A Closer Look at Hair Transplant Procedure

Unfortunately, the saying “you can run, but you can’t hide” holds very true when it comes to hair loss. Hair loss is a natural phenomenon that impacts everyone in varying degrees, and at various stages in life. This is especially true for hereditary hair loss as you cannot run away from what genetics have in store for you. While the process is gradual for most individuals, others might begin to see the effects fairly early on in life, which may lead to emotional and psychological stress.

Thus, begins the never-ending quest for finding the ultimate solution for hair loss problems; but is there a solution that actually works? In short, hair loss treatment and cures can be complex. While there are several hair growth remedies and hair loss solutions one can opt for, the type of treatment or solution one should choose varies for each person and each hair loss case.

While some issues can be cured, or treated with medication, other conditions (especially in the advanced stages) require more advanced forms of treatment. Hair transplant is increasingly gaining popularity, as a credible technique for hair restoration. Below is a quick summary explaining the basics of the surgery.

Hair Transplant – How Do They Do It?

A typical hair transplant technique involves removing hair follicles from donor areas of a person’s head (typically at the back and sides of the head) and transplanting them to the recipient areas, where hair is needed. The procedure is generally performed while the patient is under a local anesthetic, so the surgery is considered minor and outpatient.

In the traditional strip method, the procedure starts by cleansing the scalp area, which is then numbed with a local anesthetic; the surgeon then removes a slim strip of scalp. Once the strip is removed, the area is sewed shut. The sutured area is not overly visible, and most transplant patients keep the light resulting scar hidden under their hair.

Next, the strip of scalp is divided into tiny grafts of hair, containing either an individual hair or maybe a few strands of hair. The number of grafts created solely depends on the type of hair, color, quality, as well as the area where the grafts will be transplanted. The area where the grafts are to be transplanted is then cleansed and anesthetized. From there, the grafts are placed accordingly in the bald areas that need hair.

In the follicular unit extraction method, individual follicular unit grafts are excised one at a time using a tiny one millimeter in diameter (or less) instrument. The device is used to make a small circular incision in the skin around the follicular unit. The graft is then extracted directly from the scalp.

The small opening left behind after the follicle unit is extracted heals in a few days. The tiny aperture contracts as it heals, making the resulting round scar less noticeable. The FUE patient typically ends up with many small light colored scars, which are normally not detectable to the naked eye once the patient’s hair grows out.

Follicular Unit

Extraction is different from the traditional FUT hair replacement procedures in one key way: follicular units are extracted directly from the scalp in FUE whereas follicles are microscopically dissected from a strip that has already been removed in FUT.

How Much Time Does It Take to Complete the Procedure?

Typically, a surgical hair restoration procedure can take up between 5 to 8 hours, depending on the extent and scope of the surgery. Most established clinics keep entertainment, such as movies or TV, handy, to occupy the patients’ time.

Post-Surgery Care The post-surgery care usually involves a regimen of pain and antibiotic medications, for possible post-op pain, inflammation, or infection, followed by other measures such as a wearing a surgical dressing over the scalp for a couple of days.

The End Result

Two to three weeks after the hair transplant surgery, you may begin to notice that some of the transplanted hair will fall out. Subsequently, you will start seeing new hair growth within a short period of time. Ideally, most people achieve approximately 60% hair growth in a 6-9-month time frame. Your physician also might prescribe additional oral or topical medication, to stimulate hair growth during this period.

A Word of Advice

While hair transplant is definitely an effective way to get rid of hair loss problems, seeking appropriate advice and consultation is a very important step for the success of the procedure. You also need to set your expectations, in terms of how the procedure will be performed, and what will be the end result. Talk to an expert and get to know all possible aspects of hair transplant surgery, including the inherent risks, benefits, and other outcomes.

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