Hair loss is a common problem for both men and women. Statistics show that 25% of men are balding by age 30 and 65% go bald by age 60. Hair loss has several possible causes that include genetics, hormonal changes and even stress. Several treatment options are available including the Fleming/Mayer Flap procedure that provides patients with fast, long lasting results.
The Fleming/Mayer Flap differs from the better known transplant procedures. According to Dr. Richard Fleming, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon and co-creator of the technique, while transplants are a good option, the new hair tends to have a different texture than it did originally. "With hair transplant, you can't get the density that you can with the flap. Also, you get a change in hair texture. You tend to have curly, wavy hair. This may correct over several cycles of hair growth, but the hair texture changes," says Dr. Fleming.
Actual Results of Fleming/Mayer Flap Technique
With the flap, skin that's still viable for hair growth is repositioned on the head so it maintains the same density and texture. "In this procedure, we take a piece of skin left attached above the ears. It's shaped like a banana, and we lift it up and rotate it to the bald area. We remove the bald skin, discard it, lay the flap in and stretch the edges together," describes Dr. Fleming. "The bandages are on for 3 or 4 days, when you take off the bandage, you have hair immediately. It has normal, uniform thickness so whatever you had on the side is what you get on top. It's quicker, it's immediate, and it doesn't change the texture nor the density that patient had originally."
Dr. Fleming says that this procedure is ideal for those with a horseshoe balding pattern. He also says that it's not a good procedure for everyone. Baldness is progressive so while some patients may look like they have only a mildly recessive hair line, that can move farther and farther back. To be a candidate for this procedure, patients must have enough hair to fill the bald area.
There are three steps to the procedure. First, the flap is designed and partially cut, later it is cut the rest of the way, and finally it is put into place. The first two steps are done with just local anesthesia, but the final step requires some light general anesthesia. Potential complications include temporary or permanent hair loss, and a loss of the flap or death of a portion of it., but that's uncommon.
Patients are generally pleased with the outcome and are able to return to non-strenuous work within a few days after the final step of the procedure. A dressing is worn for three to four days and the last of the stitches are removed after 2 weeks.