A hair transplant is a procedure in which a dermatological surgeon moves hair to a bald area of the head. The surgeon usually moves hair from the back or side of the head to the front or top of the head. Hair transplants typically occur in a medical office under local anesthesia.
There are two types of transplant procedures: slit grafts and micro-grafts. Slit grafts contain 4 to 10 hairs per graft. Micro-grafts contain one or two hairs per graft, depending on the amount of coverage needed.
Receiving a hair transplant can improve your appearance and self-confidence. Good candidates for a hair transplant include:
- men with male-pattern baldness
- women with thinning hair
- anyone who has lost some hair from a burn or scalp injury
Hair replacement isn’t a good option for:
- women with a wide-spread pattern of hair loss throughout the scalp
- people who don’t have enough “donor” hair sites from which to remove hair for transplant
- people who form keloid scars (thick, fibrous scars) after injury or surgery
- people whose hair loss is due to medication like chemotherapy
What Happens During a Hair Transplant?
After thoroughly cleaning your scalp, a surgeon will use a small needle to numb an area of your head with local anesthesia. Next, they’ll use a scalpel to remove a round section of your scalp covered with hair. Then they’ll sew the scalp closed.
The surgeon will separate the removed portion of scalp into small sections using a magnifying lens and sharp surgical knife. When implanted, these sections will help achieve natural-looking hair growth.
The surgeon will make tiny holes with a blade or needle in the area of your scalp receiving the hair transplant. They’ll gently place hairs in these holes. During one treatment session, a surgeon may transplant hundreds or even thousands of hairs.
After the graft, gauze or bandages will cover your scalp for a few days. A hair transplant session can take four hours or more.
Your stitches will be removed about 10 days after surgery. You may require up to three or four sessions to achieve the full head of hair you desire. Sessions occur several months apart to allow each transplant to fully heal.
What Happens After a Hair Transplant?
Your scalp may be sore and you may need to take medications following hair transplant surgery, such as:
- pain medication
- antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection
- anti-inflammatory medications to keep swelling down
Most people can return to work several days after surgery.
It’s normal for the transplanted hair to fall out two to three weeks after the procedure. This makes way for new hair growth. Most people will see about 60 percent new hair growth six to nine months after surgery.
Many doctors prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine) or propecia (a hair growth medication) to improve hair regrowth. These medications also help slow or stop future hair loss.
Steps for hair transplant
It is a surgical process that involves removal of hair follicles from any site in the body like face or legs and planting them on the hairless portion. This process is also used in transplanting hair in lashes and brows. The latest techniques are permanent and they pick up follicular clusters of hair. This process is called Follicular Hair Transplantation (FUT) which can be done in two ways, strip harvesting and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
In strip harvesting, skin strips with good hair growth are planted on balding areas and in follicular unit extraction hair clusters with their roots are manually removed and planted at the hairless site.
Strip harvesting is what the surgeons are mostly adopting these days. It leaves a slim scar at the donor site and promises recovery within two weeks.
FUE can be done in a single or several settings. It is a manual and time taking process but gives very natural results and leaves behind no marks. However, it is not a cost effective process and is time consuming both for the doctor and the patient. However use of robotics has reduced the time in this process and simplified it immensely.
Here are the steps:
1. Preparation for the hair transplant
In the initial step of the Hair Transplant Surgery, hair follicles from the back of the head are removed and relocated to the balding areas.
2. Donor area trimmed
Before the surgery is started, the hair in the donor area are trimmed.
3. Donor area prepared for surgery
Once the hair in the donor area are trimmed it is given local anesthesia.
4. Tissue in the donor area removed and the Donor area sutured.
The tissue in the donor area that contains the bald resistant hair follicles is then removed surgically and the donor area is sutured.
5. Combed hair over sutured donor area
The sutures in the donor area are hidden from the patient’s hair that are combed over them. These sutures are removed almost ten days after the hair transplant surgery.
6. Donor tissue trimmed into follicular unit grafts
Microscopes are then used by the surgical technicians to view the donor tissue for dissecting and preparing follicular units hair grafts.
7. Bald recipient area prepared
Once the local anesthesia is given to the patient, the balding recipient area is prepared for the surgical process No trimming/removal of hair is required at the top of the recipient area.
8. Incisions made in the balding areas
Follicular Unit Grafts are placed in the tiny incisions that are made in an irregular pattern in the recipient area.
9. Grafts placed according to their densities
The smallest grafts (one and two) are placed in front of the hairline and three and four (denser than one and two) are placed behind.
10. Immediately after the Hair Transplant Surgery
After the hair transplant surgery, tiny incisions with short hair would be visible on the patients operated area.
11. Closing of the Hair Transplant Surgery
The incision marks heal naturally and the redness in the recipient area vanishes itself within a week.