What is hair transplantation?
Hair Transplantation aims to restore hair growth to areas of the scalp with limited or absent growth. They are effective treatments for many types of hair loss, but they cannot stop future hair loss. For lasting results, people may need follow-up transplants.
Hair loss and thinning are a common part of aging, but it can also be caused by a medical condition or an injury to the scalp. Some people who experience hair loss may opt for a hair transplant for cosmetic or reshaping reasons.
Hair transplantation is a procedure in which a plastic surgeon or dermatologist transfers hair to a hairless area of the head. The surgeon usually moves the hair from the back or side of the head to the front or top of the head.
Hair transplantation is usually done in a doctor’s office under local anaesthesia.
Most of the hair loss is due to baldness. It all comes down to genetics. The remaining cases are due to several reasons:
- Hormonal imbalance
Types of hair transplantation
During a hair transplant, a surgeon removes follicles from dense hair, such as the back of the head, which they call a donor area. Next, they place the follicles in small incisions in the affected area of the skin.
There are two main types of hair transplants:
- Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS). The surgeon removes a strip of skin from the donor area and closes the incision with a suture. Next, they separated the donor skin into small follicular units containing one or more hair follicles using a microscope and inserted these units into the desired area.
- Follicular unit extraction (FUE). The surgeon uses a small piercing tool to remove the follicles from the donor area. Although this procedure still produces some scars, they may be less noticeable and the person usually does not need stitches.
The two methods are effective but can achieve different results in some cases. The authors of the 2019 article noted that FUE requires more experience and takes longer than FUSS, but noted that FUE gives excellent results if the surgeon is highly experienced in technology.
In most cases, surgeons use the side or back of the head as the donor area. However, it is also effective to remove the skin from the chin, back, or chest. Using body hair can help those who do not have thick hair at the back or sides of the head.
Some research suggests that removing hair from the body or chin takes longer and requires more skill than using hair from the skin. However, another study reports that the donor’s hair is an “excellent source” for hair and beard transplants.
Surgeon implants can take several hours for each procedure, depending on how many follicles and both contain a local anaesthetic. Generally, a person can go home on the day of treatment.
Why is the hair transplantation procedure performed?
Since the causes of hair loss are broad-spectrum, there are many treatment options, including hair transplantation. Except for androgenetic or male hair loss, the cause should be investigated first. Once the root cause is identified, treated, or removed, your doctor will proceed to wait for the hair to grow back. During this period, you can take steps to improve the look, such as makeup and wig, wearing a scarf or a hat. If hair loss is believed to be reversible, medications such as minoxidil, medications, nutrients, and acupuncture that promote and accelerate hair growth can be tried. Also, a healthy diet, proper hair care, hair care products, and hair dyes, and avoiding perms can contribute to hair loss.
Recently, hair mesotherapy has also shown good results in selected patients. Finally, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment for hair regrowth. Blood is drawn from the person, who undergoes a special procedure, the resulting solution is injected into the bald area. Its goal is to make hair grow back by nourishing the scalp. PRP can be used alone or in combination with mesotherapy. However, hair transplantation is the perfect treatment for androgenetic hair loss and other types of hair loss.
Burns and major surgeries. However, there are also situations where hair transplantation does not help. First, the donor must have a sufficient number of healthy hair follicles. Also, additional pre-transplant procedures may be required or the hair transplant may not be performed because the scalp does not allow hair transplantation. If the condition is not contrary to hair transplantation, hair transplantation provides a “natural-looking” solution.
Before hair transplantation
- Do not use aspirin and vitamins B and E or other similar medications 1 week before the operation.
- If you drink alcohol, do not drink alcohol 3 days before the operation.
- What if you have a drug allergy? Inform your doctor at the hospital office.
- If possible, do not smoke 24 hours before the operation. Don’t forget that smoking increases recovery time.
- If you are using medications for chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, tuberculosis, etc.) or serious illnesses, you must inform your doctor in the hospital consultation.
- Bring a comfortable button-down front shirt and sweatpants.
- Do not use gel or sprays before the operation.
- Please bring comfortable clothes. Wear button-down front clothing for hair transplantation.
Does hair transplantation work?
Hair transplants tend to be more successful than over-the-counter hair restoration products. But there are a few things to consider:
- The reliable source of transplanted hair is 10 to 80 per cent fully developed anywhere in three to four months.
- As with normal hair, transplanted hair tends to thin over time.
- A reliable source from a 2016 study suggests that people with dormant hair follicles (they generally have hair under their skin but no longer grows hair) may have a less effective transplant, although plasma therapy may help 75 per cent or completely replace the transplanted hair.
- Hair transplantation does not work for everyone. They are mainly used to restore hair if you have lost hair due to baldness or thinning or injury.
Many transplants are being done with your current hair, so they are not as effective in treating people:
- Great thinning and baldness
- Hair loss due to chemotherapy or other medications.
- Thick skin scars from wounds.
Side effects of hair transplantation
The most common side effect is scarring and it cannot be prevented in any way.
