Most of us take our hair for granted, just as we do our health and youth until they’re no longer with us. A hair transplant can be helpful for many people, by restoring the appearance of a complete head of hair or filling out what has been lost.
Hair thinning and balding can affect us in a personal way and can be frustrating. If you are genuinely bothered by the fact that your hair on top is thinning or balding, surgery may be your best solution to feel confident about the way you look and feel.
What Is a Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant can help fix that thinning or balding spot at your hairline or crown. To perform the procedure, hair is taken from denser areas of the scalp (or other areas of the body) and then transplanted onto areas of the scalp that are balding or undergoing hair loss.
Around the world, approximately 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women have some hair loss (Ors, 2017) . People frequently resort to over-the-counter remedies, such as topical treatments like minoxidil, in order to manage this problem.
Hair transplantation is another way of restoration. The first hair transplant was done in Japan in 1939 using a single follicle from the scalp. In the decades that followed, medical professionals developed a procedure known as the “plug.” To achieve this, big tufts of hair will need to be transplanted.
Surgeons have, throughout the course of time, begun using mini- and micro-grafts to reduce the visibility of transplanted hair on the scalp. As technology advances, hair transplants have become more effective.
How Does A Hair Transplant Work?
Hair transplants involve transferring the existing hair from one part of your head to another that does not have hair. It is commonly removed from the back of your head. However, it can also be removed from other regions of your body.
Before beginning the transplant surgery, your doctor will anesthetize and sterilize the region of your scalp that will be shaved in preparation for hair removal. Rarely patients request additional sedation so they can sllep through the procedure, but most just watch movies.
After that, your surgeon will use the FUT or FUE procedure to perform the transplant. What Is A Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)?
A follicular unit is often referred to as follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) (S., 2016). Your surgeon will go through these stages to do a FUT procedure:
- The piece of your scalp that is cut off is often taken from the back of your head and removed by the surgeon with a scalpel. The strip length is generally between 6 and 10 inches, but it can extend from ear to ear if necessary.
- Stitches are used to close the wound left after a portion of the scalp is removed.
- Using a knife, your surgeon and his assistants will cut the strip of the scalp that will be removed into smaller pieces. They might cut the piece into as many as 2,000 pieces, referred to as grafts. Each of these grafts contains a single follicular unit (FU) containing an average of 2.7 hairs..
- The area of your scalp that will recieve hair grafts will have several tiny 1.0 to 1.3 mm made by the surgeon. These slits can be made with a needle or a blade.
- The hairs from the section of the scalp that was taken are then inserted into the puncture holes by the surgical team. This process is referred to as grafting.
- Afterwards, they may apply bandages or gauze to the wounds the surgery leaves.
The precise number of grafts that you will receive is dependent upon the following factors:
- The type of hair you have
- The size of the transplant site
- The quality of your hair (including its thickness, curl, & texture)
- The colour of your hair.
What Is Follicular Unit Excision (FUE)?
Your surgeon will carry out the following steps to accomplish an FUE procedure:
- They remove hair from the back of your head after shaving it.
- The surgeon excises individual hair follicular units from the scalp’s epidermis. You’ll notice tiny marks left behind wherever each follicle was extracted.
- In this treatment, as in the FUT procedure (Dua, 2010), the surgeon will make tiny incisions in your scalp and then transplant hair follicles into those incisions.
- After that, bandages or gauze may be used to cover the area that was operated on.
Expectations and Recovery
Following surgery, your scalp could feel extremely sensitive. You may need to take pain medicine for a few days in a row. At the very least, your surgeon will instruct you to mist the grafted area with a medicated spray every hour for the first 3 or 4 days.
They might also give you a prescription for an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic medication to use for several days. Most patients can go back to work anywhere from four to five days after the procedure.
The transplanted hair will begin to fall out approximately two to three weeks following the surgery; however, you should begin to see new growth within 3 or 4 months after the procedure. After six to nine months, most patients will experience 60% of new hair growth.
Thinking about a hair transplant and not sure where to begin?
Many treatment methods can be pursued in the event you are having hair loss or thinning hair. However, no one treatment can ensure success and the costs can soon add up, particularly given that hair loss therapies are rarely reimbursed by insurance.
Suppose you have discussed treatments with your physician or discovered that other conventional therapies for hair regeneration have yet to work for you. In that case, you should investigate the possibility of getting a hair transplant. If your medical team believes you have a strong chance of seeing positive results from this treatment and you are a good candidate for the transplant, you should consider it.
Contemplating a hair transplant? Not sure if this could be the right treatment for your unique situation? Our hair restoration specialists in Houston will be more than happy to give a free hair transplant consultation to you or to assist you with your questions for free.
Dua, A. &. (2010). Follicular unit extraction hair transplant. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery.
Ors. (2017). Hair Transplantation in Migraine Headache Patients. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open.
S., G. (2016). Outcome of Intra-operative Injected Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy During Follicular Unit Extraction Hair Transplant: A Prospective Randomised Study in Forty Patients. . J Cutan Aesthet Surg. .