Hair Loss Diagnosis

In this video, Dr. Alan Feller of Feller & Bloxham Medical discusses how hair loss is diagnosed and why it is important to have a qualified hair transplant doctor evaluate your scalp in person.

Look at the Norwood Classification Chart

Perhaps one of the easiest medical conditions to diagnosis is Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). All one need do is look at where the hair is thinning and compare to the classification chart created by Norwood. While there are many medical causes of thinning and balding, none will distribute itself quite like MPB and an experienced hair restoration surgery can usually tell the difference quite easily.


Another thing the hair transplant doctor looks for is actual thinning of the caliber of each individual hair strand. Some doctors employ microscopes to do this. It looks fancy and official, but it’s not really needed. Over the past 24 years we have found the “comb-hold” test works far more reliably and easily. We simply take a standard comb and slide it into the hair. If the comb falls out despite multiple attempts to make it stay then a discussion about medical or surgical treatment is warranted.


A major factor that all hair restoration surgeons must take into account when diagnosis hair loss is age. While every textbook notes that hair loss steadily increases with age, interviews with thousands of our own patients suggests that this increase is not linear, but rather in stages. This is why patients who had noticed a steady loss over years may all of a sudden experience a massive amount of loss in just one or two months. This acceleration may be due to a life even causing significant stress, but more often than not it just seems to happen normally.

So you are experiencing hair loss and want to know the chances that it will continue:

Norwood’s study covers this scientifically:

Hair loss may occur at any age but the earliest stage at which surgical hair restoration may justifiably be employed is at the Type 3 level.

In terms of age- type 3 level hair loss is more common in men 40 and over. Happily, Norwood’s study indicated that only 10% of patients age 39 or under experience the Type 3 level of hair loss; and no male in the study demonstrated this level of hair aged 20 or under. Another semi-happy finding is that of those patients experiencing Type 3 hair loss at any age less than 50% went on to develop Type 3 Vertex loss (unless past 80 years of age).

Here is the distribution by age of those patients who experienced Type 4 and Type 5 levels of hair loss:

A final bit of good news we want to relate here is that thanks to modern hair transplant techniques performed in the offices of experienced and responsible clinics up to 70% of men diagnosed with MPB should be able to receive cosmetically significant treatment for any bald area that might develop. In particular, this is thanks mainly to mega-sessions and dense packing using the fut procedure.