Other possible side effects:
- Scab or pus drainage around the surgical sites
- Pain, itching, and swelling of the scalp
- Loss of sensation around the surgical sites.
- Areas of hair that do not match or are thinner than the surrounding hair
- Continue losing hair if your hair is still bald
Minoxidil and Propecia also cause side effects, including:
- Irritated scalp
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rate
- Swelling of the hands, feet, or breast
- Sexual dysfunction.
What happens during hair transplantation?
After your scalp is completely clean, a surgeon will use a small needle to numb the area of your head with local anaesthesia.
Two main methods are used to obtain follicles for transplantation: FUT and FUE.
In follicular unit transplantation (FUT):
- The surgeon uses a scalpel to cut a strip of skin from the back of the head. The incision is usually several inches long.
- Then it is closed with stitches.
- The surgeon then separates the removed part of the scalp into smaller sections with a magnifying glass and a sharp scalpel. When adjusted, these sections help achieve natural-looking hair growth.
In follicular unit extraction (FUE), hair follicles are cut directly from the back of the head using hundreds or thousands of small punch incisions.
- The surgeon makes small holes with a blade or needle in the area of your scalp that will receive the hair transplant. They keep delicate hair in these holes.
- In one treatment session, a surgeon can transplant hundreds or thousands of hairs.
- Then a graft, gauze, or bandage will cover your scalp for a few days.
- A hair transplant session can last up to four hours or more. The stitches will be removed 10 days after surgery.
- You may need three or four sessions to achieve the full head of hair you want. The sessions take place over a period of several months for each transplant to heal completely.
What happens after a hair transplant?
Your scalp may be sore, and you may need to take medication after hair transplant surgery.
- Pain medication
- Antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation.
- Most people can return to work several days after surgery.
It is common for transplanted hair to come out after two to three weeks. It gives way to new hair growth. Most people see new hair growth 8 to 12 months after surgery.
Most doctors prescribe minoxidil (rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia), a hair growth drug for hair growth. These medications can also help slow or stop future hair loss.
What are the complications related to hair transplantation?
The side effects of a hair transplant are usually minor and clear within a few weeks.
- Inflammation of the scalp
- Injuries around the eyes.
- A crust that forms on the scalp where hair has been removed or placed
- Numbness or lack of feeling in the treated areas of the skin.
- Inflammation or infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis.
- Shock damage or sudden but usually temporary damage to the transplanted hair
- Unnatural-looking strands of hair.
Treatment risks and costs
The cost of a hair transplant largely depends on the hair you are moving, but it generally ranges from $ 4,000 to $ 15,000. Most insurance plans do not cover this.
As with any surgery, transplantation carries some risks, such as bleeding and infection. There is also the possibility of new hair growth that looks freckled and unnatural.
When the new strands begin to grow, some people have an inflammation or infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis. Antibiotics and compresses can reduce the problem. It’s also possible to suddenly lose the original hair where you got the new strands called shock loss. But for the most part, it is not permanent.
Talk to your doctor about these risks and how much you can improve with surgery. He can help you decide if this is a good option for you.
Each FUT and FUE can take anywhere from several hours to several days to complete. To some extent, this depends on the work the surgeon does. You will go home the same day the procedure was performed.
After the surgery is complete, your surgeon will carefully remove any bandages. This area may be inflamed, so your surgeon may inject triamcinolone to reduce the inflammation.
You may experience aches and pains at the transplant site and where your hair was removed. Over the next few days, your surgeon may suggest:
- Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil)
- Antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Anti-inflammatory substances such as oral steroids to relieve inflammation.
- Medications such as Finasteride (Propecia) or Minoxidil (Rogain) to stimulate hair growth.
Here are some aftercare tips for hair transplant surgery:
- Wait a few days after surgery to wash your hair. Use only mild shampoos for the first few weeks.
- You can return to work or normal activities in about 3 days.
- Do not press or brush new grafts for about 3 weeks.
- Do not wear caps, pullovers, and jackets until approved by your doctor.
- Don’t exercise for a week.
- Don’t worry if some hair falls out. This is part of the process. The transplanted hair may not grow very long for a few months or it may fit the surrounding hair perfectly.
Hair transplants are effective methods of restoring hair growth for several reasons. The success rate of hair transplant surgery depends on many factors, including the skill and experience of the surgeon and the thickness of the person’s donor hair.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a hair transplant provides a modest change in the integrity of the hair. For drastic changes, people may opt for skin flap surgery, tissue enlargement, or skin reduction techniques.
No major studies are listing specific hair transplant success rates. However, many studies and short articles have provided information on the effectiveness of these approaches.
One study found that most people who had FUE combined with body or chin hair and scalp hair were dissatisfied with the results after an average of 2.9 years. Of the 79 participants, overall satisfaction averaged 8.3 out of 10.
According to another study, FUE hair transplantation was successful due to the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment with FUE. All participants in the PRP group had more than 75% hair regrowth after 6 months. They improved hair density and skin regeneration much faster than in the PRP-free group.