Many adult women experience thinning of the hair on the scalp. This can start in the late thirties and forties, and is similar to male pattern balding. The most common location for women to lose hair is on the top, or crown, of the scalp. Many times this thinning will extend into the frontal hairline. The first thing women will often notice is widening of the part on the top and front of the scalp. Minoxidil (Rogaine) 5% can be used to help prevent further loss and to re-grow some hair, but this treatment needs to be used long term to maintain results. Propecia, a pill used to treat hair loss in men, is not effective in women. Often times, I will recommend hair transplantation for women who don’t want to use long term minoxidil.
Hair transplantation involves cutting a strip of hair from the back of the scalp. The hair is then prepared by technicians into tiny 1 or 2 hair grafts and placed into tiny slits in the area where the hair is thinning. This procedure can be very successful in women. The main limitation for most patients is cost, since hair transplantation can cost thousands of dollars. If cost is not an issue, women should not forget that this simple surgical technique, widely available for men, can also be used in women to increase hair density and reverse the thinning process.