The Norwood Scale: A Proven Measure for Hair Loss

The Norwood Scale: A Proven Measure for Hair Loss

If you have started to notice signs of an early receding hairline or have been considering a FUE transplant to rectify lost or thinning hair, you may have found yourself checking over, or at least being informed of the Norwood scale.

The Norwood scale can be a useful way to measure hair loss and assist both yourself, and a hair transplant surgeon, with the best ways to move forward with the hair transplant options available to you.

In this blog we explain what the Norwood hair loss scale is and how it works.

What is the Norwood scale?

The Norwood scale is a popular system that allows for the measurement of hair loss through visuals. Originally created in the 1950s by James B. Hamilton, it was eventually updated in the mid-70s by Dr Norwood. Hence the scale is sometimes known as the Hamilton-Norwood scale.

Used by hair loss specialists, the visual guide helps them to assess the hair loss of a patient and as a result, determine which treatments would be necessary. The Norwood hair loss scale is shown in seven stages, with stage one being the mildest, and stage seven being the most severe.

What are the seven stages of the Norwood scale?

Each of the seven stages of the Norwood scale represents a stage of male pattern baldness. As the number on the scale increases, the baldness progressively gets worse.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 1

Stage one of the Norwood scale is a control stage. At this moment, there are small signs of hair loss that are visible. Dr Mark Tam has welcomed patients at this stage and provided the best course of action based on their hair loss.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 2

Stage two of the Norwood hair loss scale relates to a mild loss or recession at the hairline, particularly the temples. There may be no further hair loss, but you may still wish to treat it. Dr Mark Tam has helped many patients with hair transplants at this stage to help rebuild confidence.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 3

If a hair transplant specialist determines that your hair loss is at level three on the Norwood scale, you are at what is seen by many as the first stage where significant hair loss appears. In most cases, this hair loss would appear at the front and the temples. The hairline is now creating a pattern that may resemble an M or a U. The affected areas could be completely bald or have clear signs of thinning hair.

A FUE transplant could take place at this stage if both the specialist and you are happy to proceed. Again, Dr Tam is experienced in helping patients at this stage restore their hairline.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 3a

Stage 3a of the Norwood hair loss scale may also be seen as the stage 3 vertex due to the area of the head it affects. Hair loss at this stage remains the same as stage two for the front of the head but is substantial at the crown. This is another stage where a hair transplant is certainly possible, and your surgeon will consider the quality of the donor area, your expectations, and the future potential for more hair loss.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 4

If it is determined that your hair has reached stage four of the Norwood hair loss scale, it would indicate that there has been a further receding of the hairline with little or no hair on top of the scalp. Hair transplant surgery would normally take place with the crown or hairline being treated.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 5

Stage five on the Norwood hair loss scale is where hair loss becomes significantly more advanced. Where hair from either side of the head may have been linked by a central band of hair in earlier stages, this band is now starting to split in the middle, and the areas of hair loss on the side have become much bigger.

Hair restoration will certainly be possible, and it would be the advised route to take if looking to have a fuller head of hair. As mentioned earlier, after one session, you may be able to have the remaining areas treated, subject to there being enough available follicles in the safe donor area.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 6

Stage six on the Norwood hair loss scale is a stage where any of the prescribed medications that may have helped in the earlier stages is not encouraged. Instead, a FUE treatment would be recommended. At stage six of the Norwood scale, the loss of hair from around the temple spreads to the crown, and the band we referenced in stage five would now either be gone or at its thinnest.

Norwood hair scale: Stage 7

Stage seven is the final stage on the Norwood hair loss scale. Hair may still be seen at the back and sides of the head, but the top will now be completely free of hair. The hair around the sides and back may be used for extracting follicles for transplanting to the areas needing treatment, however, this will depend on how much hair remains in these places. Dr Mark Tam will be able to assess your needs via a consultation.

How does the Norwood scale help with hair loss treatment?

A hair loss specialist will use the Norwood scale to determine what type of treatment is available to you. They will be able to assess the state of your male pattern baldness and determine whether a transplant is necessary or whether a form of medication may be able to help. Some medications or treatments are available without a prescription whilst others are only available to order privately. You should always get the advice of a medical expert before opting to try any form of treatment.

If you are starting to spot the signs of a receding hairline or are concerned about developing baldness, Dr Mark Tam can help. An award-winning hair transplant specialist, Dr Mark Tam can help you get on the right path and restore your hairline affordably, easily, and quickly. Begin the process today with an assessment and see if a hair transplant is the most suitable solution for you. Contact our team today to find out more about hairline restoration or having a full-head hair transplant.

Latest posts

How to Do Your First Wash After a Hair Transplant
How to Do Your First Wash After a Hair Transplant
Read More
Alopecia Hair Transplant: Is The Procedure Possible?
Alopecia Hair Transplant: Is The Procedure Possible?
Read More
What is the Best Age for a Hair Transplant?
What is the Best Age for a Hair Transplant?
Read More