Does Hair Transplant Work For Alopecia Areata?
Does Hair Transplant Work For Alopecia Areata? Hair restoration experts know that alopecia areata is one of the most enigmatic and frustrating types of hair loss. The question that many patients and doctors continue to ask is whether hair transplantation is a valid action to restore alopecia hair loss and if not, what other solution is there?
Scientists have struggled to pinpoint the underlying cause of this autoimmune disorder for decades and there is still no cure to date.
Although it affects only one percent of the population, it is still one in a hundred people suffering from a condition that can be both physical and emotional.
Let’s take a brief look at this unusual situation to determine if a hair transplant can help and offer some constructive tips on other possible ways to deal with the problem.
There is currently no way to predict when these patches will appear on the scalp, how large they will be or how much they will affect growth.
There are a few things that distinguish alopecia in addition to other causes of hair loss:
It is an autoimmune condition and not the result of hormonal activity (usually testosterone and DHT), which is the most common cause of baldness.
Cases appear to worsen during pregnancy and hair follicles
There appears to be a genetic component, although the data are not overwhelming, with about 20% of patients reporting a family member with the same condition.
Treatments are available, but there is no complete cure.
Scientists found no link between stress levels and outbreaks.
Some experts compare the condition to vitiligo, which produces similar skin sizes that accidentally destroy melanin.
Spontaneous and complete recovery is also often reported, with spots of lost hair returning to normal as quickly as they had been lost.
People with the disease also tend to have their first outbreak early, with many patients reporting signs before the age of 30.
From the perspective of a hair restoration professional, areata alopecia is one of the most difficult treatment conditions.
Not only do hair loss spots come and go unexpectedly, but they appear in different areas of the head without any degree of predictability.
How Hair Transplant Can Help
Because alopecia areata presents a number of challenges beyond the realm of hair loss, rehabilitation specialists are often reluctant to perform surgeries, such as follicular unit transplants.
In this practice, hundreds or thousands of small follicular units are collected from a donor area, usually in the back of the neck, and transported to the recipient area where they are carefully inoculated into tiny incisions.
For patients suffering from typical androgenic baldness or receding hairline, this is a proven approach that has yielded positive results for millions worldwide. This is due in part to static, predictable genetic baldness, which can often be assessed in advance with some existing models.
As we have pointed out, alopecia areata does not have such predictability, which means that an otherwise successful hair transplant can be destroyed by an autoimmune attack at any time. For most patients with this condition, investing time and money simply is not worth the risk of losing their progress in an accidental outbreak.
There are some cases in which a hair transplant can permanently help restore alopecia hair loss, although these cases are few.
While some patients with alopecia are willing to accept the bet that they may lose their progress after a hair transplant, most people in this position are looking for other paths forward.
Recent developments in a procedure called Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) may offer some aesthetic support to patients with alopecia, who may have a bold appearance.
This surgery is non-invasive and often much more affordable than transplants. They are essentially a series of hundreds of mini tattoos that are located under the skin and provide the look of short hair. It may not be the ideal solution, especially because patients have to sacrifice their long hair, but for many who suffer from alopecia, it is a significant improvement.
On the pharmaceutical side of things, more progress is being made every day.
Minoxidil, known as Rogaine, has been approved as a relatively affordable and effective topical solution to increase blood flow to the scalp and promote hair growth. Cases of complete recovery are not uncommon in alopecia patients using Minoxidil, but it is a low-risk treatment that has been shown to help promote growth when autoimmune attacks occasionally subside.
Some patients choose more aggressive methods, including irradiation techniques in the form of targeted photochemotherapy. These measures may be considered extreme by some, but the results were generally satisfactory, according to a survey by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Another drug called Anthralin, which has had a decent history in the last decade for treating psoriasis, has emerged in recent years as a way to combat the inflammatory effects of alopecia. While some over-the-counter versions of this drug are available in low doses, patients seeking a more potent anti-inflammatory solution will want to consult a doctor for a prescription.
Alternatively, soothing eczema creams can provide short-term relief from the itching and burning sensations associated with alopecia, which can help hold hair in the event of an outbreak.
Look For Specialists
When dealing with unforeseen areas of alopecia, it is in the patient’s best interest to find a doctor who is equipped to navigate the pharmaceutical side of hair restoration.
As hair transplantation tends not to be recommended, it is important for patients to work with leading doctors in the field to address the challenges of this condition from every possible angle.
While doctors, dermatologists and immunologists can offer valuable guidance in combating the condition as a whole, patients who want to specifically address the hair loss aspect of areata alopecia will also want to consult a hair restoration specialist.
Patients who orchestrate a multilevel approach to combating this condition will find that their results are more consistent and satisfying than taking it one step at a time.
Alopecia areata is undoubtedly one of the most mysterious and misunderstood causes of hair loss and the leaders in the hair restoration industry are constantly looking for new solutions.
The truth is that hair transplants are rarely, if ever, the best treatment for patients who have suffered hair loss under this condition due to its unpredictable nature. Patients often do not run the risk of losing their “new” hair from the donor area again in days, weeks or months, so they look for other paths. The most proven methods to fight alopecia are medical equations and lifestyle and patients should not stop looking for ways to treat their condition from this perspective. Does Hair Transplant Work For Alopecia Areata?