When menopause hits, women are often ready to experience hot flashes and mood swings, but few expect to find themselves losing hair. The fact is that women can experience hair loss during menopause. Harvard Women’s Health Watch puts the rate of female pattern hair loss at as much as 33 percent.
If you are dealing with female pattern baldness after the onset of menopause, you don’t have to hide or submit to wearing a wig for the rest of your life. There are excellent options for hair restoration in women available to you.However, for surgery to work, the area that needs to be covered has to be nearly bald and stable. Surgery, itself, will not stop further hair loss. Dr. Kabaker prefers to operate on women who have had no change in their hair pattern for many years or who have always had a high hairline without any hair loss.
Women do not show signs of balding in the same manner as men. Many women lose hair in the sides and top of the scalp. If the hair loss is close to the forehead, a hairline advancement helps pull the hairline back down to a more feminine location.
The type of hairline advancement you have depends on the laxity in your scalp. If there is good laxity, the hair restoration surgeon is able to make an incision, trim away the skin that lacks healthy follicles, and pull down the scalp to move it to a lower point. The incision is then closed.
If there is not enough laxity, the skin on the scalp must be stretched prior to the hairline advancement. With an expansion-assisted hairline advancement, a balloon expander is placed under the scalp. Saline solution is added to the expander over time to help stretch the scalp. This process takes four to eight weeks to complete. Once the skin is stretched, the balloon expander is removed and the hairline advancement surgery takes place. Using the balloon expander, hairlines can be shifted up to eight centimeters lower.
Following a hairline advancement, one of the most common complaints is a reduction in sensation on the forehead. It takes about six months for this complaint to clear up.
Hair transplants are not a viable option for every woman, but it’s worth talking to a hair restoration surgeon if you are experiencing balding along your natural part. With a hair graft, healthy follicles are harvested from other areas of your head and transplanted to the areas where balding is prominent.
During a hair transplant, you undergo local anesthesia and a mild sedative to help you relax. Surgery takes anywhere from three to seven hours, during which time your hair restoration surgeon removes a strip of healthy, hair-bearing scalp from the donor area, dissects it into small grafts, and then transplants them into tiny incisions in the area where hair growth is desired.
At the end of the surgery, bandages are applied to the harvest area. That bandage is removed later that night. No bandage is needed on the top of the head. You may want to bring a hat to hide evidence of the surgery while you go home.
It takes a day before you can gently shampoo the hair. By the third day, you can go back to your usual hairstyling routine. Stitches are removed at the 11- to 14-day mark.
Don’t let hair loss linked to menopause keep you from social activities. Talk to Dr. Sheldon Kabaker about your best option for hair restoration. View his collection of hairline lowering patient photographs in order to see exactly what his surgical skill can do to correct female balding. When you’re ready to learn more, schedule a consultation in Dr. Kabaker’s Oakland office by calling (800) 914-HAIR or (800) 400-7700.