp, are still the most popular and effective choices for men who want to slow or reverse hair loss. Cumulatively, topical minoxidil (Rogaine) and oral finasteride (Propecia) have more than three decades of effective and safe experience for the large majority of hair loss sufferers that have used them. As is often noted, most users of these therapies notice an obviously positive effect from these medications, most notably at slowing down or arresting their hair loss. However, these two options are not permanent solutions. To truly hide or counter the effects of permanent hair loss, men have the option of a toupee or a hair transplant. Still, the only permanent solution to hair loss is hair restoration by transplantation.
In the article, Dr. Rashid Rashid, a dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon, claims that hair transplant surgery is a “full-blown” surgery. Dr. Washenik from Bosley counters this agrument, pointing out that while hair restoration is a surgical procedure, it is not like typically surgeries that are difficult on the patient. Hair transplantation today is state of the art, and an in-office based procedure that is demanding on the doctor and the clinical staff – not on the patient. Whether the doctors are performing a strip type follicle unit procedure with microscopic visualization and preparation of the grafts or individual follicular unit extraction (FUE) from the scalp, general anesthesia, or even sedation, is not required. Only the areas where hair follicles are removed from, and moved to, need to be numbed up with locally injected lidocaine. Patients are awake and talking to the doctor and staff and/or watching television throughout the procedure.
It is very difficult to notice, or even be dissatisfied with, any Bosley or modern/cutting-edge hair restoration procedure. There are no other acceptable treatments, other than wigs, that offer so much hope to people that have already lost a significant amount of hair, or want to stay ahead of the process of male pattern and female hair loss. It is very difficult to notice, or even be dissatisfied with, any Bosley or modern/cutting-edge hair restoration procedure.
The future of hair restoration may look different. Hair cloning, and other potential treatments are currently in FDA approves U.S. clinical trials. Although the landscape of how hair is harvested may change, permanent hair restoration will always play a large role in combating balding and hair loss. However, most patients do not want to wait to see what types of advancements may cure them of their hair loss. For hair loss experts like Dr. Washenik , the key with dealing with hair loss is retention and maintenance of existing hair, while seeking solution to restore lost hair and hairline. It is also important to note that while suggesting cellular regenerative treatment/ hair cloning promises great advancements in the hair restoration field in the near future, like most medical progress, one would not be wise sitting and waiting on “what is to come” as it may not be achieved in the near future.
About the Author:
Ken Washenik, M.D., Ph.D. is a Medical Director at Bosley and a Faculty Member at New York University School of Medicine, Department of Dermatopharmacology.