Male pattern baldness has become a growing problem in today’s society, with more and more men seeking treatments and solutions for this loss. This isn’t a modern issue, however – in fact, this has been going on since as early as the 1900s, with the industry-acclaimed Norwood Scale coming into effect as early as the 1950s. The first version of the scale was created by Dr James Hamilton, but by the 1970s it was revised by Dr O’Tar Norwood to become the scale that we utilise today.
What Is The Norwood Scale?
The Norwood Scale – sometimes referred to as the Hamilton-Norwood Scale – is a hair-loss ranking system utilised by the majority of medical professionals across the industry. While there are a number of other scales in use, the Norwood Scale is undoubtedly the leading classification of male hair loss and the one we utilise here at Longevita.
The scale helps us to determine the severity of our patient’s hair loss, from which we can build a personalised treatment plan. Men typically lose their hair in a particular order, often starting with the temples and continuing on to the crown of the head. This is particularly common when a patient is suffering from male pattern baldness, and the Norwood Scale offers a set way in which this can be assessed.
With different stages requiring different levels of treatment, understanding what these are and how they affect your procedure is important.
The Stages Of The Norwood Scale
There are 7 stages listed on the Norwood Scale, 8 including Stage 3 Vertex, with a further ‘A’ classification for those with a slightly different pattern of hair loss. The stages manifest as follows:
Stage 1 – Stage 1 of the Norwood Scale is the point at which most healthy-haired individuals will sit. This stage features no significant hair loss beyond the norm and no recession of the overall hairline.
Stage 2 – Stage 2 of the scale is typically characterised by a slight recession of the hairline, typically starting at the temples.
Stage 3 – Stage 3 is the point in which the balding around the head becomes much more significant. As the hairline at the temples recedes further, this begins to form an ‘M’, ‘V’ or ‘U’ and are typically either completely bald or very thin on hair.
Stage 3 Vertex – When the hair doesn’t recede further at the temples but does begin to thin or bald at the crown (or vertex) of the head, this is known as ‘Stage 3 Vertex’.
Stage 4 – Compared to stages 2 and 3, stage 4 features further loss across both the temples and the vertex. This can be split up by a thin band of remaining hair on the crown of the head.
Stage 5 – The band separating the hair loss becomes narrow and sparse.
Stage 6 – The balding areas on the temples will join at this stage, leaving very thin hair left across the band, or none at all.
Stage 7 – This is the most severe stage of hair loss and will manifest in no hair on the top of the head, and only a band of hair around the sides and back of the head.
The key difference in this class of hair loss is that the hairline will recede uniformly, rather than in different parts. The progression will take right from the front of the hairline to the back of the vertex.
Can I Still Get A Hair Transplant At The Later Stages Of The Norwood Scale?
While hair transplants are possible providing there is a healthy donor area to extract from, those in the later stages of the Norwood Scale may find that a hair transplant will leave sparse results. The further along on this scale you progress, the fewer options available for treatment there are. While we will work hard to produce the best results, you will be kept up to date throughout.
Traditional FUT and FUE methods feature the movement of donor follicles from the area of dense and healthy growth, to the thinning or balding target site. Those within stages 1-4 are likely to be good candidates for hair transplant procedures, while those in the later stages will need to speak to a consultant regarding the method that may work best for you.
You will start the process of undergoing a hair transplant with a free consultation at our clinic in London. Throughout this consultation, your practitioner will be able to provide you with a better idea as to whether a hair transplant is your best solution, the type of transplant necessary and the potential for further hair loss in the future. Our team are experts in their field and will always put you and your health in mind so rest assured that you are in the safest of hands.
For more information on the Norwood Scale or to book your consultation, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team here at Longevita, today.