By Alan J. Bauman, M.D.
After discovering the dreaded first signs of hair loss, men and women often seek a ‘first opinion’ from a friend, family member, spouse, or even their hair stylist. But hair loss, like other medical conditions, must be addressed by a trained professional.
One of the reasons for this is that unlike many medical conditions, the early signs of hair loss are often so minimal that they are either dismissed, or overlooked entirely, so by the time the patient seeks treatment, it is possible that they’ve already lost 50 percent of hair volume in that area. If they turn to their primary care physician, or even a dermatologist, as their ‘second opinion’, he or she may be able to diagnosis hair loss, and offer insight into possible medical causes, such as anemia, medications, illness, etc., but in most cases, they won’t have the training and expertise needed to properly map out an effectivehair regrowth treatment plan that will ensure long-term success.
Which is why you should be very careful when soliciting the ‘second opinion’.
Whether it was suggested by your spouse, friend, stylist or physician, or something you noticed after looking at a few old pictures of yourself, once it has been determined that the hair loss process has started, your next phone call or email needs to be to an experienced full-time hair restoration physician—a doctor who specializes exclusively in the medical diagnosis, treatment and tracking of hair loss. These specially trained physicians have had extensive training and board certification specific to treating hair loss, and have up-to-date knowledge of the newest treatment options. Before choosing your doctor, it is important to know their qualifications, visit the clinic, read reviews, ask for before-and-after pictures and most importantly, ask questions.
Once you’ve found a full-time board certified hair restoration physician, he or she will help you assess where you are in the hair loss process, which is a lot harder than merely looking for bald spots. Unlike primary care physicians, hair restoration physicians will use advanced scalp microscopes and other diagnostic tools, like the HairCheck device, which helps to accurately assess hair loss, growth and breakage on any area of the scalp. By tracking these numbers, it can help determine the extent and rate of your hair loss and/or breakage and inform you of any changes over time. These tools and the information they gather have made it infinitely easier to catch hair loss before it becomes too significant and also to be sure your prescribed hair regrowth treatments are working.
Once your hair restoration physician has diagnosed the extent of your hair loss and the causes behind it, they may recommend one or more treatments to address your hair loss problems. Medical treatments that will help mitigate hair loss may include a specially compounded prescription minoxidil solution called Formula 82M, platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP, also called the ‘vampire hair growth treatment’), prostaglandin analogs, low-level laser therapy, and nutritional supplements. In advanced cases, hair transplantation may be the patients’ best strategy for treating their hair loss. New microsurgical no-scalpel/no-stitch harvesting techniques like NeoGraft FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction allow for a minimally-invasive “follicle-by-follicle” approach. This advanced and artistic process allows for diminished downtime and discomfort while avoiding the pluggy look and linear scars which traditional ‘old-style’ hair transplants left behind. In addition to having access to the latest medical and surgical treatments, hair restoration physicians also often work closely with companies that make custom medical-grade hair replacement systems or hair and scalp prosthetics for those who are not candidates for transplants. These are new advances that are only offered through a small number of highly qualified physicians in the world.
While hair loss can present differently from patient to patient, in most cases, the best hair restoration physicians use a multi-therapy approach. This should also include routine follow-ups for tracking purposes to see what’s working, and what isn’t, and adjusting the treatment regimen as necessary to achieve optimal results.
In the end, it doesn’t matter who you talk to first about your hair loss, what matters is that your second opinion is from someone with the proper tools and experience to help get to the root of the problem, stop the progression, and give you the best chance of saving the hair that you have and restoring the hair you’ve lost.
Hair Loss Signs & Symptoms
• Excessive Shedding
• Thinner, Weaker Hair
• Smaller Ponytail Thickness
• Loss of Hair Volume
• Difficulty Styling or Creative Styling Needed
• Seeing More Scalp or Widening Part-Line
• Using Cosmetic Camouflage Powder
• Receding Hairline and/or Temples
• Sunburned Scalp
Tips on Finding
a Hair Restoration Physician
• A hair restoration physician is someone who specializes exclusively in the medical diagnosis, treatment and tracking of hair loss and its treatment.
• Look for physicians who are board-certified in hair restoration by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery and recommended by the American Hair Loss Association.
• Due to the limited number of board-certified hair restoration physicians worldwide, prospective patients should be prepared to travel and or consult long-distance.
• Before choosing your doctor, visit the clinic, read reviews, ask for before-and-after pictures and most importantly, ask questions.
• Primary care doctors, as well as dermatologists, may not be fully equipped to diagnose, treat and track your hair loss process with the latest tools and technology.
BAUMAN MEDICAL GROUP
Hair Restoration for Men and Women
Treating Hair Loss: The Second Opinion
By Alan J. Bauman, M.D.