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Why do I need medical therapy if I’m having a hair transplant?

Note: Medically reviewed by Dr. Audrey Bauer

Getting a hair transplant without addressing ongoing maintenance with medical therapy is like adding water to a bucket without bothering to plug up leaks. While your transplant is effective at replacing the hair you have already lost, hair loss is a progressive condition, and a transplant will not stop ongoing hair loss. Medical therapy preserves the hair you have right now, resulting in less thinning and receding over the coming years and also preserves the quality of your donor area, meaning you’ll have more donor hair available in the future if you decide to have another procedure. All patients should consistently use at least one method of hair maintenance, but the more you use, the better your results.

There are three FDA approved medications that scientific data has shown to be effective in reducing hair loss from androgenetic alopecia.

Finasteride works to block the formation of DHT, the primary hormone responsible for androgenetic alopecia. It is known to be effective for approximately 95% of patients and is well tolerated and affordable. Used once per day, finasteride has been clinically proven to reduce or stop hair loss. It’s “cousin” dutasteride uses the same mechanism of action, but it cannot be used by women who are pregnant or could become pregnant.

Minoxidil works to lengthen the growth phase of the hair cycle and increase follicle diameter. Used once or twice per day, it has been shown to decrease hair shedding and thinning. It has minimal side effects, is very affordable and is available over the counter as a topical or by prescription as an oral tablet. It is safe for both men and women to use.

If using pharmaceuticals is not the method you want to try, there is also the option of Low-Level Laser Therapy: The Revitalizer Flex laser light cap can be worn 8 minutes daily or 30 minutes 3x per week. Photo biomodulation of the follicle lengthens the growth phase of the hair follicle and reduces or stops loss without the use of drugs or chemicals.

However, it’s very important to understand that none of these therapies are designed to grow new hair. There are currently no therapies that will effectively grow back follicles that have already been lost. These therapies are meant to maintain the hair you have and improve its quality. So, if you take them for 1, 2 or 5 years and still look exactly the same, they are working as intended.

The life cycle of the human hair takes 2-5 years to complete. So, any changes that you see with regard to individual hairs getting thicker will take at least 3-9 months to occur, and studies show that peak results are reached in about 2 years. Patience is necessary but good things come to those who wait!

Bosley Dr. Bauer
Audrey G. Bauer, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Bosley Denver

What to do next?

To learn more about your hair restoration options and the average hair transplant timeline, The Complete Book on Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look. If you’re ready to do something about that bald spot or thinning hair now, schedule a FREE in-person or video consultation with a trained Bosley hair restoration specialist. Together with a Bosley Physician, we can help you find out what’s causing your balding and what treatment solution is right for you.

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