A Simple and Useful Guide on Hair Transplantation
One of the most important assets of a person’s personality is the attractiveness of the hair. Hence, hair loss, thinning and balding has an overwhelming effect on a person’s self-esteem and confidence. Let us have a look to different types of baldness patterns in men and women and various aspects of hair transplantation.
What Is Male and Female Pattern Baldness?
The main reason for baldness in both genders is a natural metabolite in the body known as Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Male pattern hair loss or baldness known as androgenic alopecia has seven different grades depending upon the extent of hair loss. This occurs due to genetic inheritance as well as the influence of male hormones, androgen, which has a tendency towards shrinkage of hair follicles. This leads to receding hairlines and hair thinning on the crown leading to hair growth in a horseshoe shape around the head.
In female pattern baldness, too some women suffer from hair loss, which more or less resembles male pattern baldness. However, most women have thinning of hair at the entire scalp.
What are the General Causes for Hair Loss?
There are several causes for hair loss. Some of them are as follows…
- Genetic predisposition
- Abnormal levels of male hormones, androgen
- Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, lupus, diabetes and anaemia
- Certain drugs such as blood thinners and prescription medicines for blood pressure, chemotherapy and birth control pills
- Using too much heat, styling products and hair colouring products
What Is Hair Transplantation?
Hair transplantation is a surgical process usually performed to treat male and female pattern baldness. It does not limit itself to the head but also for the eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, chest region and camouflage scars caused due to accidents. The procedure involves removing a narrow thin strip of the scalp grafts with healthy hair follicles that is transplanted to cover the thinning or balding parts on the scalp.
How Is The Transplantation Done?
The surgeon cleans the scalp in the donor area and injects an anaesthetic substance to make the scalp numb. By using a special scalpel, the surgeon removes a thin strip of hair from the donor site.
What Are The Available Options For Hair Transplantation?
There are two types of widely accredited surgery for hair transplant. They are FUT (strip method) and FUE (follicular unit extraction).
What Is FUT (Follicular Unit Transfer) Procedure?
The follicular unit transfer (FUT) also known as the strip harvesting is the most common technique used for transplantation. This method involves removing about eight to twelve hairs in plugs, which means in small circular areas or as narrow long strips from the bottom of the hairline.
The surgeon makes incisions slighter smaller than the plugs/grafts on the bald areas. The plugs or grafts are carefully placed on a suitable angle to produce a natural effect of the direction of natural hair growth. The donor area is then carefully sutured making the skin naturally stretch in order to cover a vast area. However, the recipient area remains unsutured as the body fluids act as a natural binding agent holding the grafts and plugs in place.
What Is The FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) Technique?
The second method, a comparatively new technique that proves advantageous to the surgeon. In this, method a small circular incision of about 0.6 to one mm diameter punch is made around the hair follicles. This method of removing individual hair grafts from ear to ear where the hair remains dense gives the freedom of wider possibilities for moulding them into thousands of multi-sized grafts and plugs. These are then relocated into the tiny incisions made at the balding/receding areas. The number of small holes produced at the back heals on their own. This however may be obvious if the head is shaven. This helps, because with just a couple of hairs the surgeon can work wonders but is time consuming. The greatest advantage however remains the process is devoid of linear incision.
Where Is The Transplant Normally Carried Out?
The surgical procedure is generally done as an outpatient procedure under local anaesthesia.
What Is The Duration Of The Transplant?
The surgery lasts for about eight to ten hours depending upon the client’s extent of baldness, amount of coverage and requirements.
What Is The Post Surgical Procedure And Care?
Post surgery the patient requires sleeping in a thirty to forty five degree upright position to minimise blood pressure to the scalp. The antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications prescribed post surgery will help relieve painful symptoms and promote sleep. The next morning the patient returns to the surgeon to untie the bandage and to get his transplanted hair checked and along with the donor region washed. However, to prevent pressure from being applied to the scalp, the patient is advised to resume normal showers after five days of the surgery.
Furthermore, the patient is advised to refrain from alcohol consumption and smoking for at least three days.
For one month, the patient is also advised against indulging in any kind of strenuous activities that might cause undue pressure to the scalp.
The recipient area heals completely after a week or so with the transplanted hair falling out completely. Once this occurs, the new growth of hair happens after about two and a half to three months time. Nevertheless, the results become visible after twelve months.
What Are The Complication Involved In Undergoing Transplantation?
Before deciding upon the surgery, it is imperative to weigh all the pros and cons of this procedure as this can pose a certain amount of risk and lead to complications. Some of them include infection, scarring, bleeding with the spurt of unnatural looking hair.
Some patients suffer from folliculitis, a condition wherein the hair follicles suffer from inflammation. However, antibiotics are prescribed to treat inflammation. Some surgeon prescribes them before the surgery as a precautionary measure, while some others do so only after the occurrences of infection.
Besides infection, there is a risk of death of hair follicles, which can lead to no new hair growth in the transplanted region.
In some cases, there is a tendency for death of skin plugs. This will lead to an unsuccessful surgical attempt.
There is another probability of patchy and unnatural looking hair growth, which might require a second surgery.
There are possibilities of scarring at the donor site. These however become camouflaged with the new hair growth.
Another probable complication is the loss of transplanted hair known as shock loss. However, the shock loss is not permanent.
Nonetheless, sometimes the hair growth is slow and delayed and the patients may have to wait for a couple of years for new hair growth.
What are The Ways to Prevent the Risk of Complications?
Since this is a permanent solution for treating hair loss, it is advisable to discuss the lifestyle habits and medical history with the surgeon to avoid any kind of complications. This will enable the surgeon to offer appropriate pre and post operative advice depending upon them.
What Is The Average Cost Of Hair Transplantation?
The cost of a hair transplant depends upon several factors. They are
The extent of hair loss
The availability of hair on donor site
Hair properties like the colour, nature and texture of hair
The requirements of the client
The number and type of grafts
The number of sessions required for the procedure
The place of transplant
The choice of a surgeon with expertise
All these factors play an important part that make up the cost. For instance, a single graft, costs somewhere from $3 to $9+ approximately. In addition, since most grafts are generally done in multiples of hundreds with the requirement for more number of grafts there would naturally be a hike in the cost. Nevertheless, this would be a rough quote for before completion of the procedure, there are possibilities of a variation in the estimated cost, due to an increased need for the number of grafts to suit the style and give the final touches. Nevertheless, the average costs for FUE hair transplantation ranges from $3000 to $24000.
What Are The Ways To Reduce The Cost Of Transplantation?
Once a final decision has been made to undergo the transplantation, it is important to prevent innumerable surgeries and make the first one successful. Therefore, to protect losing the transplanted hair going in for laser treatment to strengthen the hair follicles will surely help. However, it would be helpful to get the postoperative care advice from the surgeon to prevent further hair loss.