Those looking into hair restoration options may be considering a hair system as a possibility that offers the instant gratification of immediate concealment of their balding scalp. In spite of the dramatic before-and-after photographs on the websites of establishments specializing in hair systems, however, there are a good number of factors to weigh in your decision.
Assuming you’re doing your homework – which is presumably why you’re on our website’s blog page – you probably are already familiar with the basics of today’s hair systems. A hair system is designed to provide complete or partial coverage of the scalp. Unlike the toupee of days past, a hair system is applied semi-permanently, and is only removed for replacement or replenishing at the provider’s salon or facility. One reason a hair system may be attractive is its ability to provide a wide range of options in fullness, length and style – whereas the results of a hair transplant depend upon the amount of donor hair you have available, as well as the potential for future hair loss.
Having said that, not every hair system is the same, yet has the same potential drawbacks. Here are the questions and factors to consider.
Does the Hair System Use Human or Synthetic Hair?
Human hair, as can be expected, provides a more natural look than synthetic. Most human hair comes from China and India, and is stripped of its cuticle and dyed to match client specifications (in the case of a custom-made system). A colorfast garment dye is used, rather than salon hair color. Additional processing may be done to alter hair texture.
What is the Foundation of the Hair System?
Another factor that affects quality and price is the foundation, or base, to which the hair is attached. The base is typically lace or polyurethane. The higher the quality, the more refined the foundation – and the higher the cost. At the upper price range, the foundation will be carefully shaped to mimic a natural male hairline.
However, here is something for Floridians to consider. No matter how lightweight the hair system’s foundation, it – and the attached hair – will cover the entire scalp, or most of its surface. Given the Sunshine State’s intense summer heat, wearing a hair system attached to the top of your head by adhesive will be hot and uncomfortable if you spend any amount of time outdoors. Add the inevitable sweat that stays trapped underneath the foundation to the equation. Now, keep in mind that the hair system cannot be removed except by the provider of the service.
Is the Hair System Custom-Made or Mass-Produced?
Again, a bespoke hair system will provide a more natural appearance than a mass-produced or “stock” system that’s only adjusted for fit and trimmed for style.
What is the Cost of a Quality System, and How Long Does It Last?
Prices vary among providers for both custom and stock systems. If you’ve already conducted basic research online, you’ve probably seen that even general, “ballpark” figures are difficult to find and not particularly useful. Providers want prospective customers to schedule an appointment rather than lead you to expect a set price, which is understandable. For reasons that we hope are obvious, you should not order a hair system online.
The lifespan of a hair system is easy to determine, however. A system can last for two to six months, but most providers recommend replacing it after two to four months, before signs of wear-and-tear become obvious. For this reason, providers recommend purchasing at least two systems. In addition to needing to be replaced frequently, other regular costs include monthly maintenance and/or retightening charges.
The Advantages of a Hair Transplant Procedure
For the advantages that hair system providers claim, this solution entails ongoing expense, high maintenance and – for those living in hot climates – some amount of discomfort, especially during triple-digit summer temperatures. With a hair transplant – no matter which of several procedures is determined best for your particular case during a consultation with a hair restoration surgeon – you have your own hair, growing from your own scalp.
Unlike the extensive maintenance that a hair system involves, transplanted hair requires no special care. Our blog post – “Busting Common Hair Transplant Myths” – dispels the notion that you’ll have to “baby” your transplanted hair indefinitely. Aside from following initial post-surgical care instructions, you can shampoo, dry and style your hair as usual – as well as enjoy your favorite outdoor activities.
If the non-surgical aspect of a hair system appeals to you, a hair transplant procedure involves minimal discomfort. Local anesthesia is administered by injection, numbing the scalp. You remain awake and comfortable during the procedure. Post-surgical discomfort is readily treated by short-term prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. Depending upon the type of procedure, down-time is also minimal. While you don’t get the immediate effect of a full head of hair, once your newly transplanted hair starts to grow, it’s all yours!
One exception to the need for patience is the breakthrough No-Shave FUE. Developed by Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – this procedure immediately conceals donor areas of the scalp, allowing patients to quickly resume regular activities. The No-Shave FUE is of particular benefit for those whose job puts them in the public eye, although anyone who is a good candidate will appreciate the instantaneous aesthetic result.
