For most of us, our hair plays a large role in our self-esteem. Many people find that having full hair helps them feel younger and more confident.
It’s not uncommon for transgender or non-binary individuals to consider a hair transplant for a number of reasons. First, they may have thinning or balding from underlying pattern hair loss (which is common in all individuals) or related to certain hormone therapies such as testosterone. They may also want to have their hair line match their gender identity. For example, we have had many transgender females want to round the corners of their hair line for a more traditionally feminine appearance. Hair transplant can also be performed in those transitioning from female to male to create a more traditionally masculine hair line. This can help reframe the face and make the hair and face appear more congruent with an individual’s gender identity. For non-binary individuals, they may have goals related to their hair line or hair to make them feel most like themselves.
If you are considering having facial plastic surgery especially with a potential to create scar tissue on the forehead or scalp and a hair transplant, then the ideal order to do the procedures would be to do the facial surgery first and then the hair transplant. The reason for this is that if you end up with scar tissue in the scalp or at the hairline from the facial surgery, you can then help camouflage some of the scar tissue with the hair transplant.
If you are considering a hair transplant, read on to learn more and consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced hair restoration surgeon.
What Causes Balding?
As we discussed, one common reason for individuals of all genders to undergo hair transplant surgery is for thinning or balding hair, so let’s discuss why balding occurs.
In most circumstances, balding is caused by a combination of genetics and hormones. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone produced by the body that can cause hair follicles to shrink down which can lead to thinning strands and eventually can lead to complete balding in some individuals.
Cis men often have higher levels of DHT than cis women that contribute to male pattern balding.
Transgender women may still have DHT as a driving factor of their hair loss. Medications that block the production of DHT such as finasteride are often used in these indivudals for their hair and for other hormonal reasons. This is also a reason why many transgender women choose to have hair transplant surgery to address thinning or balding they are experiencing.
Transgender men may also have similar issues especially if they are undergoing hormonal therapy with testosterone. Increased testosterone can lead to increased DHT which can increase thinning or balding.
As discussed above, medications and hair transplant surgery can be considered to both address thinning or balding and/or to change the shape of the hair line.
Understanding Hair Transplant Surgery
There are two primary types of hair transplant surgery: FUT and FUE. These terms stand for “follicular unit transplantation” and “follicular unit extraction.” The key difference in these two types of procedures is how the hair follicles are taken out.
During a FUT procedure, the hair restoration surgeon will remove a thin strip of scalp from the sides and back of the head. The area where the hair was taken from is then sutured back together for optimal headling. The strip of tissue is then dissected into individual follicular units (also called grafts).
In an FUE treatment, individual follicular units are taken from the back and sides of the scalp one by one using a handheld punch device. FUE is less invasive. It creates pinpoint dot scars rather than a linear scar.
In both procedures, small incisions (called sites) are made in the areas where increased hair density is desired, and the individual grafts are then placed into these sites one by one.
Whichever procedure you choose, both treatments can be highly effective in giving you a full head of hair with natural-looking results. However, you will need to work with a reputable surgeon.
Transgender Hair Transplant Benefits
There are many benefits associated with getting a hair transplant for transgender or non-binary individuals. These will vary from person to person, but this procedure can potentially increase quality of life in a number of ways.
Let’s explore some of the most notable.
One of the primary benefits of having a hair transplant can be improved confidence. This increased confidence can be from having a hair line that better matches the desired appearance or from addressing any thinning or balding. Hair loss can often affect an individual’s self-esteem and addressing it can often boost an individual’s confidence.
More Gender-Congruent Appearance
Having a hair line that matches an individual’s identity, gender, and self expression, can help individuals feel more comfortable and confident in themselves and in interacting with others. This can often also give individuals more options in how they style their hair.
One of the benefits of hair transplant is natural-appearing results with modern techniques. The new hair is taken usually from an individual’s own scalp and should be placed in a way to blend naturally with existing hair.
It is important to find a hair restoration surgeon who is dedicated to having natural results and has the experience needed.
It is also important to discuss your goals with your surgeon, so that you and the surgeon can agree on a plan that will look natural in your case.
Care For Before and After
If you are interested in getting a hair transplant procedure, it is important to schedule a consultation with a hair restoration surgeon. During this consultation your surgeon will discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure. You should also make sure you understand all of the pre and post procedure care to make sure that you get the best results possible from your procedure. It’s important that you follow all of the instructions of your physician before and after the surgery to ensure the best possible results. This will likely includes limitation on smoking, drinking alcohol, sun exposure, exercise, caffeine, and certain medications before and after your procedure.
You won’t see results right away. The newly transplanted hair will start to grow in around 6-12 months after the surgery. After 12-15 months, you can expect to see the full results from the procedure.
Hair transplants are not appropriate in everyone. You should always consult with a hair restoraiton surgeon to determine the type of hair loss you have (if applicable), your goals, and allow them to examine your hair to determine if you are an appropriate hair transplant candidate and if other maintenance therapies need to be considered.
In general, prices vary depending on the number of grafts needed, type of procedure, and experience of the surgeon. The best way to find out the price for you at a certain clinic you are interested in is to have a consultation.
Many clinics, such as Root Hair Institute, offer financing options for hair transplants.
Finding the Right Clinic
It’s crucial to find a reputable and experienced clinic for your hair transplant.
A good way to start is by asking friends or family who had transplants in the past. You can also do research online to find reviews of local clinics.
Ultimately, it is important to meet the hair restoration surgeon at a consultation prior to having the surgery to make sure that you are in agreement in terms of your surgical plan and maintenance therapy if applicable. You should feel comfortable with the surgeon and team prior to undergoing surgery.
Take Action Today
Many people are indecisive about getting a hair transplant. However, booking a session could significantly improve your quality of life. If you think you want to potentially proceed with a hair transplant, it is important to schedule a consultation to determine if you are a good candidate and if so allow the surgeon to come up with a custom plan for your case.
If you are interested in having a hair transplant at Root Hair Institute in the Greater Seattle area, feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.