Hair Transplant: Procedure, Tip, and Recovery
Hair loss is a significant problem that can dig you into different psychological states like anxiety, depression, and complexity. Hair imparts beauty to our faces. Unfortunately, even though we all want thick, strong black hair, yet we keep on losing them somewhere living our lives. In most people, it is inherited and runs in families.
While at times, we develop some pathology that can lead to hair loss. Hair loss is temporary in the form of alopecia, while at times, with advancing age, it becomes permanent. (Zito and Raggio 2021; Rogers 2015)
Due to limited resources and research work, people used to wear wigs and artificial hats to cope with a maturing hairline. However, today there are multiple options for all of us to cope with baldness. The most reliable of them is called a hair transplant.
What is a hair transplant?
Hair transplant is a surgical intervention when a plastic or dermatological surgeon transplants hair to a bald region of the head. Hair is often moved from the rear or side of the head to the front or top of the head by the surgeon. Hair transplants are usually performed under anaesthetic in a doctor’s office.
In recent times, it was thought that it was a hazardous procedure full of complications, but recent advances have proved it all wrong. In the United States, doctors have been doing these transplants since the 1950s, although methods have evolved significantly in recent years. There are various methods used in hair transplantation.
The most popular and successful ones are:
- Follicular Unit Extraction
- Follicular Unit strip surgery
What is follicular unit extraction (FUT)?
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a hair transplant technique that involves removing individual hair follicles from your skin and transplanting them to an area of your body where hair is weaker or missing.
The follicular unit transplantation (FUT) method, which resulted in the “hair plugs” appearance, has lost popularity in favor of FUE. It is a procedure primarily adapted in hair transplantation surgeries. Surgeons utilize micro punches to remove and relocate single follicles, leaving practically little evidence of the procedure.
In this procedure:
- Hair follicles are extracted directly from the back of the head using hundreds to thousands of small punch incisions in follicular unit extraction (FUE).
- The surgeon uses a blade or a needle to create tiny holes in the region of your scalp that will receive the hair transplant.
- Hairs are carefully placed in these openings.
- A surgeon may transplant hundreds or even thousands of hairs with a single therapy session.
- For a few days, the graft, gauze, or bandages will cover your scalp.
- Proper care should be taken as it is a sensitive area prone to infection and sepsis.
The FUE technique is thought to be safe, with mild side effects such as small white scars where follicles were removed. Infection or tissue death might occur at the surgical site in exceedingly uncommon circumstances. You may encounter short-term adverse effects that subside after a few days. Swelling, bruising, and sensitivity are all possible side effects.
What is follicular unit strip surgery?
A surgeon removes individual hair follicles in FUT surgery by cutting a strip of skin from the back or side of your head. These follicles are then implanted into the areas of your scalp that are balding. Male pattern baldness causes a receding hairline, which is best covered by surgery.
Hair transplant procedures might last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. FUT surgery takes less time than FUE surgery. The majority of patients are awake throughout surgery because a local anesthetic numbs their scalp.
Here’s how your surgery will most likely go:
- The surgeon will redraw your hairline, indicate the region where hair will be extracted, and photograph the procedure for your medical records.
- Before surgery, you may be given the choice of taking a sedative.
- To numb your scalp, a local anesthetic will be given.
- Hair will be cut to around two millimeters at the donor location, where your hair will be taken.
- The strip of skin with the hair follicles that will be utilized as a transplant will be taken off by the surgeon.
- During the procedure, you will remain awake.
- Individual hair follicles will be removed from the strip and prepared for transplantation by a professional.
- Sutures will be used to seal your scalp.
- The hair follicles will then be implanted naturally into the balding areas of your scalp.
- Your scalp will be bandaged, and an antibiotic will be administered.
In most cases, the procedure produces results in 6 to 9 months. It may take a year for some people to notice the benefits.
FUT vs. FUE Transplant Technique:
Individual hair follicles are transplanted in both FUT and FUE procedures. A surgeon removes a strip of skin from the back or side of your head and then harvests the hair follicles during FUT surgery. Rather than removing a strip of scalp skin, your surgeon will remove individual hair follicles straight from your scalp during FUE surgery.
Both the procedures are, in general, the techniques which are adapted for hair transplantation. These days these techniques are widely used according to patient circumstances, choices, and patients’ needs. Both carry an extreme level of care before, during, and after the procedure. (Sharma and Ranjan 2019)
Currently, FUE is the most popular procedure. The following are some of the benefits of FUE:
- there is minimal discomfort following surgery
- there isn’t a big scar.
- even if you have a low hair density, hair from different body regions can be utilized.
FUT has certain advantages, such as:
- being a better alternative if you require a high number of hair follicles transplanted
- a quicker procedure duration
- a less expensive surgery.
What will happen after the surgery?
- After the procedure, we usually feel a lot of tenderness because it all happens due to the placement of new follicles in the scalp. The dermatologist can recommend strong painkillers to cope with the condition.(Zito and Raggio 2021; Rogers 2015)
- Following surgery, to cope with the inflammation as we implanted a foreign body into the scalp, we usually commence high potency anti-inflammatory agents. The anti-inflammatory agents play an essential role in the settlement of inflammation and reduce the swelling at the transplantation site.
- Antibiotics are also commenced in individuals for about seven to eight days, just because the patient is allowed to go home and can carry infections.
- In most patients, where the inflammation is much more than expected after the transplantation, the dermatologist often prescribes oral steroids to cope with the condition.
- In the advanced procedures, where we cannot afford any mistake, dermatologists are now prescribing immunosuppressive drugs so that the transplantation rejection can be copped.
Post-transplant hair loss
After the hair transplantation, the patient usually loses all the hairs from the transplantation site. Well, this is a common and normal phenomenon. The patient can get all the lost hair in about three to four-month. After that, the strength of new hair is higher than the previous hair.
Are you a good fit for a hair transplant?
We have to visit the dermatologist to decide whether we are eligible for the hair transplantation or not. He analyzes the scalp, orders some blood tests, and then calls for the transplantation sessions. Various screenings are also carried out before the procedure as there is a risk of bleeding, infection, and spreading bacterial ailments.
How much does a hair transplant cost?
Different centers cost differently, but on average, it costs around three to twenty thousand dollars in the complete hair transplantation. The cost of the procedure depends on the amount of hair being transplanted, the surgeon, the location, and the travel costs if you have to travel somewhere to get a hair transplant.
What are the risks of a hair transplant?
Hair transplantation is a risky process that demands a lot of care and proper technique. It can result in the following risks.
- Excessive blood loss during the procedure can result in bleeding and anemia in the patient. It should be controlled at first sight.
- Improper technique and using contaminated instruments can lead to infection at the scalp, eventually resulting in septicemia.
- Our body sometimes cannot bear the transplanted tissue. It results in transplant rejection. It is a severe complication and can ruin all the transplantation work.
- Numbness or tingling at the surgical site.
- Drainage or crust where the procedure was done transplanted.
- Hair that doesn’t look like the hair surrounding it.
- Even after the transplant, baldness or thinning occurs.
Hair transplantation, unlike the previous times, has now become safe and effective. Therefore, it has gained much traction these days. Still, much research work has to be done in this field because there are only limited options available for transplanting hair.
You’re also free to try out more natural and less painful options such as minoxidil, finasteride, biotin, and collagen.