How Does DHT Affect Hair Transplants?

March 4, 2017 — by Robert True
Tags: Hair Transplants Hair Loss

A man's full head of hairHair loss can leave patients unhappy about their appearance and impact their self-confidence. Hair loss treatment can restore thinning hair to its former fullness, helping to renew confidence and boost self-esteem. There are many possible factors that contribute to hair loss. One we will focus on today is the hormone DHT and how it may impact hair transplant treatments. If you have further questions about hair transplants and DHT please contact New York hair restoration doctors Robert J. Dorin and Robert H. True.

What Is DHT?

DHT, which stands for dihydrotestosterone, is derived from testosterone and is held in the oil glands of hair follicles. DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink, which may contribute to hair loss. Suppressing DHT has been shown to prevent hair loss and allow hair follicles to grow.

DHT and Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is a common cause of hair loss in men and is recognized by a receding hairline or thinning crown. Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition related to DHT sensitivity. When hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, they will begin to shrink. Over time, this shrinkage can cause hair follicles to stop producing healthy looking hair or no hair at all. 

How Does DHT Affect Hair Transplants?

Hair transplants are performed by taking hair from one part of the scalp and surgically placing it into areas of baldness. In order for a hair transplant to be successful, the harvested hair must come from a DHT resistant area, typically the back of the head. For most men with male pattern baldness, the sides and lower portions of the scalp are not affected by DHT, so this hair may be used to repopulate bald areas. Men, and women, who suffer from diffuse hair loss, or hair loss distributed across the entire scalp, may not benefit from hair transplants, as DHT sensitivity likely affects the whole scalp.

Hair Transplant Procedures

Men with male pattern baldness often have sufficient amounts of DHT resistant hair along the sides and back of their heads. Through a hair transplant, this DHT resistant hair may be used to fill in bald areas and restore the hairline. There are two different types of hair transplant procedures. These include:

  • Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT): With FUT, a strip of hair is harvested from the side and back of the head. This strip of hair is then separated into follicular unit skin grafts. These tiny grafts are then transplanted into the scalp in thinning areas, where the newly grafted hair will permanently grow.
  • Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE): FUE is less invasive than FUT treatment. Rather than remove a full strip of skin from the scalp, individual follicular units are removed and transplanted where hair is thinning or lost. Unlike FUT treatment, the FUE procedure does not require stitches.

Is Hair Transplant Treatment Right for You?

It is best to meet with a hair transplant doctor to determine which treatment is right for your needs. If you would like more information about hair transplant treatment, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.