Several recent television reality programs took cosmetic surgery “makeover” as their theme. A typical story line was to present a person who’s real or self-perceived cosmetic imperfections are corrected by cosmetic surgery.
“Makeover” programs have a positive effect when they reinforce the idea that no one has to live with cosmetic imperfections that surgical or medical treatment can correct. Hair loss, for example, is one of easiest cosmetic imperfections to correct by surgical or medical hair restoration. Correction of hair loss has high public acceptance; it is not regarded as a “vanity” procedure but rather as a procedure that improves self-confidence as well as the way in which one is perceived by others.
“Makeover” crosses from positive to negative when it is understood as a way to become someone other than your self. Hair restoration and other cosmetic surgery can correct cosmetic imperfections and enhance your appearance to restore and improve the “real you”. Surgery cannot make you into someone you are not. Professional performers may seek cosmetic surgery to make them “look like” a famous person they intend to imitate on stage, but the performer understands that he or she is not the person they will imitate.
Makeover programs may encourage you to investigate the value of hair restoration. You can also be encouraged by the success of a hair restoration in a friend or relative to seek hair restoration for your self. Your best approach to achieving successful hair restoration is to make certain that the procedure is individualized to your characteristics. What worked well for your friend or relative may not work well for you. You and the physician hair specialist must work together to achieve the outcome that best meets your needs.
Making Hair Transplantation Work Best for You
Some important considerations in making hair transplantation work for you are characteristics that are unique to you. For example:
- Your expectations for what hair transplantation should accomplish
- The degree of your hair loss
- Your hair quality – color, hair/skin color match, thickness of your individual scalp hairs, degree of curl in your scalp hair, the angle at which your hair grows from hair follicles and direction in which your hair naturally falls across your scalp.
Making hair transplantation work best for you may mean that your initial expectations will be modified by considerations such as the degree of your hair loss and your hair quality. If you have very severe hair loss you may not be a candidate for hair transplantation but may find hair addition or total hair replacement quite acceptable. If you have very mild to moderate hair loss and you are under age 25 you may be better served by treatment with a medical hair restoration agent until you become a good candidate for hair transplantation. Degree of hair loss and the quality of hair are uniquely your characteristics that must be taken into account to achieve results that are best for you.
It is important that you and the physician hair restoration specialist agree on realistic expectations for your transplantation – and that you continue to agree on realistic expectations after first and subsequent rounds of hair transplantation have been completed. Successful outcome of a first round of hair transplantation can result in an evolution of expectations that requires discussion between the patient and physician hair restoration specialist. For example:
- A patient expresses a wish for “naturalness” and “undetectability” of hair transplantation, fearing the “pluggy” look associated with early days of hair transplantation.
- The patient’s wish is accommodated by use of micro- and single-hair grafts that provide naturalness but not maximum density over hair-loss areas of the scalp. Use of micro- and single-hair grafts creates a natural, mature appearance.
- After success of the initial round of transplantation the patient decides that a goal of “undectability” should be replaced by a goal of “maximum density”, a goal not usually achieved with single-hair grafts.
- Is “maximum density” a realistic expectation for this patient? If the patient has adequate reserves of donor hair at the back of his head, maximum density can probably be achieved by additional rounds of transplantation but the result will be a different “full head of hair” appearance than the patient first wanted. If the patient has rapidly progressive male pattern hair loss, the physician hair restoration specialist may advise against use of donor hair for “maximum density”, recommending that donor hair be reserved for keeping pace with future hair loss.
- Evolution of a patient’s expectations can lead to additional procedures and additional cost that may not be necessary if the patient and physician hair restoration specialist maintain good communication and remain in agreement regarding the best outcome for the patient.
To tell a physician hair restoration specialist that you want hair transplantation “just like” that of your friend is a limitation that the physician will not be able to accept if you mean that you want to “look like” your friend. If you and the physician hair restoration specialist agree to design hair transplantation around your unique characteristics, you can expect to have an outcome just as successful as the one you admired in a friend. Your expectation should not be to “look like” a friend or other model but to have the appearance that best expresses your uniqueness.