It is a sad tale of hair today, gone tomorrow for some and that is when the need for a hair transplant surgery crops up. Like every other aspect of good health, like our eyes and teeth, we take our locks for granted and then find them gradually replaced by a receding hairline. But modern techniques have guaranteed us what must be the closest to divine intervention: a transplant, which promises to give us back our full head of hair.
Every person, irrespective of sex, loses hair throughout his life. The process accelerates with age starting generally from 35 years. The closest thing to a permanent solution for severe loss is the process of surgical hair restoration. Though more expensive than other treatments, it is a one-off effort and saves your money in the longer run, and guarantees you the full new hair coverage you desire.
The Perfect Hair Transplant Surgery
It is a surgical procedure to move your hair to areas that have thinning hair cover or no cover. This cosmetic procedure for restoring a receding hairline has been around since the 1950s but there have been drastic changes in techniques. A hair transplantation surgeon is an extremely specialized professional. Technically speaking, a transplant is a plastic surgery procedure performed by a plastic surgeon.
As with any other technique, there are various techniques, each different in their application and viability. Here are a few transplant solutions in vogue around the world.
Follicular Unit Transplantation
In the Follicular Unit Transplantation, a narrow slice of tissue gets removed first from the sides and the rear of your scalp. Individual follicular units are extracted with a stereo-microscopic dissection. The process leaves behind a thin scar.
The individual transplanted follicles are rarely damaged as the process is microscopic. The new hair also grows faster as the tiny channels rarely affect blood circulation. The band is finally shut by suture, leaving a very thin seam. Only a close crop can reveal the otherwise hidden scar.
Follicular Unit Extraction
This process removes donor hair grafts using special instruments and then implanting them on the bare areas. This fast and easy application
Involves transplanting individual hair follicles by using a tiny punch instrument. It is less invasive and causes minimal pain. The downtime is also low and there are negligible chances of scarring.
Some major steps involved in an FUE hair transplant surgery procedure are
1: Graft extraction: In this transplant process, the resilient and more suitable zones for the graft are first chosen. The hair root is extracted using a micro-meter.
2: Opening the recipient canal: Microscopic canals are then opened surgically in the transplant areas for implanting the grafts.
3: Planting the grafts: Finally, the extracted grafts are then implanted in the canals previously opened up and readied for the graft.
The major advantage of using the FUE hair transplant procedure for a receding hairline is that the surgeon can allow the maximum grafts to be transplanted without leaving any scars on the skin of the donor.
One of the latest and most advanced hair transplantation techniques is NeoGraft hair transplant. It is a semi-automated form of the FUE technique. It uses technology owned by Venus Treatments.
It is important to note that each person’s hair is different and requires individual care and planning.
Before you go in for your transplant, it is important to note the following points: the distribution of your hair, its density, the direction of its growth, and the angle. An expert surgeon will consider each of these carefully before going ahead with the procedure. You can safely look forward to natural and thick growth.
A third process, not normally followed now for their invasiveness, is hair plug transplantations. The process involves extracting randomly selected large portions of hair and surgically transplanting them to the recipient site. The results are patchy and look unnatural, thus defeating the purpose of a transplant.
The Side Effects Of A Hair Transplant
If done from a reliable clinic and under the supervision of an expected surgeon, a hair transplant leads to very few complications and is minor. Typical issues can be inflammation and bleeding around the areas the process was done. There can also be temporary numbness, crusting around the treated areas, bruising in the region of the eyes, and unnatural growths in the treated areas.
Is A Hair Transplant Surgery Recommended For All
A hair transplant surgery is recommended if you have partial baldness, both due to female and androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness, receding hairline, head trauma, and traction alopecia. You can safely expect a natural-looking and permanent solution for your receding hairline.
But if you have diffuse or patchy hair loss, insufficient donor site hair, or spot baldness, it is not recommended to go in for transplant surgery. In short, if your hair loss is extensive, you will never achieve the desired results and your surgeon will naturally not recommend a hair graft. These procedures are also not recommended for those under 25. It is tough to predict long-term hair loss patterns and the degree of loss of hair in the future. The Norwood Scale is used to assess the
What Is A Graft?
Grafts generally refer to the surgical procedure that removes tissue from one site with healthy hair and plants it on another part of the body or the body of a different creature or person. This hair transplant procedure for male pattern baldness does not involve bringing any blood supply along with the technique. A fresh blood supply is restored after the grafting procedure.
Hair follicles grow usually in groupings that normally have 1- 4 hairs, each known as follicular units. Hair surgeons involved in the FUE transplant process go in for harvesting and transplanting the hairs in these natural groupings. This causes uniform and natural hair growth.
Completion Of The Total Hair Transplant Process
The complete hair restoration surgery process generally for male pattern baldness depends on the area to be restored, the total number of grafts that are required, plus the members involved in the surgery.
The whole hair restoration procedure is completed under local anesthesia and you are awake through the whole procedure. You can watch TV, read, eat, and converse normally during the whole procedure.
You can resume most of your normal activities almost immediately. The transplantation areas will remain tender and swollen for close to a week. But you can resume your work within 3 days. The redness will persist for close to 2 weeks and scabs will develop after the procedure.
