Hair Transplant for Receding Hairline Treatment

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Valerie DeBenedette, Senior Medical Editor

Valerie DeBenedette is a science writer who specializes in keeping people informed about medicine and their health. She has more than 20 years of experience writing for newspapers, magazines, and websites and has written about most areas of medicine. For many years, she was a contributing writer to Cosmetic Dermatology and to Drug Topics, the leading pharmacy trade magazine. She also was a contributing editor to The Physician and Sportsmedicine for many years. She has written about most fields of medicine, including dermatology, sportsmedicine, ophthalmology, general surgery, orthopedics, and women's health; as well as public health policy and the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, she is the author of Caffeine, a book for young people. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.


September 14 2007

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When most people consider hair replacement as a way to restore their hair, they think of the fullness of a head of hair. You may be visualizing a dense growth over the top of your head, hair that looks thick and that flows in the wind.

Those visions are true. Hair replacement definitely can give you a fuller, denser head of hair. In fact, surgical hair restoration is the only way to permanently replace and regrow your hair. But you should also be thinking about your hairline when you think of hair transplant surgery.

Your hairline is a feature of your face, just like your nose or eyes. Restoring your hairline in a natural-looking way is an important factor in how well your whole face and head looks after your hair restoration procedure. Remember, most people don't run their fingers through your hair and they don't usually get a good look at the top of your head, but they do see your hairline each time they look at your face. Your hairline frames and accentuates the features of your face.

Because your hairline is so visible, getting it right is important. A hair restoration surgeon will strive to give you a hairline that is natural looking, which means that it is not obvious and does not overwhelm the rest of your face. The best-restored hairline will usually be in the same spot it was before you started to lose hair.

A natural hairline is very rarely straight across. Nor is it a line where suddenly hair starts growing, but is instead a narrow transition zone from the skin of the face to the hair-growing areas of the scalp. Usually, a natural hairline on both men and women is a very shallow M shape. Because women usually lose their hair in a diffuse pattern over the top of the skull, their hairline often remains in place, with no recession. Some men lose their hair in "alleys" at the corners of their hairline and not in the middle, while others lose theirs evenly across the front with the hairline gradually receding.

The best placement for your hairline is a decision that you and your surgeon should make during your consultation. In addition to aesthetics, your surgeon will be able to determine how other factors, such as whether further hair loss will make future procedures necessary, will affect the placement of the hairline.

Usually, the best location for the hairline is determined based on what is called the "rule of thirds." A well-balanced, well-proportioned face can be divided into thirds, with the bottom third running from the chin to the bottom of the nose, the middle third running from the bottom of the nose to the eyebrows, and the top third running from the eyebrows to the hairline. Placing the hairline so that this ratio is maintained usually results in a hairline that balances the face.

Advances in microsurgical techniques have greatly improved the surgeon's ability to combat a receding hairline. Techniques such as follicular unit extraction and transplantation allow surgeons to transplant one to five hairs at a time, making the "cornfield" look of the old, large-plug hair transplants a thing of the past. Because the follicular grafts are so very small, creating a healthy looking hairline may require hundreds and even thousands of transplanted follicles. By using tiny hair transplants, a hair restoration surgeon can create a natural-looking, healthy hairline that is right for you.