HOUSTON -

Millions of American men and women suffering from hair loss are locked in to what seems like an endless and often expensive battle to keep it. Americans have tried everything from pills to sprays and shampoos.

Thick, luxurious hair has always been an important sign of beauty, especially for women. So when 57-year-old Rebecca of Houston started losing hers, she felt like she was being stripped of her identity.

"To me it was like losing a hand, an arm, a leg. I didn't want to go anywhere, didn't want to see anybody. It was horrible," Rebecca said.

Rebecca, like a growing number of women, chose to go another route. She decided on a hair transplant.

"The thought of going bald was totally unimaginable to me," Rebecca said.

She turned to Dr. Daniel McGrath, of McGrath Medical, a leading expert in hair restoration. Women now make up 20 percent of his clientele.

"The common question is, what's going on? Most people walk in the door. They are freaked out. They're upset. They are looking for answers," McGrath said.

Over the years, great strides have been made in hair rejuvenation but transplants are still the gold standard. Local 2's Andy Cerota, who's been fighting for years to keep his receding hairline at bay, recently experienced first-hand what the procedure is all about.

To rebuild and restore a patient's hairline, Dr. McGrath first numbs the scalp with anesthesia and harvests a donor strip of hair from the back of a patient's head. While his teams of assistants use microscopes to dissect every bit of tissue, McGrath is busy creating recipient sites on the scalp, as if he were an artist working on a blank canvass.

"These are not plugs. These are individual strands of hair that are removed and dissected that when we're placing them back, there's anything but a “pluggy” look. No one is ever going to look at you and say wow! That guy had a hair transplant," McGrath said.

Nearly five months after the procedure Rebecca's hair is returning and so is her confidence.

"I show a lot less scalp now, it's wonderful. I'm going to be a fox. That's what I'm going to be. Don't sit still. Do something. We don't have to be bald," Rebecca said.

McGrath said it could take up to a year to see 100 percent hair growth.