The Norwood scale (or Hamilton-Norwood scale) is the leading classification system used to measure the degree of male pattern baldness. Men usually lose their hair in one of the many common patterns over the course of decades. The Norwood scale provides easy-to-consult images that indicate different stages of balding behavior.
There are several other classification scales used by doctors, researchers, and surgeons for Hair Transplant in Lahore . Some rating scales include both sexes or focus on female pattern baldness.
However, the Norwood scale is the measure most commonly used by clinicians when discussing male pattern baldness. It provides a reference point to diagnose the degree of baldness, discuss treatment options, and measure the effectiveness of treatment.
What are the 7 stages of hair loss?
The Norwood scale has seven phases. Each phase measures the severity and pattern of hair loss.
- Stage 1. No significant hair loss or hairline recession.
- Stage 2. There is a slight recession of the hairline around the temples. This is also known as adult or adult hairline.
- Stage 3. The first signs of clinically significant calendaring appear. The hairline is sunk deep into both temples, looks like an M, U or V shape. The recessed spots are completely bare or scantily covered with hair.
- Stage 3 vertexes. The hairline remains in stage 2, but there is significant hair loss on the top of the scalp (the vertex).
- Stage 4. The hair loss is more serious than in phase 2, and there is thin hair or no hair on top. The two parts of hair loss are separated by a hair band that connects to the hair that remains on the sides of the scalp.
- Stage 5. The two areas of hair loss are larger than in stage 4. They are still separated, but the hair strip between them is narrower and scarcer.
- Stage 6. The balding areas at the temples connect with the balding area at the top. The headband on the top of the head has disappeared or is bald.
- Stage 7. The most serious stage of hair loss, leaving only a headband around the sides of the head. This hair is usually not dense and can be good.
Norwood class A. The class a variation of the Norwood scale is a slightly different and less common progression of hair loss. The main differences are that the hairline goes back uniformly, without leaving an island in the middle, and there is no bald spot at the top. Instead, the hairline runs from front to back.
What does hair loss look like for each phase?
How is male pattern baldness diagnosed?
Hair loss can be diagnosed with a physical examination and medical history. Most hair loss is diagnosed as male pattern baldness, but if you are young, female, or experiencing unusual hair loss, your doctor may want to rule out other possible causes.
A dermatologist or hair loss specialist can examine your scalp to determine the pattern and extent of your hair loss. Your doctor can also pull a few hairs and examine your hair follicles.
How is hair loss treated?
Hair loss treatments are most successful when they are started early. It is easier to delay hair loss than to stimulate new hair growth. Hair follicles that stop producing hair become inactive after about two years and cannot be reactivated. Once significant hair loss has occurred, surgical procedures may be the best option.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments
Treatments that are available without a prescription include:
- Minoxidil. Applied directly to the scalp, this medicine (sold under the brand name Rogaine) can prevent hair thinning. It can also stimulate hair growth on the top of the scalp. It can be combined with other treatments.
- Laser devices. There are various brushes, combs and other devices that emit laser light and are marketed as treatments for hair loss. These devices can stimulate hair growth, but this has not been clinically proven.
Depending on the severity of your hair loss and your success with OTC treatments, your doctor may recommend the drug finasteride (Proscar, Propecia).
There are also medical procedures available for the treatment of hair loss, including:
- Hair transplantation. Parts of your scalp with good hair growth are removed and the hair follicles are transplanted to the balding parts.
- Scalp reduction. Part of the bald scalp is surgically removed and the parts of the scalp with good hair growth are brought closer together. This can be combined with a hair transplant.
- Expansion of the scalp. Devices are placed under the scalp for about three to four weeks to stretch the skin. This procedure can be performed before a scalp reduction or as a stand-alone treatment.
- Scalp micro pigmentation. Small tattoos can be applied to the scalp to create the appearance of a shaved head.
What causes hair loss in men?
Hair loss in male patterns is caused by a combination of genetic, hormonal and environmental factors. Your genes, inherited from both your parents, determine your sensitivity to hormones, called androgens, especially dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Each lock of hair starts in a hair follicle and normally grows two to six years before it enters a resting phase and falls out. When the follicle starts to grow a new hair, the cycle starts again.
Increased androgens in the hair follicles can lead to shorter cycles of hair growth that last only a few weeks or months. DHT stimulates the process of miniaturization, making new hair shorter and thinner than before. Eventually the hair follicles become too small to produce new hair.
Is there a way to prevent hair loss in men?
Hair loss prevention and treatment go hand in hand. People start balding in a wide range of different ages and losing hair at very different speeds, so it’s up to you to decide when to take preventive action. Hair loss treatments such as minoxidil and finasteride work to prevent hair loss in most men.
The Norwood scale is a tool that you and your doctors can use to measure the degree of male pattern baldness. Hair loss can be treated with medication in the early stages. In the later stages there are various surgical options.