Oh, that infamous receding hairline that becomes an imminent threat as we entered our twenties. The pattern of hair loss that continues to strike terror on our youthful appearance since the start of time is no longer a bewilderment for science. Androgenic alopecia, hair loss due to androgen sensitivity in follicular units, is the condition to whom the notorious M-shaped receding hair line is attributed.
Not long ago, androgenic alopecia was a challenge to treat for the condition was relatively mysterious. For a phenomenon that many ancient civilizations suffered from, androgenic alopecia held on to a blanket of mysteries and ambiguity for a long time. Although aspects of the alopecia are slowly unraveling and a permanent solution is quivering on the horizon, hair transplants have been and will be until then, the silver lining for the bald.
Understanding androgenic alopecia
Androgenic alopecia is a condition where in follicular units miniaturize upon persistent contact with androgens. Since the hormonal alopecia is an inherited disorder, the progression varies from one person to the other.
Follicular units could either be genetically predisposed to be unaffected by the cellular cascade of miniaturization androgens impose on follicular units, or they could be androgen sensitive where androgen bonding could trigger fatal cellular activity that end with the permanent premature miniaturization of the follicular unit. The polarizing effects on follicular units in the scalp is what creates the notorious pattern.
Follicular units tend to be androgen resistant in the back of the scalp and are more likely to be sensitive to androgens the closer we move towards the crown and hair line. Therefore, and depending on the proportions of androgen sensitive and androgen resistant follicular units an individual owns, alopecia begins at the hair line and recedes all the way back. Hair loss could halt anywhere in the scalp.
How and why androgens have the potential to terminate follicular units on the scalp where instead they promote growth in body follicular units is not fully understood. It is in the crux of this conundrum a permanent solution could reside. Until the differences are completely discovered, and the varying effects of androgens on follicular units become clear; a magical potion that resolves this age old conundrum will still be a mere wish.
The two types of androgenic alopecia
Androgenic alopecia varies in pattern between males and females. Male pattern hair loss occurs in the notorious pattern of thinning crown and receding hair line. Female pattern hair loss on the other hand, occurs in a more sporadic pattern. In other words, locating stable androgen resistant donor grafts could be a challenge, and therefore, with the lack of reliability, the results could fail.
Because of the differences in hair loss traits, women suffering from androgenic alopecia are more likely not to be suitable candidates for the procedure.
FUE hair transplants
While a few characteristics of the condition remain in the shadow, the available information has allowed for hair transplants to be the single permanent solution for androgenic alopecia.
It is likely common to use FUE and FUT interchangeably, however the two are not synonymous for each other. FUT or follicular unit transplantation is one of the oldest techniques of hair transplantation. FUT, being relatively invasive and equally inconvenient for patient and surgeons alike, was soon replaced by FUE.
Follicular unit Extraction, FUE, is a technique that extracts follicular units from the androgen resistant areas and relocates them into balding areas individually. Unlike FUT, where an entire strip of skin has to be excised from the scalp that heals into a visible linear scar, FUE individually extracts follicular units. The immaculate and less invasive technique of follicular unit extraction in FUE, allows for near scar free results that are less likely to limit the patient’s choice of hair style in the future.
The results are permanent since androgen resistance is an inherited trait, the transplanted follicular units will continue to prosper in their new location.
Suitable candidates for FUE was hair transplants
FUE hair transplants depend entirely on stable androgen resistant follicular unit regions. That being said, patients should have sufficient donor hair that is capable of covering balding scalp without inflicting noticeable thinning in the donor regions. The Vera Clinic, a pioneer hair transplant and cosmetic surgery hospital offers services for the curious alone. Instead of building up your hopes for them to be deflated, you can book an online consultation with a medical specialist from Vera Clinic. During the online consultation appointment, free of charge, a medical specialist will request multiple pictures of your scalp and provide you with a thorough assessment and evaluation for your particular case.