Background: Over the last decade surgical management of hair loss has become an increasingly popular and satisfying procedure for both men and women, as innovations in donor harvesting, graft size, and hairline design have resulted in consistently natural-appearing hair restoration.
Objective: In addition, a better understanding of the regulation of the hair-growth cycle has led to advances in the pharmacologic treatment of androgenetic alopecia.
Methods: Currently there are two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved agents that promote hair regrowth: over-the-counter topical minoxidil solution for men and women and prescription oral finasteride tablets for men. In October 2001, a group of 11 international experts on hair loss and hair transplantation convened to review the physiology and effects of pharmacologic treatments of hair loss and to discuss the value of administering topical minoxidil therapy as an adjunct to hair transplantation.
Results: This article presents the key findings and consensus points among the participants, including their current use of pharmacologic treatments, strategies for optimal results both pre- and postsurgery, and the importance of realistic patient expectations and compliance.
Conclusions: Based on the surgeons' clinical experience, the use of approved hair regrowth agents in hair transplant patients with viable but suboptimally functioning follicles in the region to be transplanted can increase hair density, speed regrowth in transplanted follicles, and complement the surgical result by slowing down or stopping further hair loss.