For others considering a hair system, not having a complete understanding of state-of-the-art hair restoration techniques could be weighing the decision more toward this end. One common misconception is that hair restoration only involves hair transplantation. Depending upon your individual case, hair transplant surgery may be followed up with such non-surgical treatments as Finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine) to prevent or slow further loss and promote growth.
More recently, the introduction of adipose tissue and growth factor treatment has proven to be effective when administered as part of a course of treatment that includes surgery, or as a stand-alone treatment. It promotes stronger hair growth in thinning areas, improving volume and scalp coverage. Adipose (fat) tissue is a biologically active tissue that can stimulate the growth cycle of scalp hair. This therapy utilizes the stromal vascular fraction of subcutaneous adipose tissue, and the growth factors they secrete.
In other words, the treatment uses the patient’s own fat, harvested from just under the skin through a very thin liposuction cannula, with no stitches necessary. The fat is concentrated and purified in a centrifuge. It is then combined with plasma obtained from the patient’s blood, and injected into the scalp. This therapy helps repair damaged hair follicles, stimulating stronger, thicker growth. Results may be seen in three to four months, with 12 months typical to achieve the full benefit.
Our blog post – “Adipose Tissue and Growth Factors – Expanding Hair Restoration Horizons and Telling the Truth” – describes this treatment in detail, as well as Dr. Barusco’s role in its ongoing research through the STRAAND clinical trials.
Another concern may be the possibility that subsequent hair transplant surgeries will be necessary as hair loss continues. While the non-surgical treatments just mentioned are prescribed and administered to prevent or slow the progress of further hair loss, an additional transplant may be needed. However, this is a situation to be discussed with and monitored by your hair restoration surgeon.
Why You Should Consult a Hair Restoration Surgeon Before Making a Decision
Before choosing a hair restoration system over a hair transplant, schedule a consultation with a hair restoration surgeon. An ethical surgeon will conduct a thorough consultation and recommend the course of treatment appropriate for your individual situation. In fact, you may even be told that you are not a good candidate for a hair transplant. If so, this would not necessarily be a green light to get a hair system. Any recommended non-surgical treatment would require a non-covered scalp.
Dr. Barusco covers what prospective patients can expect during a consultation with him in our blog post – “The Importance of Consultation Before Hair Restoration Treatment” – as well as in his informative YouTube video – “The Importance of Consultation” – both of which explain the role of consultation in making an accurate diagnosis of the cause of hair loss and mapping a treatment plan that will achieve the optimal outcome.
Weighing the Cost of a Hair Transplant Procedure
Finally, we understand that a good deal of one’s decision may be influenced by price. As previously covered, the true cost of a hair system over the years adds up considerably – and in the end, you have nothing to show for all of the money spent.
Should you reach a point where a hair system is no longer desirable, practical or affordable, consider whether your self-image and self-confidence will be removed as the last system is peeled from your scalp. A hair transplant is permanent, even if an additional procedure may eventually be needed. Again, supplemental non-surgical treatments can help prevent or slow the progress of further hair loss. A hair transplant is an investment in yourself that can ultimately pay big dividends!
Unlike many other hair restoration practices and clinics, Tempus Hair Restoration does not have set-fee procedures or pricing per number of hair grafts. Our approach is to treat each client as an individual, taking into account such factors as the following:
- Your specific type of hair loss
- Amount of current and projected hair loss
- Complexity of procedure
- Ethnic background (which affects hair texture and growth patterns)
- Medical history/pre-existing conditions
- Desired aesthetic result
- Additional relevant circumstances, depending upon your individual situation
Once Dr. Barusco has made a diagnosis and treatment plan, our patient educator discusses next steps, including pricing and financing options. We offer qualified clients third-party 12-month interest-free financing — as well as low-interest 60-month financing. A hair restoration procedure by world-renowned surgeon Dr. Barusco can be within reach.
Learn the Facts, and Choose Your Surgeon Wisely
Ultimately, choose your surgeon based on experience, results and integrity. Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice. Contact us to schedule your free virtual consultation. Dr. Barusco conducts every consultation himself, giving you the opportunity to learn your options in the comfort of your home – or any location, on any internet-enabled device.
Dr. Barusco conducts consultations in English, Spanish and Portuguese. For your greater convenience, Tempus Hair Restoration offers a two-night complimentary hotel stay to out-of-town clients who travel 100 miles or more to our Port Orange, Florida, surgical center. No matter how far the distance, we welcome the opportunity to help you on your hair restoration journey!