A hair transplant is a type of cosmetic surgery that focuses on primarily treating male pattern baldness and various forms of Alopecia. Also referred to as hair restoration or hair replacement, this procedure is done by removing hair follicles from one area in the body ( donor site) to the area where there is hair loss (recipient site). In most cases, hair grafts are taken from the back and side portion of the head and transplanted to the front or top of the head. Initially, the transplanted hair will shed and stay dormant for about 6-12 weeks. After which, new hair will start to grow.
Considered to be the gold standard in hair restoration, hair transplant surgery is also proven to be generally safe, with highly successful results.
The primary goal of hair transplant is to treat baldness by restoring hair growth in areas where there is limited or no hair. While proven effective in treating baldness, it does not guarantee protection from future hair loss.
$3,950 to $8,000
Hair Transplants are usually done on an out-patient basis and can be performed in the doctor’s clinic.
After cleaning your scalp, the surgeon administers local anesthesia to the back of your head to numb the area. A piece of hair-bearing skin is then removed from either the back or side portion of your scalp ( donor area). Various surgical instruments are used to harvest skin grafts such as a round tube or scalpel. After removing the strip, this area is sewn and the scalp is closed. This strip is then dissected into small pieces called micro grafts ( with 2-3 hairs) and mini grafts ( with 8-10 hairs). These small pcs of skin graft are then carefully planted on the area where there is hair loss ( recipient site).
The tiny micrografts allow natural-looking, feathery hairlines to be planted. This helps avoid the pluggy look which results from implanting large hair grafts. For added volume, mini grafts may also be planted behind the hairline.
Depending on the degree of hair loss, several sessions and 1,500 to 2,000 pcs of micrografts may be required to achieve the desired result. In some cases, extremely large areas of baldness require up to 4,000 follicles for each session.
A hair transplant surgery is extremely delicate and the procedure is quite lengthy, with some procedures lasting up to 8 hours. Within 24 hours post-surgery, small crusts will start to form around the grafted areas and will shed within 7-10 days. In 6-12 weeks, the grafted hair will start to grow and will continue growing during your lifetime.
There are two widely-used techniques for obtaining follicles for transplantation. Follicular Unit Extraction ( FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation. These two techniques differ in the way follicular hair follicles are taken out from the donor area.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
With FUE, each follicular unit is carefully uprooted from the donor area without having to strip any scalp tissue. These follicles are individually taken out from the back or side portion of the head through thousands of tiny incisions. Using a blade or needle, the surgeon makes tiny holes in the recipient area, then gently implants the follicles in these holes. After surgery, gauze or bandage should protect your scalp and you will have to keep these in place for a few days. Local or twilight anesthesia is administered to numb the surgical during the procedure, and both donor and recipient areas are expected to heal within a week.
Follicular Hair Transplantation ( FUT)
Also known as the Strip procedure, FUT is a widely used technique in hair restoration that involves the harvesting of healthy hair-bearing skin from the scalp ( usually from the side and back head region ) and transplanting it to the area where there is hair loss.
During the procedure, the surgeon removes a strip of skin from the scalp using a scalpel. Using a high-powered microscope, individual hair follicles are taken out from the strip and carefully transplanted to the recipient area. Using a magnifying glass, the surgeon separates the strip into small sections to help achieve realistic-looking hair growths. Meanwhile, stitches are made to close the donor area and are expected to heal within a week.
During surgery, grafts are kept safe in holding solutions that help guarantee their viability and optimum growth.
proper calculation of the number of grafts needed is also essential in ensuring the best possible result of hair restoration surgery.
During a pre-treatment consultation, the surgeon will evaluate vital information such as medical history and provide you with important details regarding the surgery. This is also a good time to ask questions and raise concerns. Most importantly, the surgeon will provide you with specific pre-treatment instructions which you will need to follow to help ensure successful results.
To increase the chances of a successful recovery, the attending doctor will provide you with post-operative instructions. You will also be informed of what to expect during the first couple of days after surgery.
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While Hair Transplant Surgery is regarded as a safe and minor cosmetic surgical procedure, there are still a few risks and side effects that come with it. The likelihood of these occurring cannot be predicted and depends largely on individual health and reaction to the healing process.
How long will I need to be admitted?
Hair Transplant surgery is done on an outpatient basis. Therefore, you are allowed to go home right after the procedure. You will be instructed to come back the next day to have your hair and scalp cleaned, three days after for your follow-up consultation, and a week after for the suture removal.
Will I be asleep during the procedure?
You will be administered a local, or twilight anesthesia to numb the area during treatment. This may relax you and you will feel drowsy, but you should still be awake during the procedure.
Can I undergo the procedure again if my grafts do not 'take'?
As long as you still have enough donor hair available, you may still undergo another hair transplant procedure.
What are the causes of hair loss?
The most common cause of hair loss is male pattern baldness, also referred to as Androgenetic Alopecia. This usually follows a pattern of thinning hair and receding hairline. It is often caused by a person's inherent sensitivity to the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which causes hair follicles to shrink, die and fail to reproduce.
Sensitivity to DHT can also occur in women and female hormones may trigger the pattern and hair loss they will experience.
Other factors that may contribute to hair loss include age, obesity, pregnancy, menopause, illness, or medication.
Am I suitable for Hair Transplant Surgery?
Because hair transplant involves the transfer of hair from a donor to a recipient area, you need to ensure that you have enough healthy hair follicles to cover the entire procedure. They should also be strong enough to endure the transplantation process. Apart from this, a suitable candidate for a hair transplant should be healthy enough to achieve successful results. Hair restoration treatment may enhance your look but it cannot guarantee to match your ideal. For this reason, a thorough discussion with the doctor is encouraged to help align your goals to realistic expectations and should help you decide whether you want to go through the transplant.
What are Follicular Units?
Follicular units are small groups of hair follicles that normally comprise 1-4 strands of hair.
Do hair transplants work?
Hair transplant surgery is acknowledged to be the most effective cosmetic surgery to treat various types of hair loss. On average, success rates of transferred follicular units can go as high as 95-99%. With efficient people handling the procedure, it is relatively safe with minimal side effects and discomfort. Adherence to pre and post-surgical care instructions is also important in ensuring successful results.
How long do hair transplants last?
Hair transplants are designed for permanence and should last a lifetime. However, proper maintenance and regular after-care consultations are necessary to achieve long-lasting, even permanent results.
Is the hair transplant painful?
Local anesthesia is administered before the procedure, so there is no pain felt during surgery. As the effects of the anesthesia wear off, you may feel a little pain with itching and you will notice some swelling. These are all normal side effects and may be managed with ice packs and medication.
Do hair transplants grow?
Yes, hair transplants grow but will take a few months to do so. Once it does, they will look completely natural and indistinguishable from your natural hair.
Do hair transplants look real?
Generally, hair transplants are realistic looking because they are actual hair taken from follicle-growing areas of the head. When surrounded by real hair, the volume of implants helps create a natural appearance.
What causes male pattern baldness?
Male pattern baldness is usually a result of genetics, medical conditions, hormonal changes, or simply a natural process that comes with aging. Studies also show that baldness is genetic and that some people are born to develop sensitivity to the hormone DHT, which causes hair follicles to shrink.
What will the long-lasting effects of a hair transplant look like for me?
Hair transplant surgery is meant to be permanent and with proper care, patients will continue growing hair during their lifetime. This of course depends on factors such as hair density, scalp laxity, and hair quality. While transplanted hair will continue to grow, the treatment doesn't prevent further hair loss in the untreated areas, so additional surgeries may be necessary if you want permanent-looking results.