The whole process of hair transplantation for male pattern baldness can be done over several surgical sessions, even months apart, to get the overall desired results. It is up to your surgeon to study the case and take the call.
Result And Recovery
You need to be careful, the first couple of days. The scalp is tender at this stage, and you might need to take medication for the pain. The operation areas are covered with a bandage during this period. You might have to take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines at this stage.
The transplanted hair falls out after 2-3 weeks. This is a side effect of a hair transplant and is called ‘shock loss’. This process is completely normal and a part of the surgical procedure. New hair growth starts within a number of months. You can expect up to 60% of hair growth starting after 6-9 months.
Hair restoration for male pattern baldness will take place in areas of your scalp where the hair transplantation took place. But the density of the new hair will depend on the tolerance of the scalp and the looseness of the skin. New hair growth at the transplanted site will also depend on the follicle density of the transplanted hair and also the hair quality.
If your surgery has been successful, you will get a full head of hair to cover your receding hairline. A partial success will lead to an uneven or unnatural hairline, leading to imperfect hair restoration. It might also cause donor depletion where too much hair has been surgically removed from the donor site.
You should follow every after-surgery procedure. It is after all an invasive procedure and can lead to severe complications if the initial post-surgery procedures are not followed. It includes dressing both the donor and transplanted region. You should avoid any shampoo for at least a couple of days and sleep upright for a few days. This ensures free blood flow to the transplanted hair follicles.
Choosing The Right Clinic
Hair transplantation has taken off in a big way in recent times. This has caused new clinics to come up in a big way. There are several factors to consider before going in for a hair transplant clinic or choosing the right surgeon. Going for the top surgeon will naturally cost you top dollars.
It is advisable to go for members of the IAHRS (International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons). Take suggestions from friends who have gone through the procedure and go online for suggestions. Check out the result of people who have gone in for any of the procedures.
Be wary of surgeons who set aside other solutions, like medications, and press you for going in for surgery immediately. A reliable hair transplant clinic will give you a comprehensive and long-term plan for transplantation and aftercare. You will be in the hands of an experienced surgeon and a strong assisting support team.
What Should You Look For In Your Surgeon?
Finally, the whole procedure rests in the hands of the surgeon. Know beforehand the name of the surgeon who will be performing the procedure. You can easily look for details such as licensing and registration, either from the clinic or online if you are going in for a reputable surgeon. Look at their past results.
Will Your Surgeon Be Directly Involved In Your Hair Transplant Procedure?
Ensure that your surgeon is involved in the maximum process of the surgery. Do not go in for surgeons who leave it to their assistants. The leading doctor should be directly involved in the process of incisions, anesthesia, and the main transplant.
Check On Past Results
Past patients are the most reliable sources of information as you weigh your options. Leading clinics have a list of clients who will be willing to share their experience in the procedure. They will happily be willing to provide a testimonial.
Many patients share their experiences on social platforms like YouTube.
Check Out The Photos Before And Post Operation
Only detailed images of past hair transplant procedures will help you to decide on your options. Blurry images or digitally altered pictures are a dead giveaway. You have your hair profile. So request for pictures and results of patients who had a similar hair contour.
It would be great if you could go in for a member of the IAHRS, but you can also go in for someone who is a member of your country’s local association.
Cost Of A Hair Transplant
Several factors go into the total cost of a hair transplant. It includes your hair profile, the number of surgeries required, the surgeon and clinic you choose, and finally the surgical procedure you select. Normally it is a flat fee for the FUT procedure. For FUE, the charges are per follicle.
The expenses in the US are between $4,000 and $15,000. The normal costs in the UK are £3,000 – £7,000. FUE costs are above £10,000. Charges are relatively low in Turkey, famous for its hair transplantation procedures. The average expenses are around $US2,000.
A Few More Facts About Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant uses hair from different areas of your body including the beard and chest. Hair from these regions are closest to scalp hair and blend in well. The final result is effective but depends on the surgeon and the patient’s age, lifestyle, and other factors.
The process is painless as local anesthesia is used. Choosing the right surgeon and clinic is important to ensure success. The usual side effects of a hair transplantation procedure are inflammation, bleeding, itching, and swelling of the scalp. These are a result of allergic reactions and doctors normally check for them beforehand.
Though people go in for a hair transplant after 35, some might go in for it sooner. The results come in after a year and it is advisable to plan accordingly.
Some renowned IAHRS members in the US include Dr. Scott Alexander, Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. Ken Anderson, Atlanta, Georgia, the world’s only triple-board certified surgeon, Dr. Alan Bauman, Boca Raton, Florida, and Dr. Scott Boden, Wethersfield, Connecticut, a Diplomat of the ABHRS, and Dr. John Cole, Atlanta, Georgia and Miami, Florida.
The best way for gathering information would be to rely on the IAHRS and its affiliated national industry associations. The Global Hair Loss Summit is the most relevant and reliable educational platform for this industry. Try to join online forums like the Bald Truth. And finally, it is pertinent to remember that surgery should be the last resort for hair loss.