What Is Hair Transplant?
Hair Transplant or sometimes known as hair implant, is a surgical procedure in which the hair follicles from hair-bearing part of the skin (usually the skin of the scalp) is transferred to the balding part of the head, to cover up the baldness and provide a more pleasant and natural looking scalp. There are two methods of hair transplant available to the patient: FUE and FUT. Up to 80 percent of the transplant hair will fully grow in about four months, covering up the bald part, offering a scalped covered with hair.
Why Hair Transplant?
Hair loss is a serious issue that effects an individual’s image and beauty. Up to 50 percent of women and 60 percent of men experience hair loss in their life time. Many different methods are used to prevent and cure the phenomenon, such as different types of shampoos, tonics and hair lotions, but factors such as genetics or diseases (like male pattern baldness) cannot be avoided and are almost inevitable. Baldness can affect a person’s self -image and self-confidence and can cause discomfort and shame in many people. If you are suffering from hair loss and baldness, considering surgery might be a good idea to replace the unpleasant look on your scalp with brand new hair.
How Is Hair Transplant Done?
Your doctor will consult with you during a session about the outcomes of the surgery and its procedure. For hair transplant surgery, you will be under local anesthesia or mild sedation. As mentioned before, there are two main methods of harvesting the hair follicles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In below, the two methods are going to be discussed further:
FUT, FUSS or Strip Excision Harvesting
In this method of harvesting, the surgeon will start by removing a small part of the scalp with a good hair growth, around six inches from the back of the head. The grafted tissue will be stitched using surgical sutures. Your surgical team will divide the grafted scalp into small pieces called grafts, each graft containing one or two hair follicle. Excess fatty tissue will be removed during this process. Using a fine needle or blade, small holes will be made on the balding site for the grafts to be placed. The surgeon will then insert the grafted hairs into the small holes, based on the desired density and pattern, often resembling the natural hair. This technique is called grafting. The surgical area will be covered up with surgical bandages and gauze for more protection.
Number of grafts you receive using this method can depend on the type, quality and color of the hair and the transplant area size.
FUE or Follicle Unit Extraction
In this method of harvesting, instead of a part of the scalp, small hair follicles units containing 1 to 4 hair, are grafted one by one from the donor area. The surgeon will use micro blades to create holes on the receiving area, and will place the grafts based on the desired pattern and density, often resembling natural hair.
FUT or FUE?
Both of these harvesting methods are widely used nowadays, and choosing a method is based on your personal preference and conditions, and the doctor’s professional opinion. However, they differ slightly in final results and the procedure that helps you choose the best method suitable for you.
FUE method is a more advanced technique and it takes a longer time to be performed, and may be done during several sessions and days. The results of FUE method can be very natural looking. Also, the scarring in FUE method is minimal compared to the FUT method, therefore the patient can have a short hair-cut, as they do not need to cover the scarring. FUE brings less discomfort to the patient and the recovery time is also shortened.
FUT method has its own advantages as well. In FUT method, a larger portion of the head can be covered. It is perfect for the patients who desire a full coverage of hair. In the FUT method, the head does not need to be shaved prior to the surgery. The procedure duration is also shorter in the FUT method, between 4 and 12 hours. Last but not least, FUT procedure costs less compare to FUE.
Who Is A Good Candidate for Hair Transplant?
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for the hair transplant procedure. You should meet certain criteria’s to be considered for a hair transplant surgery. Suitable candidates for hair transplant are
Who are suffering from male pattern baldness for over 5 years.
Who have a stabilized balding pattern for many years.
Who are interested in having a fuller head and a more pleasant, youthful appearance.
Men and Women:
Who have suffered a trauma like injury or burn, resulting in their hair loss.
Who have realistic expectations towards the results of surgery.
Who have suffered from the side effects of other cosmetic procedures like face lift, etc.
Poor candidates for a hair transplant procedure are:
People with an unhealthy or diseased donor supply
People with low hair density
What to Expect After a Hair Transplant?
The hair transplant can take from several hours to several days dependent on the method your surgeon is using. However, you will be able to go home the very same day. The bandages will be removed after the surgery, and anti-inflammatory injections may be needed to bring down the tenderness and swelling. You will likely experience pain and swelling.
You need to wait a couple of days before washing your hair. Use very mild shampoo during the first few weeks. You should avoid pressing comb on the new grafts for about a month. Do not wear a head cover or hat until told otherwise. You should also avoid exercising for a week. You can return to your daily life in 3 days.
Within 3 weeks, the transplanted hair will start falling off and new hair will grow in their place within a few months. Usually 60 percent of the new hair will grow back in six to nine months. Your surgeon may prescribe hair growing medicines to help with the growth of the new hair.
What Are the Risks of Hair Transplant?
Every surgery comes with a set of risks. Complications and risk of hair transplant surgery includes:
Shock loss: the sudden loss of the transplant hair.
Bleeding and Swelling
Inflammation of hair follicles
Severe, raised or reddened scarring
Death of Skin Grafts
Crusting in the area of transplant
Nerve damage, Numbness and Itching