Alopecia (or hair loss), can occur for any number of reasons, but androgenic alopecia is the most common for both sexes. For men, this is when the hairline begins to recede at the forehead and the side temporal regions. It can also include the crown and increases as time goes on. Women too can suffer loss at the front of the hairline and a thinning of hair all over the scalp.
There are other reasons for alopecia. This includes illnesses such as anaemia (low iron levels), protein deficiency and thyroid problems. Chemotherapy is also a recognised cause of hair loss. Some medications can also cause hair loss. Alopecia areata, where patches of hair loss form, is caused by the individual’s autoimmune system attacking hair follicles. Excessive stress (whether emotional or physical) can result in a form of alopecia called telogen effluvium. This is where stress stops the hair from growing and it then falls out several months later.
With androgenic alopecia it’s possible, with surgery, to restore the frontal hairline, as well as thickness in the crown. This is achieved via hair transplanting using follicles from the back of the head between the ears. The technique, known as FUE (follicular unit extraction), is performed under local anaesthetic and involves individually transplanting hair grafts. Discomfort is kept to a minimum and the patient takes oral pain medication for up to a week afterwards.