GENEVA, IL. – June 24, 2009. Despite the worldwide economic downturn in 2008, more people continued to seek treatment for hair loss, according to statistics released today from a recent member survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) – the world’s leading medical authority on hair loss and hair restoration. The extrapolated worldwide number of hair restoration patients treated in 2008 was approximately 811,363 (236,468 surgical patients and 574,894 non-surgical patients) – up 26 percent from 2006.
This significant increase in hair restoration patients coincides with a 12 percent jump in the total number of surgical hair restoration procedures worldwide – from 225,779 procedures in 2006 to 252,002 procedures in 2008.
“People around the world place an extremely high value on their hair, so it is no surprise that the number of men and women seeking help for hair loss continues to increase each year,” said William M. Parsley, MD, president of the ISHRS. “Thanks to the continual refinements in hair restoration surgery and proven medical therapies that together produce natural-looking results, more people are investing in restoring their hair for both the personal and professional advantages inherent with looking younger and feeling more self-confident.”
Although the majority of hair restoration patients are men, the percentage of women seeking help for hair loss appears to be on the rise. Since the Practice Census was first conducted in 2005, the percent of hair restoration surgical patients that were female increased from 11.4 percent in 2004 to 13.8 percent in 2006 and 15.1 percent in 2008. Similarly, the percent of female non-surgical hair restoration patients has also increased – from 28.3 percent to 31.8 percent over the four-year period.
The survey also found that people of all different ages were seeking hair restoration surgery in 2008. For example, ISHRS members reported that the average age of their patients who underwent hair restoration surgery for the first time in 2008 was 38 years old. When asked the age of their youngest and oldest patients in 2008, the average age of the youngest hair restoration patient at ISHRS member practices in 2008 was 22 years old. On the other end of the spectrum, the average age of the oldest hair restoration patient at ISHRS member practices in 2008 was 69 years old. More than half of male and female patients fell between the ages of 30 to 49 years old (59.6 percent and 54.9 percent, respectively), and, on average, male patients tended to be slightly younger than female patients.
When ISHRS members were asked the average number of procedures each patient received in order to achieve the desired result, less procedures continued to be the trend in 2008. Specifically, 1.4 procedures were required in 2008 versus 1.8 procedures in 2006 and 2.2 procedures in 2004. Dr. Parsley credits technological advancements and the latest techniques that allow hair restoration physicians to discretely implant more tiny grafts in one session for the continual decline in the number of procedures needed for optimal results.
Similar to how other cosmetic procedures were once considered taboo to discuss, hair restoration surgery is now a mainstream procedure that patients are willing to talk about openly with others. For example, ISHRS members were asked if their patients were more likely, just as likely or less likely to discuss their hair restoration procedures with family and friends in 2008 compared to 2006. The survey found that approximately half (49 percent) of ISHRS members said their patients would be ‘more likely’ to discuss their hair restoration as they were in 2006, with 44.2 percent reporting patients as ‘just as likely’ and only 6.7 percent as ‘less likely’ to discuss.
When examining the number of hair restoration procedures by recipient area and by country/region, the scalp, eyebrow and face were the three most popular transplant areas. However, a number of other interesting trends were observed in 2008. These include:
- The Middle East experienced the biggest increase in the number of hair restoration procedures, with 20,647 procedures performed in 2008 (a 68 percent increase from 2006).
- In the Middle East, the number of facial (moustache/beard) hair transplants increased by 110 percent from 2006 to 2008 (436 procedures vs. 916 procedures, respectively).
- In Asia, the demand for chest hair transplants rose by 184 percent from 2006 to 2008 (77 procedures vs. 219 procedures, respectively).
- In Europe, the number of eyelash transplants increased by 631 percent from 2006 to 2008 (35 procedures vs. 256 procedures, respectively).
- In Europe, eyebrow transplants also increased by 297 percent from 2006 to 2008 (719 procedures vs. 2,861 procedures, respectively)
In addition, when ISHRS members were asked what they thought would be the next technological leap in hair restoration, 61 percent indicated the future of hair restoration would include cloning/stem cells/follicular cell transplantation. Currently being studied as an option for treating hair loss by increasing a person’s amount of donor hair, hair cloning is the popular term applied to the very active field of regenerative science research involved with the development of cell-based hair transplants. The concepts behind this developing biotech field are to harvest cells from the scalp in much the same manner as follicular grafts are currently obtained and to then grow and expand those cells in tissue culture conditions to produce more hair-forming cells. From this stage, there are a number of variations being investigated as to which cells can be used and where these cells can be used in the follicular development pathway.
“Although these exciting technologies are still several years away from being available to hair loss patients, a number of clinical trials have already begun to explore this possibility,” said Dr. Parsley. “Clearly, our survey shows that people are not willing to simply accept their hair loss and are increasingly turning to hair restoration procedures as a permanent solution. As more new technologies become available in the future, I expect this trend will continue.”
About the ISHRS
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is a global non-profit medical association and the leading authority on hair loss treatment and restoration with more than 1,100 members throughout 70 countries worldwide. Above all, the ISHRS is dedicated to achieving excellence in patient outcomes by promoting the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics, and research in the medical hair restoration industry. The ISHRS also provides continuing medical education to physicians specializing in hair transplant surgery and is committed to delivering the latest information on medical and surgical treatments to consumers suffering from hair loss, and most commonly from androgenetic alopecia–male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss. It was founded in 1993 as the first international society to promote continuing quality improvement and education for professionals in the field of hair restoration surgery. For more information and to locate a physician, visit www.ishrs.org.
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