The Gillespie Clinic





hair loss...why does it happen?

Androgenetic Alopecia

norwood scale

More commonly known as Male / Female Pattern Baldness is a hereditary condition inherited from both your mother and father’s side. It is the most common form of hair loss in men.  The inheritance of male pattern hair loss is unpredictable and has several genes that cause the effect.  The hair follicles that are genetically programmed to go bald are sensitive to the effects of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

There are obvious differences in the balding patterns between the sexes.  Men tend to lose their hair in the frontal hairline, the temple areas, the crown, and the top of the head.

Women on the other hand tend to retain their frontal hairlines and any thinning that may occur often takes place in the forelock area (the area behind the frontal hairline on top of the scalp).  It is rare for women to lose all the hair in any thinning area.  Women typically do not have as much recession in the temples as men.  By age 60, 50% of women have significant thinning in this area.  Another major difference is that women may also have significant thinning in the fringe area, while most men do not.

In the specialty of surgical hair restoration men comprise more than 90% of the patients treated.  However, in the last decade the number of women undergoing the procedure has increased significantly.

As in men the majority of hair loss in women is genetic in origin.  Female pattern androgenetic hair loss occurs in approximately 10% of women.  The onset can be as early as the late 20’s or early 30’s with steady progression most commonly accelerating with menopause.  Hormonal alterations or abnormalities such as hypothyroidism, pregnancy and menopause can be associated with diffuse hair thinning.  Traction alopecia, which is more common in African American women, occurs because of excessive pulling of the hair from hair weaves or hair systems.  This is a slow and gradual process that often develops over a period of years.

Other Areas to Consider

Hair transplantation can be used to restore hair growth in other parts of the body.  One of which is most common is the eyebrows, where we can see poor density or limited areas of coverage associated with a history of hair plucking or repeated electrolysis in the past.

These areas can include but are not limited to; eyebrows, moustache, beard, scars and burns.

Other Forms of allopecia

  • Alopecia Areata the condition when the sudden loss of circular patches of hair occurs. The patches of lost hair generally enlarge and eventually the hair may back. Regrowth  may take months or more than a year. Cortisone injections into the affected area will improve outcomes.

  • Alopecia Totalis is the loss of all facial and scalp hair.

  • Alopecia Universal is the complete loss of all body hair.

  • Traction Alopecia is the gradual loss of hair caused by pulling force.


There are treatments for most cases of Alopecia that can help to alleviate the condition.

Frequently asked Questions

Does This Work?
Yes!! The hair on the top of your head is genetically programmed differently than the hair at the back of your head. This is why most men are left with a ring around the back of the their head. We are simply taking that hair and moving it to a bald or thinning area where it will continue to grow just as it did at the back of your head.
Is It Painful?
Pain is minimal. We use a local anesthetic that is injected very slowly to avoid any discomfort during surgery. After surgery you are sent home with sufficient pain medication. Most patients are surprised by how little discomfort they experience both during and after surgery. As a number of patients have said, “The discomfort is less than going to the dentist.” The use of local anesthetic permits painless removal of donor tissue, seldom is there any actual pain after the procedure. Any discomfort that may occur is mild and readily relieved by analgesics.
How do I know if I am a candidate?

The best way to find out if you are a candidate is to meet with Dr. Gillespie. Generally speaking, someone with no severe health problems or risks, who is in their mid or late-twenties or older, with thinning hair or is bald. It is important to see an established balding pattern.

How long will a hair transplant last?
Transplanted hair will last a lifetime. This conclusion is based on the examination of transplanted hair more than 30 years after the first procedures were done. 
How important is the use of microscopes in the process of follicular unit sectioning?
After the tissue is taken, the donor area is sutured back together leaving a fine line (similar to a line drawn by a pencil) that is well hidden by the surrounding hair. Sutures are removed in 10 days. Dr. Gillespie uses specific techniques to create a thin and minimal scar. This includes making sure there is no tension on the suture and often using a tricophilic closure as well.
How much does this procedure cost?
Price varies with each individual and depends on the extent of the hair loss and number of grafts desired. Price ranges anywhere from $5000 - $12,000, with $9000 being a rough average.
Can women have hair transplant?
Yes they can. Women suffering from androgenetic alopecia as well as other hair loss problems may be candidates for this type of surgery. Others may have had facial surgery resulting in scars or loss of hair that can be covered or restored with hair transplantation. 
What other options are there?
Hair transplantation is the only permanent solution to hair loss. There are medications available that block the effects of DHT, the hormone that causes your hair to fall out. These are the only products that are scientifically proven to stop hair loss that we know about. Be cautious of things that sound too good to be true. 
Do you use lasers for hair transplantation surgery?
No we do not use lasers; they have not been proven to be of any significant benefit. Some have been shown to cut off blood supply to the graft which is essential for the growth of the hair. 
How long has Dr. Gillespie been doing hair transplants?
Dr. Gillespie has been doing hair transplants for over 30 years now and is well respected amongst his peers and in the hair restoration community.
How long is the recovery time?
Recovery time is 7-10 days during which time you feel fine but will have small somewhat noticeable crusts in the recipient area. Most patients will take a few days off due to appearance not due to pain or inability to work. If you are able to wear a hat to work, you could return to work in a day or two and no-one will notice. 
Can I use someone else’s hair in my head?
While this may be possible, one would have to take the same type of rejection pill’s necessary for a heart transplant. The risks involved in taking these drugs are very high and in some cases deadly. 
Do you choose the way in which the grafts are dissected?
No, we cut the grafts in accordance to the way the hair naturally grows. The hair usually grows by itself, in groups of 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs. These groups are called follicular units. 
How long does it take before the hair begins to grow?
Hair will typically start to appear in 4 to 6 months. It will grow in finer at first and will continue to thicken over the next few months. Your optimal result will be evident in 1 year. 
Do you transplant eyebrows?
Yes we do. This procedure is very similar and works well for any individual looking for thicker or fuller eyebrows. 
Are there sutures at the top of the head?
No, the doctor makes tiny slits that our technicians carefully insert the grafts into. The grafted area forms small crusts / scabs that fall off in approximately 7 days. 
Does the hair begin to grow right away?
No, the transplanted hair usually falls out within the first two weeks. Although this hair falls out, the follicle is still dormant and will begin to grow a new hair. You will notice growth in 3-4 months. 
Are there any scars after surgery?
Yes, With FUT you will have a very fine linear scar, similar to a line drawn by a pencil at the back of your head which is easily hidden by your remaining hair. With FUE you will have many small scars where the grafts were taken from.
When can I go back to work?
Appearance is usually what keeps people away from work for a few days. If you can wear a hat you could return to work in a day or two. Otherwise most people usually take 4-7 days before returning to work. 
When are the stitches removed?
The stitches are removed 8-10 days after surgery. 
How many grafts can you do in one surgery?
Our sessions can range from 500 grafts – 3000+ grafts depending on the patient, area of baldness and any previous surgeries. 
How many grafts are done in an average session?
An average session is usually between 1800 - 2200 grafts. 
Are you awake during the procedure?
Yes, the surgery is performed under local anesthetic. We can offer a mild sedative that is taken orally the day of surgery to calm your nerves.
Can I drive home after surgery?

Yes, because we use local anesthetic you will be able to drive. However we recommend having a ride home if you feel too tired or have taken the sedative we offer.

How long does the procedure take?

The length of the procedure changes based on how many grafts are needed and on the individual patient. This is a finite process that should not be rushed. One should plan to spend the better part of the day with us.

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Main Office
Suite 220
Calgary, AB T2V 4R6

P: (403) 259-6798

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