Do hair transplants improve physical and mental health and are they thus a medical necessity and not merely a cosmetic procedure?

Keywords | Summary | Correspondence | References


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Introduction. Hair is perceived as an essential part of our appearance, reflective our personalities. Hence, it is not surprising that numerous studies have shown a negative impact of hair loss on the well-being and quality of life of patients. Furthermore, a correlation with mental health issues such as low self-worth and depression have been observed. Whether these symptoms improve after hair restoration procedures, is currently poorly researched. Objective. This study was performed to investigate the impact of hair restoration on mental health issues (such as low self- worth and symptoms of depression), and on the overall quality of life in hair loss patients. Materials and Methods. This retrospective cohort-two-center study investigated 150 patients who suffered from androgenetic alopecia and who underwent hair transplantation surgery between 9 and 36 months before inclusion. 200 age- and gender-matched patients who had not yet undergone hair restoration surgery served as control. All patients were asked to complete three questionnaires: (1) a questionnaire designed by the author, which collected demographic data as well as hair-specific perceptions; (2) AQoL-8D, a standardized quality of life questionnaire in 8 dimensions; (3) BDI-II (Beck Depression Inventory-II, another standardized questionnaire for the assessment of symptoms of depression and their severity. Results and Discussion. (1) There was no significant difference in age- and gender distribution between pre- and postoperative group: mean age 37.0 ± 12.1 years and 88.7% male versus 36.9 ± 11.8 years and 88,5 % male. (2) 96.6% of patients indicated that hair transplantation had positively affected their life, and 97.7% would undergo surgery again (n = 213). (3) The AQOL-8D values for all eight dimensions were significantly higher (p < 0,001) for the pre-surgery group (n = 188) as compared to the post-surgery group (n = 129). (4) The BDI-II results also showed statistically significant differences between pre- and postoperative patients with a mean score of 9.58 ± 9.45 in the former and an average score of 3.31 ± 5.33 in the latter group. Clinically relevant depression as defined as a BDI-II score of > 20 was present in 18.2% of the preoperative and 2.4% of the postoperative patients. Conclusion. Successful hair transplantation has a significant positive impact on mental health parameters and can improve the well-being and overall quality of life of hair loss patients. It should therefore be deemed a medically necessary treatment of relevance to health as opposed to a merely cosmetic procedure.


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Address of Correspondence

Dr. Bruce Reith, MD, PhD
Medical Director Medical Hair & Esthetics Munich
and Haarzentrum der Bodenseeklink, (Lindau, Germany)
Brunnstraße 11
DE-80331 München

Conflict of Interests

No conflicts.


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