Norwood Scale – How bald are you, actually?

Organ donation has become a big part of our lives and something we are reminded of when we are inundated with images or videos. In the UK there are controversial laws on the table about organ donation and who is considered a donor. In the US, a State Driver’s License provides an area for organ donation. The organs and parts of the body which can be viably donated are liver, lungs, hearts, kidneys, pancreas, small intestines, as well as tissue which includes, bone tissue, corneas, skin, tendons, heart valves and blood vessels.

What does organ donation have to do with Hair Transplants?

As the name Hair “Transplant” implies, if you are going to have this procedure, then the transplanted hair must come from a “donor”. Unfortunately, science has not caught up with ability to have another person donate hair follicles, so we are left with using the hair on the patient’s head or other parts of the body. Donated hair from the patient’s head is the most suitable and is the part of the body which can offer the best results.

You might wonder why a person can donate a kidney or lung but not hair follicles. A lung or kidney transplant is very advanced surgery and is only done when all other options are no longer viable. There is a chance that the body might reject the donated organ, so the patient is given powerful anti-rejection medications for the rest of their lives. This could be done with hair transplants, but the risk of the medication far outweighs any benefit of a hair transplant. Unless you have a twin, receiving hair follicles from a donor is not a viable or safe option.

With a Hair Transplant, it is vital that the patient is in the best of health and that the donor area can support the hair follicle removal and transplantation. Many individuals put off having a hair transplant which sometimes can be a mistake. Having a hair transplant is an important decision and one that should not be taken lightly, although the younger you are when you have a transplant, the better the outcome. The older you get the longer it takes for your body to heal and with age comes health issue which might prevent you from having a hair transplant.

Receding hairline questions you may want to be answered

  • What is the Norwood scale?
  • What is Norwood 2?
  • How long does it take for a man to go bald?
  • What is a nw2 hairline?
  • What is a mature hairline?
  • Is it normal for your hairline to recede?
  • Why is my hairline receding?

What are my donor options for a Hair Transplant?

In a perfect “hair transplant” world, the patient would have hair loss on the top of his head, but thick and dense hair on both the sides and back. This situation provides suitable areas for the donor’s hair, while offering a natural look after the hair has been transplanted and allowed to grow. Even a small donor area can achieve natural looking results when done properly. The less than optimal condition is when the hair is thinning all around the scalp and prevents a less than suitable outcome. But hope is not lost as there are options for finding a suitable donor area on the body to treat receding hairline for instance.

Norwood Scale Examples: NW2 mature hairline

Those who rate 5 or above on the Norwood hair loss scale are not viable candidates for donor hair from their scalp. For reasons such as Androgenic Alopecia, a patient will be tested to see if any of their body hair can be used for the FUE procedure. The beard (face), chest and back can be used as a donor resource area and these options should be discussed.

A Norwood 2 (NW2 Hairline) is referred to as a “mature hairline”: the first signs of real hair loss in men. A NW2 Hairline tends to follow the basic receding hairline pattern that hair around your temples will begin to recede and fall out.

Body hair transplant (BHT)

The use of hair other than from the scalp can provide additional hair to the scalp although there will be some differences and issues. The donated hair from the areas of the body are not the same as the hair on the scalp, which is to say that they will not change their length, thickness and shape. For example, hair from the beard will not lose its shine and thickness and will seem somewhat out of place with someone who has fine scalp hair.  When combined with the hair on the scalp the body hair does not blend well with the scalp hair and must be manipulated to look natural. We know that the characteristics of body hair is very different and unfortunately when placed on the head, these will not change.

Receding hairline treatment

Another issue worth considering is that not all Hair Transplant surgeons are skilled in the body hair procedure. The use of body hair takes more skill and planning, as the surgeon must take into consideration the blending of the body hair to the scalp. This is something that must be developed and cannot be done by every surgeon. If you are looking to have a procedure using body hair, then be sure that your doctor has the experience.

The FUE and The FUE Safe System has given skilled surgeons the ability to provide a natural head of hair for most people. The use of body hair has provided those with specific conditions to become viable candidates in hair loss treatment. As with any surgery it is incumbent upon the patient to review their options and discuss them with a qualified surgeon. If the progress of hair transplants portends anything, its that the future will bring more advances in hair transplant solutions.