Surgical Hair Transplant, Before and After image, Male, National Hair Centers

Is There a Right Time to Have a Hair Transplant?

Is It Hair Transplant Time?

I was reading a hair loss forum post the other day and the question was posed – “when is the ideal time to get a hair transplant?” I know that if 1 person posted such a question, there are likely thousands who have the same question. Since a lot of what we do at National Hair Centers, on the forefront of the hair loss industry, is to educate and inform, this was a great opportunity to address the question at hand.

The answer like in many businesses is… it depends.

The time is different for everybody but the key question is when is the right time for YOU? Most people don’t wake up in the morning and decide to have transplant surgery. Everyone has a breaking point

It depends on several factors which we’ll address here:

– your existing state of hair loss
– your age
– the robustness of the harvest site
– your expectations

Norwood Scale, Male Pattern Baldness Chart, National Hair Centers

Measuring Baldness


There actually is a system for measuring the amount of baldness one is experiencing and it is called the Hamilton-Norwood Scale. This is a visual depiction of various stages of hair loss which anyone would recognize and almost every client will see themselves in one of these pictures. Each of the visual depictions has a level associated with it… level I, level II, level IIa, etc. and the higher the level the greater the degree of hair loss.

Existing State of Hair Loss

Family history is a major factor in your existing state of hair loss. If there is extensive hair loss in your family tree, it increases substantially the likelihood that you will suffer some hair loss also. Stability of hair loss, meaning that if your hair loss has plateaued or slowed to normal cyclical hair loss, then you are a better candidate for transplant surgery than if you’re still experiencing genetic hair loss.

Impact of Age

There is an unwritten rule that most providers prefer not to do transplants on clients under age 25 for two reasons: the client can have “shock loss” where existing hair is damaged during the transplant surgery itself because of the close proximity to already healthy follicles, and; generally hair that is genetically programmed to fall out has not run its course by age 25.

In most cases, the age 35 is a better benchmark as it is more likely that hair loss is stabilized by that age.

The Robustness of the Harvest Site

Everyone has a finite amount of donor hair. With a finite resource, the question becomes how do we distribute it most effectively? If one begins balding at the crown and we use the donor hair for the crown, there may not be enough donor hair to use at the front, if and when that falls out.

There is also a wide variation of donor hair from patient to patient depending on how dense your natural hair is and there is an instrument (densometer) to actually measure this. One’s hair density is measured in hair how many hair grafts per sq. cm and can range from 1,500 to 10,000 but is solely dependent on the individual patient situation.

With a limited amount of hair to use for transplantation, patient and provider need to plan the use of it very carefully and position each and every graft it in the optimum place for the best effect.

Managing Your Own Expectations

If we could only fix one area, which area would that be? Considering the factors already discussed, one not only has to gauge the timing of transplant surgery but be prepared for the likely outcome. You’ll be happier with the result if you have realistic expectations. The following factors are of paramount importance:

– Generally speaking, one never gets a full head of hair from a single transplant so you shouldn’t expect such an outcome
– it may take more than 1 additional transplant surgery to get the optimum result given that you have a large enough harvest site
– it takes some time for transplanted hair to grow into strong healthy follicles… so be patient
– you may need additional treatments such as laser hair therapy to help your new hair along

Remember… information is your power to an informed decision! Contact National Hair Centers TODAY to answer all of your questions about hair transplants.

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