The Norwood scale, also known as the Norwood-Hamilton scale, is a classification system widely used to describe and categorize the progression of male pattern baldness. Developed by Dr. O’Tar Norwood in the 1950s and later modified by Dr. James Hamilton, the Norwood scale provides a visual representation of the various stages of hair loss in men.

The scale is named after Dr. O’Tar Norwood, who extensively researched and documented the common patterns of male hair loss. It helps both patients and healthcare professionals understand the extent and progression of hair loss, facilitating communication about treatment options and expectations.

The Norwood scale consists of several stages, with each stage representing a different level of hair loss. Here is a brief overview of the main stages:

Stage 1:
No significant hair loss. The hairline is unchanged, and there is no recession.

Stage 2:
Minor recession of the hairline, often characterized by slight temporal recession or a slight “V” shape at the front.

Stage 3:
Further recession at the temples, forming a deeper “V” shape. The hairline may start to show more noticeable signs of recession.

Stage 3A:
The first signs of balding appear on the crown (vertex) of the scalp, typically in the form of a small, round patch.

Stage 3V:
Combined frontal and vertex balding, with a more pronounced “V” shape at the hairline.

Stage 4:
Significant recession at the temples and further enlargement of the balding area at the vertex. The bridge of hair separating the frontal and vertex areas becomes narrower.

Stage 5:
The bridge of hair between the frontal and vertex areas is further diminished, with a more extensive balding area. The frontal and vertex areas may eventually merge.

Stage 6:
The remaining bridge of hair becomes thinner, and the frontal and vertex balding areas are more extensive. The hair loss is more pronounced overall.

Stage 7:
The most advanced stage, characterized by severe balding at the frontal and vertex areas, with only a narrow band of hair remaining around the sides and back of the head.

It’s important to note that not every individual will fit precisely into one of these stages, as hair loss patterns can vary. The Norwood scale serves as a general guideline to assess the degree of male pattern baldness and aid in treatment planning. Individuals experiencing hair loss can use the scale as a reference when discussing their condition with our Hair Restoration Center patient advisors and hair transplant surgeons. Schedule a complimentary consultation today or call 1 (888) 589-3064.