Hair Loss FAQs Harpenden

At Riverbanks Wellness® we understand that you need as much information as possible before you embark on any possible treatments for hair loss. Please take your time to read the detail below. If you still have some unanswered questions, please feel free to ask us a question.

What causes male pattern baldness?

The tendency towards male pattern baldness is genetic and can be inherited from either of the parents. Usually thinning starts when the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) molecules adhere to special receptors in the cells of the hair follicle which then causes the follicle to miniaturise and die away.

How exactly does Hair Transplant surgery work?

In all men even those suffering advanced thinning and baldness there is a permanent ring of hair on the back of the head and the sides above and around the ear. We all know someone who has thinning hair and can see that this area is not affected by the balding process – just take a look! In singular hair transplantation surgery the graft or the skin containing this permanent hair is removed from the back of the head or donor site. These hair follicles are then dissected from the skin with careful precision and re-implanted in tiny surgical sites only fractionally bigger that the hair itself into the thinning areas of the scalp. When it has been transplanted this new hair behaves as it was programmed to behave and should grow naturally for the duration of your life. Showing individual extraction of a hair follicle Hair transplants are typically performed using local anaesthetic and mild sedation. However at Riverbanks we also have the option of using twilight sedation which means you will not be aware of the procedure until it has finished – this is not to be confused with a ‘general anaesthetic’ which carries medical risks and you will be able to return home on the very same day and hopefully be stress and anxiety free. There are very few hair transplant clinics in the UK who can offer this service. During a hair transplant procedure patients feel very little discomfort to the head and scalp and post operatively any pain can easily be controlled using mild pain killers. Occasionally forehead swelling and tiny scabs where the new hairs are implanted are visible for a number of days however often these can be hidden by your existing hair or temporarily styled in another way to hide any evidence of surgery and of course as soon as the scabs fall away it will simply look like tiny new hairs growing through.

What happens after your hair transplant surgery?

We advise patients to take a few days off from work whilst the swelling may be apparent but you will be pleased to know that NO bandages are required. Extensive postoperative instructions are explained to you and any additional aftercare is either a clinic visit or phone call away. We will then regularly arrange post-operative reviews with you.

How long will it be before the results show?

Newly transplanted hair starts to grow from 12 to 16 weeks but will take around 6 months for the new follicles to make a significant difference within your existing hair pattern and they will continue to appear almost as long as 1 year post surgery. There is an advantage to this however – it is a natural and consistent growing period so others will not immediately suspect a procedure has taken place if you are keen to keep it quiet!

Can we help hair loss with women?

There can be many varied and complex reasons behind female hair loss such as hereditary factors, stress, hormonal changes and nutritional issues. Although not as common as men, women still suffer from hair loss and at Riverbanks we appreciate how distressing female hair thinning can be so we strive to sensitively help this you to take control of this condition. Female hair loss can be graded with the Ludwig Classification as shown below:

Women can have genetically determined hair loss while others may experience loss following illness, injury or even following a procedure such as a face lift can alter the hair line and cause small patches to be visible. By using the same surgical techniques that will help a man we can also transplant hair follicles from denser areas and some medications can also benefit females with sometimes better results than a male. Women who are experiencing an increase in hair loss when styling and shampooing or if wider gaps appear between partings. For hair which is continually thinning or developing balding patches then contact us for a consultation and assessment.

What if I am undergoing or considering gender reassignment?

Hair transplants can be very successful for men embarking upon gender re-assignment. Any hair loss caused from previous male pattern baldness can be aesthetically altered and improved by creating a natural feminine hairline and inevitably this will be an additional factor to aid your reassignment journey.

How do we assess your hair loss and recommended treatment?

There are many categories of hair loss as originally described by Dr O’Tar Norwood (and this is known as The Norwood Classification). During your consultation at Riverbanks we will help you determine how extensive your hair loss is likely to continue.

During your consultation with our specialised advisor we will suggest how many hair grafts are available for your procedure and the expected results. This result depends on a number of factors such as your present hair loss pattern and the amount and density of donor hair that you have available.

Can we help to improve old or previously performed hair transplant surgery?

Yes we can. Today hair transplant surgery can achieve natural looking results so they are undetectable, even by close friends or hair stylists. The problems was that many early hair transplant surgeries used hair plugs, large grafts or poor placement of new hairs so it will be a relief to know that patients who have had these older hair transplants can now improve or repair using a refined procedure so you can finally achieve a natural look. There is no need to suffer from an appearance which causes embarrassment and distress.

Can scars and scar tissue on the scalp or head be improved with hair transplant surgery?

Yes we can use the same surgical technique to insert new hair grafts into the scar tissue which will then grow as normal. This technique is also an effective way of covering previous plug or strip surgery scars on the back of the scalp as patients are often very aware that a shorter type hair style will display the tell-tale signs of previous hair transplant surgery. We can also improve upon a poor scar which is often caused by a poor scar closure at the time of original surgery so we can narrow and refine this which enables a patient to be flexible in terms of haircut and styling.

Whatabout non-surgical treatments?

You can find out more about hair loss medications here.