In the beginning, if you start to lose your hair, you may have looked into surgery to support you in maintaining as much of your hair as possible. You can have scalp reduction surgery called alopecia reduction (AR). This surgery removes parts of your scalp that have lost hair and replaces them with skin that has active, growing hair follicles.
If you have hair loss, scalp surgery is one of the oldest ways to treat it. It has been used since the mid-1970s. When male pattern baldness caused hair loss, scalp reduction was one of the best surgical procedures for treating it. It isn’t trendy now. Instead, most men who have lost their hair choose to use more modern methods, like hair transplant surgery, to get their hair back.
However, scalp reduction surgery still has some benefits that may be worth it if you lose your hair. This is scalp reduction and how it works for you as a patient. We’ve also talked about the basics of how the surgery works. We’ve also discussed the main benefits and drawbacks of scalp reduction surgery and other surgical procedures and medications that help men with male pattern baldness get their hair back again.
The Basics of Scalp Reduction Surgery
- It was one of the first standard surgical procedures to help people with hair loss. Scalp reduction surgery, now called alopecia reduction, was one of them. It was trendy in the past, but now most people use more modern methods.
- Scalp reduction surgery usually works best when done simultaneously with hair transplant surgery.
- Many things can limit how much of your scalp can be removed, like how supple your skin is and how much skin stretching might happen after the surgery.
- Not everyone is a good candidate for scalp surgery because not everyone has hair on their scalp.
- A Norwood grade 7 pattern, for example, means you have very little hair on the back and sides of your scalp. If this is the case for you, scalp reduction surgery may not suit you.
- Other ways to treat hair loss are available. If your hair loss isn’t terrible, you can use medicines like finasteride and minoxidil to keep your hair and stop it from getting thinner.
What Is Scalp Reduction Surgery, and How Does It Work?
Scalp reduction surgery is a surgery that helps people get their hair back. It involves cutting away the parts of your scalp where you have a lot of hair loss surgically, then stretching the details of your scalp with a lot of dense, thick hair to cover the regions that were cut away. The procedure covers the bald parts of your scalp with the hair-bearing skin on the sides of your head. Even though this doesn’t make more hairs grow on your scalp, it makes your hair look fuller and thicker.
In contrast to modern hair restoration methods, scalp reduction is an ancient procedure. It was first made in 1977, and it was used as a treatment for a lot of hair loss in the late 70s, 80s, and 90s. As we said before, scalp surgery isn’t for everyone. Most men over 40 who have Norwood Grade 4, 5, or 6 hair loss should use this. For men who have stable hair loss and a lot of dense hair on the scalp’s sides.
How the Scalp Reduction Method Works
A lot of different things can be done to cut down on the size of your scalp. It’s the most common to have skin removed from parts of the scalp that are affected by male pattern hair loss. This can be done in an ellipse, three-way (also known as “rocket ship”) pattern, or an S-shaped or M-shaped pattern. Your doctor will choose the best incision type in scalp reduction surgery based on your hair loss pattern, scalp laxity (how tight or loose your skin feels), and other things.
The operation’s goal is to eliminate as much of the hairless scalp as possible while protecting and preserving the skin that grows hair. The surgical wound is closed to cover the hair loss areas after surgery. This makes the appearance of a fuller, thicker head of hair. People sometimes have scalp reduction surgery with other surgery, like hair transplant surgery. Transplanting hair can help you get more coverage and thicker hair in some parts of your scalp.
Scalp Reduction Surgery has a lot of benefits
Scalp reduction surgery has a lot of benefits. The biggest one is that it can make men with a lot of hair loss look like they have a total loss of hair. As long as it’s done right, a scalp reduction can often produce a convincing and appealing result. As a second benefit, the hair used to cover up the bald spot on the scalp comes from both sides and behind.
This hair is more resistant to DHT, which is the hormone that causes male pattern baldness. It’s also less likely to fall out in the future, making it less likely to happen. From a surgeon’s point of view, most scalp reduction procedures are easy to do and have a good level of safety. These benefits made scalp reduction surgery a popular way to treat hair loss before more modern methods.
Scalp Reduction Surgery Has Several Drawbacks
Scalp surgery was prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. However, it became less popular as newer, better surgical methods were found to help people with hair loss. Scalp reduction surgery has become less popular over the last few decades because it has a long list of nasty things. These include:
An unusual shape to the area that is still bald
Over time, the shape of the area treated with scalp reduction surgery can become very irregular. This can make the room look unnatural and make it hard to hide.
People who have scalp reduction surgery use stretch-back when the scalp’s hair-bearing skin gets more prominent over time. Around the incision made during surgery, this can happen Stretch-back after scalp surgery can be very bad, sometimes affecting up to 50% of the area covered by hair-bearing skin. People who have an incision on their scalp can have a sizable hairless area on their scalp.
People who have scalp reduction surgery have to deal with scarring because they have to cut away parts of their scalp surgically. Under your hair, most of the time, scalp reduction surgery scars can be hidden from most people. On the other hand, some patients have visible scarring that can be seen, especially if their hair is short or light in color.
Ongoing hair loss
Scalp reduction surgery can help cover up areas of hair loss, but it doesn’t stop hair from falling out. If you have male pattern baldness, you may lose more hair even after the surgery. This is why. If your baldness worsens after surgery, the scars from the scalp reduction procedure might show up.
Complications during surgery
It’s possible to have problems with scalp reduction surgery, just like with other types of surgery. Many of the problems after surgery can be caused by bleeding, infection, and problems with the wound that was left behind not closing or healing correctly.
Do You Need Scalp Reduction Surgery?
Scalp surgery used to be a popular way to treat hair loss, but now it’s less common because of its less-than-ideal results and the risk of scarring. Instead, most people who want surgery to treat hair loss use hair transplantation surgery, which harvests hairs and moves them to areas with a lot of hair loss.
Also, FDA-approved medications like finasteride and minoxidil can slow down or stop hair loss, letting you control male pattern baldness and keep your hair as you get older. Hair transplantation is one way to do this.