What were the results of your hairtransplant like?
November 7, 2009 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever had a hair transplant procedure to treat male pattern baldness? The last time someone asked about this here in Ask Metafilter, everyone said, "Don't get plugs! Shave your head!", but there were no testimonials from guys who had actually experienced the surgery. If you've had the surgery, when did you have it, what sort of procedure did you have done, were the results reasonably natural, and would you recommend it?

I'm a guy in my early 30s, whose hairline is starting to recede. I know the most popular opinion is that I should shave my head, but I'd just like to know if anyone has gone the other way, and what their thoughts are on the matter.

Throwaway email: donttellmetoshaveit@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I worked with a guy who got plugs. I actuality, they removed a strip of his scalp in the center and stitched it together. They did that several times, then did plugs. It looked fairly natural, but it did have a definite pattern in places such that he himself called it "Barbie hair". However, I saw a picture of him taken when he was in his twenties and he looked like he was in his 40's. He looked much better with the treatment and his head would not look right shaved.
posted by plinth at 1:21 PM on November 7, 2009

There is a guy at work who had something like this done. At first (for about three years, actually) the rest of us quietly discussed the animal that had died and become adhered to his head. However, by the end of year three, it started looking pretty good and natural, and now it's helping a lot with his post-divorce social life.

So.. done right, it can work really well, but the intermediate period is quite bad.
posted by rr at 1:50 PM on November 7, 2009

No personal experience. But this 2004 article from Wired is one I remember and which you might find interesting.
posted by rongorongo at 3:17 PM on November 7, 2009

My boss did the thing where they take a strip of hair then sew those in on the bald parts...not sure what it's called. It looks natural to me. It's not as full as regular hair, but it looks like he's thinning naturally, not that he lost it all and had some put back.
posted by radioamy at 3:51 PM on November 7, 2009

I know this doesn't answer your exact question, but hair transplants are not your only option- Propecia (finasteride) works for hair loss, and the generic version is dirt cheap (with my insurance, $10 for a month's worth of pills that I split into fourths, thereby lasting me four months, versus $60 a month for propecia). Ten bucks a month for as long as you need to have your hair is a lot cheaper and looks natural, versus a hair transplant which is always obvious.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 4:22 PM on November 7, 2009

It's one of those things that you only notice if it's done badly; therefore, you never "see" any good ones. It's easy to assume they are all bad.

A coworker had some real Barbie Plug Hair after his first transplant. Eventually he had another surgeon do some smaller hairs and it looks pretty good now. If I hadn't seen it during the bad stage, I probably wouldn't notice it at all.
posted by 26.2 at 4:28 PM on November 7, 2009

There is a transplant technique that involves the extraction and implantation of individual hair groups or grafts. This procedure not only recreates a more natural look than the strip technique, it is also less invasive (doesn't require stitching and doesn't leave a scar). Although, I imagine that this procedure is more expensive than others because is time and labour intensive.

I've recently started working as a casual assistant at a clinic where this technique is practiced. I'm no expert in these matters so I can't vouch for its effectiveness and I don't even know exactly how much it costs. This technique seems fairly effective when performed to correct small irregularities (uneven sideburns for example). However, if I faced hair loss I wouldn't be bothered, I would either put up with it or shave everything.
posted by quosimosaur at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2009

I had a neighbor who did it, and I was surprised at how good it looked. However, it really didn't make a huge impact on his appearance -- he was a good-looking guy and other than a receeding hairline he had thick black hair; I always thought he would have looked better if he just shaved it.
posted by davejay at 5:16 PM on November 7, 2009

If you still have hair, finasteride might be a better solution in the short term. Several of my male friends are on it. It noticeably slows the process of hair loss and that process where the hair gets kind of fluffy and kinky before it drops out.
posted by twistofrhyme at 7:55 PM on November 7, 2009

I'm not anon so I can't pretend to know what followup questions they might want to ask, but as someone genuinely interested in the various "plug" options, what are the surgical procedures called (so that I may google)? You seem to be talking about different kinds, and I've read somewhere about laser therapy - what's most commonly used and what works?

sorry for piggy-backing on your question anonymous but I have a friend sans account who is reading this thread, hope you don't mind.
posted by dabitch at 7:50 AM on November 8, 2009

The one thing I've never heard discussed when it comes to hair transplants -- and that people rarely think about -- is that you continue to lose your hair. The result after a few years is always more hair transplants to cover up the newly bald spots, or a field of transplants that become more obvious as the hair around them disappears.
posted by Work to Live at 12:47 PM on November 8, 2009

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