Some people experience hair loss or a receding hairline as they get older. One of the ways to treat this is to get a hair transplant. On average, follicular units are how our head hair grows. Typically, each unit contains one to four distinct hair follicles.
A hair transplant is a procedure where a doctor moves follicular units from another part of your body to the areas of your head where you’re going bald.
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What is a Hair Transplant?
It’s a kind of surgery where the hair you already have is moved to cover bald or sparse areas. In the US, doctors have been performing these transplants. since the 1950s, but techniques have changed a lot in recent years.
How Do Hair Transplants work?
In order to remove the hair follicles from the back of your head, the doctor will first clean your scalp and administer an injection to make the area numb. There are two distinctly different procedures that your doctor can choose from:
- FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)
You’ll need to shave the back of your head. Next, the physician will take each hair follicle in that region and remove them. Little blood specks will start to appear from those roots as a result. Typically, this is hidden by the hair in the vicinity. The doctor will then use a scalpel or a needle to carefully create tiny holes where these hair grafts will be neatly placed after numbing the area where the hair will go.
What is the Process of a Hair Transplant?
The treatment is typically administered in the doctor’s office. The surgeon will first clean your scalp and administer anesthesia to numb the back of your head. Follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) are the two transplantation techniques that your doctor will use.
The back of your head is exposed when you have FUSS, and the surgeon removes a 6- to 10-inch strip of skin. The scalp was closed by sewing, and it was set aside. The hair surrounding it instantly conceals this area.
The surgical team then separates the strip of scalp that was removed into 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts, each with one or a few hairs. Your hair’s type, quality, and color, as well as the size of the area receiving the transplant, will determine the number and kind of grafts you receive.
The surgical team will shave the back of your scalp if you are having the FUE procedure. The doctor will then remove each hair follicle from that area one at a time. Your natural hair will hide the tiny dots of healing skin.
Both steps are identical after that. The surgeon cleans and numbs the area where the hair will grow, makes holes or slits with a scalpel or needle, and then carefully inserts each graft into one of the holes. The grafts will likely be planted with assistance from other team members as well.
The procedure will last 4 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the transplant you are receiving. If you keep losing hair or decide you’d like thicker hair in the future, you might require another procedure.
What Are the Risks of Hair Transplant?
Transplants carry some risks, including bleeding and infection, just like any type of surgery. Scarring and unnatural-looking new hair growth are other potential side effects.
Some people experience folliculitis, or hair follicle inflammation or infection, right when new hair begins to grow. The issue can be resolved with antibiotics and compresses. Shock loss, another possibility, is when you suddenly start to lose some of the original hair in the area where you grew the new hair. However, it rarely lasts a lifetime.
How Much to Have a Hair Transplant?
The cost of a hair transplant will largely depend on how much hair you need to move, but it typically costs between $4,000 and $15,000. Most insurance policies do not include it.
How Long for Hair Transplant Expectations and Recovery?
Your scalp may be extremely sensitive following the procedure. A few days may be required for you to take painkillers. For at least one or two days, your surgeon will instruct you to cover your scalp with bandages. Additionally, they might advise you to take an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory drug for a few days. 2 to 5 days after surgery, the majority of patients are able to resume their jobs.
The transplanted hair will start to fall out two to three weeks after surgery, but within a few months, new growth should start to appear. After 6 to 9 months, the majority of people will notice 60% of new hair growth. Although its effectiveness is unknown, some surgeons recommend the hair-growing medication minoxidil (Rogaine) to boost hair growth after transplantation.
Who Are Not Suitable for Hair Transplant?
Hair transplant is not suitable for:
- Women with a widespread pattern of hair loss throughout the entire scalp
- People who do not have enough “donor hair sites” from which to obtain hair from
- People who have a tendency to form bad scars such as keloids
- People whose hair loss is due to medication such as chemotherapy, or an autoimmune condition
What Should You Do After the Surgery?
Bandages will be applied to the treated areas for a number of days. In order to help manage the pain and stop infection, painkillers and antibiotics will be prescribed. When it’s time for you to resume gently washing your hair, your surgeon will examine your grafts and wounds in the clinic and give you the go-ahead.
Avoid pressure or trauma to the treated areas, chemicals like styling sprays or dyes, strenuous activities, and swimming while you’re recovering. 2 weeks should be enough time for you to resume your regular activities.
After the procedure, two to three weeks should pass before the transplanted hair starts to fall out. From the fourth month onward, new hair will typically begin to grow again, becoming denser as the month’s pass. Usually, after a year, the final outcome becomes apparent.
If you need more than one session of treatment, the subsequent session will be scheduled several months later to give the transplanted hairs time to survive and grow.
What Happens During a Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant should take four to eight hours to complete. You might need to return for a few hours the following day if you are having a significant amount of hair transplanted.
The majority of patients only require a scalp anesthetic and remain awake throughout the entire procedure. In order to unwind, some patients also take a mild sedative.
Your dermatologist will remove the healthy hairs first. Your dermatologist may trim a strip of skin from your scalp that contains healthy hairs or extract individual hairs in order to give you results that look natural.
The second option takes much longer, but it prevents your scalp from having a long, narrow scar. If you favor closely shaven haircuts like buzz cuts, this may be advantageous.
Technicians must prepare the extracted hairs before the surgeon can transplant them, and the surgeon must prepare your scalp for the transplant.
Two to three members of the hair transplant team may assist in putting healthy hairs in the area that needs hair, depending on how many hairs need to be transplanted. After every hair has been implanted, your scalp will be bandaged, and you will receive instructions for aftercare at home.
What is Hair Transplant Recovery Process?
Depending on the patient, the procedure may take a different amount of time. It might take four to eight hours to complete the procedure.
Your scalp may feel sore or painful to the touch following the procedure. You will need to take a number of painkillers that your doctor will prescribe for several days. You will also need to apply a bandage to your scalp for a few days over the affected areas. Antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed in some circumstances by the doctor to avoid any serious edema or infection.
Do Hair Transplants Work Permanently?
When hair is visibly thinning, hair transplants are a treatment option. The results of a hair transplant are considered permanent because you cannot undo them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your hair transplant will continue to look the same way after it heals for the rest of your life.
Is Hair Transplant Permanent?
Your hair growth will be affected favorably for life by hair transplants.
The newly implanted hair may follicle within two to three weeks. However, this will cause new growth, which you should notice a few weeks after the operation. After 6 to 9 months, most patients say they have noticed a 60% increase in new hair growth.
A hair transplant is a kind of surgery where the hair you already have is moved to cover bald or sparse areas. It is best to have a private conversation with your plastic surgeon about the risks and potential complications of surgery.