Hair transplant is one of the most commonly carried out cosmetic surgery procedures in today’s times. It is mostly carried out for Androgenic alopecia to treat male baldness. The procedure of hair transplant essentially involves grafting of hair from the back of the scalp to the frontal, vault and temporal areas of hair loss.
Any person who is suffering from chronic hair loss and has healthy donor hair is a good candidate for a hair transplant.
If one is in good health then one can opt for hair transplant directly. Although if one has a course of hair vitamins and PRP therapies then the donor and the recipient both areas improve thus improving the quality of the transplant.
There is no non-surgical hair transplant. The basis of hair transplant lies in the principles of Plastic Surgery. A free tissue taken from one part of the body and placed on another part of the body to derive blood supply from the recipient area is called a graft. Hair follicle grafts are taken from the back of the scalp most commonly and transplanted on the front, vault or temporal areas of hair loss to give coverage to the balding or bald areas.
There are basically two methods of hair transplant FUE and FUT. The FUT is the strip method and FUE is the extraction method which is marketed as a scarless technique.
FUE or follicular unit extraction method is where the hair is taken from the donor area in the form of small grafts which are directly extracted by the use of a pen-like motor. The holes that occur after the extraction collapse in a few days time and get covered by the growing hair and become almost invisible to the naked eye. Thus this method is marketed by different clinics as the scarless technique.
FUT is the follicular unit transplantation technique where a strip of the donor tissue is taken and the follicles from the strip are separated under the microscope for transplantation. The donor area is neatly stitched by the method of ‘Trichophytic closure’ and in a well-done case the hair actually grows through the scar. Done in trained hands the results of FUT are better than FUE technique because the scars of FUE will still be visible as dotted areas if the requirement of the graft is more.
For areas of large baldness often a combination treatment of FUE and FUT may be required for optimising the result. A lot of the hair transplant result will depend on the quality of the donor hair. For people who have thin donor hair, they may require more than one session of hair transplant to gain an adequate amount of coverage.
In your first visit, a careful history is noted down, Your habituations and addictions are noted and your co-morbidities are outlined as well. Your donor and recipient area are estimated. You will need a few investigations of blood to be done before your procedure is scheduled.
You will need to shorten your hair for the graft to be harvested from the donor area. In the FUT method, only the strip area may need to be trimmed short and once the surrounding tissue is brought together after the strip is harvested the closing in of tissues and overlapping hair will hide the scar almost the very next day. However, you may trim your entire hair short for the ease of the procedure. After all, this donor area will grow back in about 7-10 days.
The procedure is carried out in an operating room set up where utmost care is taken about the sterility. Although this is a procedure carried out under local anesthesia completely, the centre carrying out the hair transplant should be equipped to handle any emergency that may arise from the situation.
It is in your best interest that you keep in mind your safety while undertaking the procedure. The cheapest place may not be the best either in terms of the results or in terms of your safety.
Marking for the hairline will be done and some photographs will be taken. Then you will be shifted to the actual area of the procedure.
Local anesthesia is administered by tiny injections in the scalp. A lot of fluid is usually used during the procedure but once the effect of local anesthesia kicks in, you will not be able to feel anything that is being done during the procedure. The doctor and the team members keep augmenting the anesthesia in between to keep the area anesthetized so that the procedure is completed without pain.
In FUT the harvesting of the strip and the stitching of the area will require just about 45 minutes after which you will usually be sent to rest for a while till the team will harvest the hair grafts from the strips.
In FUE however, because the grafts are harvested directly from the scalp you should know that the time required will depend upon the number of grafts to be harvested and can take anywhere between 1 hour to 4 hours.
Slits will be made for placement of the grafts. Then grafts that have been harvested will then be placed in their slits.
A break is given in between the procedure so that one doesn’t feel tired during the procedure.
One can expect that the procedure will last about 6-8 hours but this too will depend upon the number of grafts that are needed to be done.
No hospital stay is needed after the procedure and one can leave about half an hour after the procedure is completed. You will require to have some oral medications at home after this.
One should expect to come back for an in-clinic hair wash on the 4th day after the procedure. The doctor will advise you about the medications and post-procedure care that you will need to take.
Regular day to day activities can be started after a day of the procedure. No bed rest is required however a couple of days off work would be recommended. You can expect some swelling on the forehead and around the eyes that usually subside in 2-3 days time.
Exercises will need to be withheld for about 3 weeks after the procedure.
PRP therapies after the hair transplant are usually recommended and they lead to stronger hair growth by supplying the new hair roots with essential nutrients and growth factors.
Typically three sessions are recommended for optimum benefit.
You should also continue to take your oral vitamins after the transplant.
The hairs that are transplanted usually fall off in about 2-4 weeks time and new hair growth is visible only in the 3rd or 4th month. The hairs continue to show new growth till about 8 or 9 months.
One can have a repeat procedure anytime after six months of the initial procedure.
Body hair transplant can be done for people who do not have enough scalp hair, however, one should have realistic expectations from the procedure when considering this.
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