What is Hair transplantation ?
Hair transplantation is a surgical method for treating baldness where hair follicles are transplanted from the occipital or temporal areas to the balding areas. The donor region’s hair follicles (the “permanent hair” zone) are healthy and maintain their anatomical and physiological properties almost until the end of life. The outcome of hair transplantation is the replacement of hair follicles from parts of the scalp with large numbers of hair follicles to areas of hair loss. This results in the redistribution of a person’s own hair. Hair transplantation is the only effective way to restore hair in cases of scar and androgenic alopecia (hair loss).
Hair transplantation aims to restore a more youthful appearance for those distressed by hair loss, particularly androgenetic alopecia.
Hair transplant surgery is a procedure used to treat hair loss. Various techniques are available, but all hair transplants involve taking hair-bearing skin from one part of the scalp and grafting these pieces of skin onto bald or thinning areas of the scalp or areas of trauma.
Hair loss may be due to common male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia), scalp inflammation, or injury to the scalp. Injuries from burns, scalds, surgery, or car accidents may leave permanent areas of hair loss that can be concealed by hair transplantation.
There are many reasons why someone might lose their hair. Sometimes hair loss is temporary, but it can also be permanent. Hair implants may help with permanent hair loss caused by:
- Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles.
- Androgenic alopecia, or pattern baldness.
- Thyroid diseases or hormonal imbalances.
- Traumatic injuries or burns.
You may be a candidate for hair replacement surgery if you have:
- Androgenetic alopecia in a male or female.
- Scar alopecia after surgery on the face and head, after burns, injuries, and certain inflammatory skin diseases.
- A deep receding hairline in the frontotemporal area, as well as a highly situated front line of hair growth (mostly hereditary).
- A need for correction or restoration of eyebrow form, beard, mustache.
- A need for correction of the front line after a failed hair removal in the frontal region.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction, or FUE, is a type of hair transplant procedure that involves first shaving the back of your head. While the patient is under local anesthesia, individual hair follicles are harvested from the back of the head, and tiny incisions are placed in the scalp. The individual follicles that were removed from the back of the head are inserted into these incisions, and the surgical site is covered with gauze or bandages.
Follicular Unit Transplantation(FUT)
With follicular unit transplantation (FUT), a strip of the scalp is removed from the back of the patient’s head, and the area where the scalp was removed is closed with stitches. Next, the surgeon will separate the strip of scalp into smaller pieces with a scalpel, in order to isolate hair follicles. These smaller pieces are called grafts. A surgeon will sometimes separate the original strip of scalp into thousands of grafts, which will contain between one and four hair follicles. Next, using a needle or blade and a microscope, the surgeon will make small holes in the scalp where the grafts are to be transplanted. Grafts are then inserted into these holes at the donor site, and the surgical site is covered with bandages or gauze. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
The main difference between an FUE hair transplant and a FUT hair transplant is how the hair is extracted. With a FUT hair transplant, the removal of a strip of hair at the back of the head will result in a linear scar, whereas the extraction and transplantation of individual follicular units done during a FUE hair transplant results in far more minimal scarring overall — a scar resulting from an FUE transplant will look like a small dot. Many patients who have had a FUT hair transplant may wish to grow their hair longer, to cover linear scars.
FUT hair transplant generally takes less time than an FUE hair transplant, though this will depend on the patient, and the amount of hair being transplanted overall.
Follicular Unit Transplantation(FUT)
What to expect
You will have been given a set of instructions to follow before your surgery. These may vary according to the type of procedure, but whatever form they take they must be adhered to.
They may include the following:
Do not have alcohol in the three days before your surgery. It is better if you have your last alcoholic drink a week before your surgery.
Don’t have a hair cut before your surgery. It is important to let the donor area grow so that there is enough for the transplant. Plus it will cover the stitches following your surgery.
The doctor may ask you to have a blood test.
Avoid taking antidepressants, beta-blockers and blood thinning drugs two weeks before surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of what medications you can and cannot take beforehand.
You’ll need to avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
Frequently asked questions
FUT and FUE are performed under a local anesthetic, therefore you should only feel a mild discomfort. You may feel some initial sensation as the anesthesia is administered but this feels more like pulling and tugging rather than pain.
Don’t expect to see a full head of hair immediately after the treatment. It takes around 3 to 6 months for the initial hair growth to occur and hair growth should increase by 10% per month after the 4th month.
When you have hair grafted from the back and sides of your scalp to your balding areas, called an autograft, the hair will grow for the rest of your life.
A region of balding or thinning scalp the size of a closed fist requires approximately 1500 grafts to fill in appropriately. The number of grafts required is best determined during a consultation with your hair transplant surgeon.
Anyone who is fit enough to undergo a multi-hour surgery with waking sedation can undergo hair transplant surgery. There have been successful hair transplant surgeries on several patients in their seventies with good results. It really all depends on the general overall health of the individual. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic medical ailments can rule you out as a good candidate; however, if conditions are well managed they may not be a determining factor at all.
The surgery can take anywhere from 10-12 hours depending on the complexity and size of the case.
Women have excellent success with hair transplants.
Patients in their early 20s may be good candidates for hair transplantation. In cases with young patients, future hair loss must be carefully considered to ensure an aesthetically viable long term outcome. Additionally, a second hair transplant procedure after a few years may be considered as new areas of hair loss develop. Determining a family history of hair loss greatly improves the ability of the hair restoration surgeon to determine the best course of treatment.
Yes, and that is very common, your surgeon may recommend more than one session to obtain the optimal results. A second hair transplant can be performed many years later to accommodate future hair loss.
Immediately after surgery, the transplanted area may have some very small circular scabs that will last less than a week. They can be covered by hats during that time. The small scars left by FUE are almost undetectable shortly after the surgery. A FUT excision scar will only be visible if hair surrounding the scar is worn extremely short.