The Norwood Scale: Why It’s Important

Dr. James Hamilton created the Norwood scale to represent the standard system for the measurement of male-pattern baldness that occurs in different forms on several individuals. It is, however, sometimes referred to as the Hamilton-Norwood scale, named after its creator.

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However, there are several other types of scales that are utilized by hair transplant surgeons, doctors, and certain health specialists that provide reference images for the indication of the extent of an individual’s baldness for both genders or specific to a gender. But the Norwood scale Is the most prominent reference used for the diagnosis of the extent of an individual’s baldness for an adequate treatment plan.

Stages of Hair Loss Measured With a Norwood Scale

The Norwood scale provides seven stages, including stage three vertex and A Classification for individuals with unique hairlines, that measures the extent and pattern of baldness that demands different treatment procedures. These stages involve the progression of hair loss from the temple to the crown. An increase in the stage of the Norwood scale leads to an increase in hair loss. The stages include;

Stage 1: Stage one of a Norwood scale, signifies the phase of healthy hair growth. There will neither be a sign of significant hair loss nor recession of the hairline.

Stage 2: The stage two segment in a Norwood scale comes with the characteristics of a slightly receding hairline that incepts from the temple. It is known as a mature hairline.

Stage 3: Stage three is characterized by the recession of the hairline at the temple, which will begin to form a V, U, or M hairline shape. These shapes are either entirely empty or scantily contain hair. Stage three on the Norwood scale is the inceptive stage of clinically significant baldness.

Stage 3 vertex: Stage three is synonymous with stage three but differs from stage three by the presence of significant hair loss on the scalp at the edge of the temple (the crown).

Stage 4: Stage four, in comparison with the earlier stages, is characterized by the further recession of hairline with the existence of scanty or no hair at all on the vertex. However, there are two areas of hair loss separated by a thin band of hair on the crown of the head.

Stage 5: In this stage, the band of hair that separates the two hair loss areas in the stage four segment of the Norwood scale becomes scantily thinner.

Stage 6: In this stage, the scantily thinner hair in stage five that connects the two layers of hair loss disappears; thereby, connecting the two bald areas at the vertex.

Stage 7: Stage seven is the most severe and significant hair loss, in which there is the total loss of hair at the top of the head and only a substantial amount of hair around the side and back of the head.

A classification: In A classification, there is a characteristic uniformity in the recession of a hairline to the back of the vertex rather than in different parts of the hairline.

How to Treat Hair Loss

When you begin to notice your susceptibility to imminent baldness from the characteristics indicated by the stage two segment of a Norwood scale, which happens to be the inception of hair loss due to the gradual recession of your hairline, you should visit a dermatologist or hair loss specialist to determine the pattern and severity of your hair loss by running specific examination on your scalp. The hair loss specialists may also examine the hair follicles for further information concerning the cause of your hair loss.

The dermatologist or a hair loss specialist will recommend the appropriate treatment for your hair loss issues before it deteriorates. These treatment methods for the loss of hair may be over-the-counter treatments, prescription treatments, and hair transplantation.

Over-the-counter, (OTC) treatments involve the use of medications without an official prescription, such as Minoxidil and laser devices. Minoxidil is a medication that is sold as Rogaine; its method of usage involves the application of its contents upon the scalp that suffers from hair loss to forestall hair loss and simultaneously stimulates the growth of hair. However, it demands consistency in its usage because a halt to the use of this medication would result in the resumption of hair loss.
Laser devices comprise combs, brushes, and several devices that produce laser light for the treatment of hair loss and the stimulation of hair growth.

A dermatologist may recommend prescription treatments to those with a type of baldness that can not be treated with over-the-counter drugs. The prescription of a drug such as Finasteride (also known as Propecia and Proscar) is widely recommended to mitigate hair loss, and stimulate hair growth for individuals with diverse kinds of baldness over the counter drugs will not treat.

However, if you do not visit your doctor when you begin to notice imminent hair loss such as o of hair loss in a Norwood scale, and you ignore it until it becomes severe; whereby the hair follicles have become dormant and can not produce any more hair, your dermatologist will recommend surgical hair transplant in this case. There are two types of hair transplant techniques that are dependent on the severity of your hair loss. These procedures include Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) technique involves the cutting of the areas of your scalp with a substantial amount of hair and transplanting them in pieces upon the area suffering from hair loss.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique involves the removal of hair follicles from the section of the head with hair and the boring of tiny holes on the bald region in preparation for the transplant of the extracted hair follicles.

Dermatologists make use of Norwood scales to determine the stage and appropriate treatment of hair loss. But because most hair losses are typically due to heredity, they are difficult to treat, especially if you wait until it becomes severe. Hence, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist when you notice any slight sign of hair loss, because as the saying goes, “the earlier, the better.”
However, scalp micropigmentation is one of the popular treatments for hair loss, whereby the doctor will insert pigments into the scalp to forge the appearance of hair.

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