Hair transplantation involves the removal of small grafts of hair from the scalp from a donor site to be transferred to a bald or thinning area.
Hair transplant techniques include:
- Grafts and scalp expansion are techniques used for patients who want a more drastic change
Hair loss: when is it not normal?
Baldness is often attributed to:
- Poor circulation in the scalp
- Vitamin deficiencies
Hair loss is mainly caused by a combination of:
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Heredity baldness
And also as a result of:
Hair transplant candidates
Hair transplant candidates must have healthy hair growth on the back and sides of the head so that these areas can be used as donor areas (M shape). The donor areas are the areas of the head from which the hair strips for grafting can be taken.
Other factors, such as:
- Waviness of the hair
can affect the aesthetic results.
There are a number of techniques used for hair transplantation.
Sometimes, two or more techniques are used to achieve the best results.
The transplant can improve the appearance, but the results are not necessarily the desired ones.
Before deciding to have such a surgery you should have realistic expectations and be aware that there are limits to what can be achieved. A completely bald individual should not undergo a hair transplant.
After a hair transplant
How you feel after surgery will depend on the type and complexity of the procedure.
Any pain can be controlled with medications prescribed by your doctor.
If bandages are used, these are usually removed after 1 day.
You can wash your hair 2 days after the surgery.
Any stitches will be removed after 1 week to 10 days.
It is important to follow the surgeon's advice and check-ups carefully. You should be informed about how best to manage:
Immediately after surgery you may be required to avoid vigorous exercise and contact sports for at least 3 weeks.
Getting back to normal after a hair transplant
Healing is personal, so the times also vary from individual to individual.
There are also other variables that can influence the healing process, among them:
- Length of the procedure
- Type of surgery
Many patients who have undergone a hair transplant are amazed to see that their new hair still falls out after surgery. This hair loss is normal and almost always temporary.
After this hair loss it will take 5 to 6 weeks before the natural hair growth resumes.
Post-transplant revision surgery
Revision surgery may be necessary to improve results and give your hair the most natural look possible. The doctor can only intervene after the hair has healed completely.
In general, you should be aware of any revision surgery even before the transplant.
How a hair transplant is carried out
Hair transplantation involves removing strips of hair from the scalp so that they can be grafted from the donor site into a bald or thinning area.
The grafts differ in shape and size.
Generally, several surgical sessions may be required to obtain satisfactory results with an interval of several months between each session (the final result may take up to 2 years).
Your doctor will take care of the removal and placement of grafts to ensure that:
- The transplanted hair will grow in the natural direction of the original hair
- The hair growth at the donor site is not damaged
In recent years, plastic surgeons have made considerable progress in the use of various techniques for a more natural result.
Risks of hair transplantation
Hair transplant surgery is generally safe when performed by a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. However, the result is never completely predictable:
- due to physical reactions
- due to healing ability
because these are individual variables.
As with any surgical procedure, the following can occur:
- excessive bleeding
- non-rooting of grafts
- unnatural patchy hair ("leopard spots")
Hair transplant in women
Some doctors estimate that 1 in 5 women experience hair loss, usually caused by:
- hormonal changes after menopause
Women tend to experience subtle thinning over the entire scalp, rather than losing their hair in patches as is common in men.
To solve this problem, some women choose to wear a wig or apply extensions.
Hair transplant versus medication
Some success has been achieved with the use of a topical prescription drug. The effectiveness of such drugs varies from patient to patient and simply prevents further hair loss without stimulating any appreciable new growth.
A hair transplant may be the answer for those who feel uncomfortable with one of these options.
If you are considering a hair transplant, it is important to understand that you will never get back the hair you had before the hair loss. Surgery can camouflage thinning areas as it will increase the volume of your hair.
Consultation for hair transplant
The surgery is an individualised treatment.
In the initial consultation, the surgeon will evaluate:
- hair growth
- hair loss
- family history of hair loss
- previous hair replacement surgery
- blood clotting problems
- tendency to form excessive scarring
- smoking, drugs or medicines, especially acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) or other medicines that affect clotting
If you decide to go ahead, the surgeon will explain:
- type of facility where the surgery will be performed
- the risks
- post-op care
- the treatment
Hair transplant surgery is very common. The advice is always to be fully aware of what you will be facing and what you should expect.