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What is Hair Replacement?

L. Hepfer
L. Hepfer

Hair replacement is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. With most people attempting to stay younger looking every day, hair replacement is usually considered when someone finds their hair starting to thin. It is a solution that is simple to find but not necessarily easy to experience.

Baldness generally comes from a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. When testosterone converts into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) within the body, it becomes the hormone that causes hereditary baldness. Medications can be used in advance to stop the process from beginning.

A man starting to lose his hair.
A man starting to lose his hair.

More men are prone to becoming bald than women. Often, when people realize they are beginning to lose their hair and are looking older because of it, they want to do something about it. Hair replacement can be achieved through three different methods. These methods involve using medications, surgical procedures or covering the bald spot with hairpieces or wigs. The route a person chooses will probably depend on the degree of baldness they have.

Wigs have be used for centuries.
Wigs have be used for centuries.

Hair pieces and wigs have been around for centuries. This method of hair replacement dates back to the days of Caesar when he wore fig leaves on his head as a decoration to avoid looking bald. Hairpieces and wigs can be bought and fitted to a person's head so that they look natural. They are often worn by cancer patients who temporarily lose their hair through medical treatments.

Another method of hair replacement, and a more popular first option, is medication. There are different medications on the market available to someone who is interested in regrowing their hair. These medications are used to thicken areas that have thinned out.

At one point in time, Rogaine® was the only medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of hair replacement. Rogaine® can now be purchased without a prescription. After a few more years of research, more medications were discovered.

Propecia® and Avodart® are two more examples of medications. Propecia® and Avodart® both work to regrow and thicken the hair on a person's scalp. All of these medications are used as a lotion to promote the regrowth of hair and prevent the hair from falling out. Just as it takes time for hair to thin out, it takes time to thicken and regrow.

The most drastic and expensive route to go in hair replacement is through surgical procedures. Surgical procedures are only considered for those with healthy hair still growing on the sides and back of the head. There are four different surgical procedures to consider when taking this route.

Hair transplants are one way of surgically replacing lost hair. Small pieces of scalp are grafted from the back and sides of the head where hair still grows. The pieces that are grafted are then relocated to grow hair on the bald spots.

A second surgical choice would be tissue expansion. In this procedure, a device is placed under the skin where hair grows next to a bald area. That particular area of skin then grows new skin cells. A second surgery is required to remove the new skin cells and attach them to the bald area.

Another surgical option in hair replacement would be flap surgery. Flap surgery is often recommended to cover large bald areas. In this surgical procedure a portion of the bald area is removed and replaced with a flap of hair-bearing skin. The hair-bearing skin is still connected to its original blood supply, encouraging the hair to continue to grow.

The fourth choice for those considering a surgical procedure is a scalp reduction. In a scalp reduction, the surgeon removes the bald scalp by sections. The surgeon then pulls the scalp together to cover and fill in the bald area with an area of the scalp that still has hair growing on it.

People must to carefully decide which hair replacement choice is right for them. Time and money can be well spent in hair replacement with great results when careful consideration is involved and thorough research is done.

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Discussion Comments


@cmsmith10: When you start talking about hair replacement, cost is definitely an issue. The price can go into the thousands. The cheapest route to go is to try something like Rogaine first and just see if it works. Rogaine is usually around $50. You can also talk to your doctor about some of the medications for hair loss, as mentioned in the article.

If those methods do not work for your husband, you can consider the surgical procedure. From the research that I have done on it, the average cost is between $4000 and $5000. However, many of the clinics that offer this service also offer a payment plan. You can usually get a very reasonable payment fixed over a certain number of months.


My husband is very self-conscious about his bald spot on top of his head. He has hair on the sides but on the top, it is pretty much bald. We have considered hair replacement. I am not sure which route to go for him. Some people have suggested Rogaine and others have suggested the surgical procedure.

Without knowing the cost of hair replacement, we have no idea what to try. Does anyone have any suggestions on where we should start?

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    • A man starting to lose his hair.
      By: Jasmin Merdan
      A man starting to lose his hair.
    • Wigs have be used for centuries.
      By: Brian Jackson
      Wigs have be used for centuries.