While baldness might add to the charm of some people's personality (remember Patrick Stewart from Star trek: The Next Generation), most people see it as a spoiler of looks. Nowadays, some hair loss medications like Rogaine and Propecia have been approved by the FDA. However, these medicines have their side effects and do not offer a permanent solution for hair loss problems. Hair restoration and replacement is also made possible by some other procedures, surgery being the leading one of them.
Some twenty years ago, majority of the people thought of surgery as a highly risky way of hair loss replacement. Today, the view is totally different. Surgery for replacing lost hair has become an accepted means of achieving results among balding people. Surgeons are able to produce a more natural-looking hairline by cutting small slits or holes in the scalp with scalpels. These slits are meant to receive transplanted hair. Hair restoration surgeries are of different types. Broadly they are of two types: transplantation and scalp reduction.
Transplantation is basically the shifting of hair from thickly hair-grown spots to areas on the head that are bald. Transplanting is more effective in case of men than women because women usually do not have good sites for transplanting hair on the sides of the head or on the back. This is the result of diffuse hair loss rather than pattern balding as observed in men.
There has been a more recent, major improvement in hair transplantation viz. micro or mini grafts. This involves shooting one or two hairs into the head with a needle, though a lot of hair is needed to do this. Surgeons can now use larger round plugs consisting of 7 to 10 hairs and sometimes they choose line grafts of nine to twelve hairs.
It is worth remembering that using prosthetic hair fibers for the purpose of transplantation has been banned by the FDA. This is because a number of adverse reactions might result from using them.
The second mechanism for hair loss replacement is scalp reduction, which includes the removal of large portions of bald scalp via surgery. This has particularly been used for treating male pattern baldness. Special elastic devices, called extenders and expanders, are used to complement scalp reduction surgery.
Another surgical method used these days for replacing hair is known as the flap technique. It involves rotating hair-rich areas on the scalp from the sides or moving them from the back to the front. This mechanism, however, has the highest rate of complication, including effects like bleeding, scarring, and infection.