Hair transplant surgery can be a lifeline for many people, providing boosts to confidence that would otherwise be impossible. But how do you know if you are a good candidate for this kind of surgery?
Am I a good candidate for a hair transplant?
Typically, men whose hair loss has progressed beyond class 3 or above on the Norwood Scale are good candidates for hair transplant surgery, as long as their pattern has stabilised. If your hair loss has been progressing for five years, you are probably also a good candidate.
Read more about the Norwood Scale →
Remember that before you decide to have surgery, you need to think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
There are several characteristics of the hair that may or may not make you a good candidate for a hair transplant. Factors like hair colour, texture and waviness or curliness will affect the cosmetic result.
Hair colour is one of the biggest factors that will determine how effective the result is. This is due to the contrast between hair colour and scalp colour. The bigger the contrast between the two, the more obvious that balding appears.
Those who have similar hair and skin colour, (e.g. dark skin and dark hair, or light skin and light hair) are less ‘noticeably’ bald than those who have a high contrast between the two. This means that they are typically good candidates for hair transplantation.
Hair density is one of the biggest factors when determining who will be a good candidate for a transplant.
Those who have good hair density tend to be good candidates for hair transplantation surgery. Specifically, surgeons will look for a good density of hair follicles around the donor areas of the scalp – that is, to say, the back of the head and the sides of the scalp. This is where the donor follicles are taken from that will then be used to cover any areas of balding.
Conversely, if someone has a low density of hair follicles, they will probably not be a good candidate for a hair transplant. You need to have a moderate-to-high level of hair density in order to be able to transplant donor follicles across the scalp.
When looking at hair texture, those with curly or wavy hair can usually expect better results with less follicular units used. Afro-Carribean hair is a great example of this. Although Afro-Carribean follicular unit density tends to be lower than Caucasian or Asian hair (0.6 FU/mm2 vs. 1 FU/mm2), the fact that the curls are so dense creates the impression that more of the scalp is covered – creating a better result.
Similarly to hair texture, hair thickness can determine whether or not a hair transplant will be successful. Those with thick hair require fewer drafts to get the same cosmetic effect as those with thinner hair. This is because the appearance of baldness is due to light penetrating past the hair and then being reflected off the scalp. Those with thicker hair will be able to block more of the light from being reflected off the scalp, resulting in a better cosmetic effect.
calp flexibility, also known as scalp laxity, is also something that is considered when determining suitability of a candidate for a hair transplant. If you have low laxity of the scalp (i.e. a tight scalp) then it will be more difficult to remove follicles from the scalp and transplant them, as opposed to someone who has high laxity (i.e. a loose scalp).
It’s important to consider all these factors together when determining whether someone is a good candidate or not. Whilst someone might have a high density of hair follicles in the donor areas, they may have other unfavourable hair characteristics that offset the benefits of this density.
The quickest way to determine whether or not you will be a good candidate is to book a no-strings, one-on-one consultation with one of our expert surgeons.