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Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: Transplant Surgery Uncovered

Sep 9, 2008
The figure of a man wearing an ill fitting toupee has dominated popular comic culture for centuries. There is something about the seeming vanity and denial of the process of aging being uncovered that makes us chortle. There are however very serious undertones to this image and one might agree with Hobbesian philosophy that laughing at this is a way of subordinating other members of society.

Toupees, wigs and hair extensions are worn by people to cover up the way that their hair looks due to a medical condition. Baldness in men especially has been a source of ridicule however many people do not understand that this condition is a serious medical condition. Baldness in women is treated with much less disdain as female hair is a much more potent symbol of their gender but in males it has survived as a source of great amusement.

The reality behind the laughs is much more serious and it affects different people in different ways. People who choose to use toupees are doing so because they are self-conscious about the way that they look however some people are happy to let nature run its course. Other people opt for more permanent and costly solutions to their medical condition such as hair transplant surgery. This procedure is more expensive however combined with medication can offer a permanent solution to baldness.

The condition Androgenetic Alopecia is better known as male pattern baldness in men and it does occur in women however with less obvious symptoms. In men it can take the form of a receding hair line and loss of hair in the crown area of the scalp. In women the hair loss takes the form of a general thinning of the hair so is less noticeable. This condition is genetic in origin and not a great deal is known about the causes.

It is believed that it is caused by a deficiency in DHT a particular androgen hormone that affects pre-birth and infant sexual development. Recent studies from 2007 show that it is a genetic deficiency on the maternal side in these early stages of sexual development that cause the condition which can then start developing as early as late teens. The genetic coding of certain areas of the scalp cause the hair to stop growing, whilst other areas remain fertile.

Hair transplant surgery is a procedure which is performed under local anaesthetic which involves the transplanting of hair from one area of the scalp to the other. The areas of the scalp known as donor areas have the genetic coding not to be recessive and are usually located around the back of the head are surgically removed ensuring that follicles are intact, then implanted into the recipient area. The genetic code of the donor area is transferred into the recessive recipient area causing hair to grow.

As the donor area is an exact genetic match there is a very low risk of rejection, as is usually incurred by transplants from other people. The process must be coupled with medication otherwise the hair will not re-grow after being shed however the results with the most recent medication have been extremely promising. Hair transplant surgery is now one of the most popular cosmetic procedures and is a permanent solution for male pattern baldness.
About the Author
Dominic Donaldson is a specialist consultant hair transplant surgeon and regular contributor to trade publications on the subject.
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