Hair transplant surgery is one of the most effective ways to restore your thinning or balding hair, and it can provide long-lasting results. However, before you decide to undergo this procedure, it is essential to understand the process, requirements, and preparation involved.
The donor area for hair transplant surgery is a region of the scalp with enough healthy hair to survive, typically the back of the head, but in some cases, the beard can also act as a source of the donor’s hair. The treatment involves removing these hair follicles from their original location, preparing them, and then moving them to the bald or thinning areas. There are several methods of achieving this, the two most established being FUT and DHI hair transplantation. FUT involves a surgeon cutting a strip of skin from the scalp (the thickness of this strip will depend on the number of follicles required), which is then dissected into individual hair follicle units or grafts, either using a scalpel or a laser. Each graft will then be relocated to the balding or thinning areas of the scalp. When it comes to DHI, the process is even more precise. Individual follicles are extracted from the donor site using a specialist implanter tool, which then allows them to be inserted into the bald or thinning areas of the scalp. DHI hair restoration is considered the gold standard for modern transplantation. The technique is known for creating a natural-looking full head of hair that will last for life.
After numbing the back of your head with injections, surgeons cut off a 6- to 10-inch strip from the hair-bearing part of your scalp (the donor area). They then sew it closed or use it to cover up a scar from another surgery. They may also remove a strip from the nape of your neck or other areas for the same purpose. Next, surgeons create tiny holes in your scalp and insert healthy hair follicles. They can also transplant a larger group of hairs at once. The resulting scar is usually tiny and easily concealed with the rest of your hair. You can choose from two main methods: Follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) or follicular unit extraction (FUE). In FUE, your doctor uses a tube-like instrument to punch round grafts from the top of your scalp. These are then transplanted into the bald or thinning area of your head. Other techniques that can cover a larger area include flap surgery, where surgeons raise and move an entire section of skin with its original blood supply from the surrounding hair-bearing area and tissue expansion. Your doctor can also recommend a medicine that helps prevent or slow new hair loss and thinning after your hair transplant surgery. You should carefully follow your surgeon’s post-procedure instructions to ensure your transplanted follicles survive and grow as they should.
Hair transplant surgery is used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest, and pubic hair and to fill in scars from other surgeries such as face-lifts. Hair transplantation differs from skin grafting in that the hair-bearing skin is separated into many tiny grafts, and most of the epidermis and dermis surrounding the follicle are preserved. The procedure begins with your surgeon sterilizing and numbing the area with local anesthesia or sedation. Once it is numb, they will remove a strip of scalp from the back of your head. This strip can be 6 to 10 inches long and may stretch from ear to ear. Your doctor will then close the area with stitches. Once the scalp is removed, your doctor will use one of two transplant methods: FUT or FUE. They will then divide the scalp strip into smaller pieces or slivers, each containing a single hair. They will then place these slivers in the areas of your head where the hair is thinning or balding. You must be careful not to disturb your grafts after the procedure. Some crusting and scabs may develop at the treatment site, but these should fall off within a week or two. You must follow your doctor’s advice for aftercare, as this will help minimize complications and maximize the benefits of your surgery. Most patients begin to see results between six and nine months after their session.
When done correctly by an experienced surgeon, hair transplant surgery can provide a long-term solution to thinning and balding. After a person’s surgery, they must follow their surgeon’s post-procedure instructions. They may need to take antibiotics to reduce infection risk or use a special shampoo to keep the area clean. They should also avoid putting their hair in tight hats or pullover clothing for a few days. During the first few weeks after a transplant, hair may fall out. But after a few months, new hairs should begin to grow. It typically takes 12 to 18 months for the results of a hair transplant to become fully visible. Advances in hair transplant technology allow for natural-looking results. Unlike the 1970s and 80s hair plugs, which looked artificial, today’s surgeons transplant healthy follicles one at a time. This helps them create a natural-looking hairline and ensures that the transplanted follicles blend in with existing ones. Thanks to these advancements, many people need to notice their results.