Hair Transplant Surgery – Is it Worth the Hype?
Hair transplants are the only option for people who have lost all or most of their hair. Hair transplantation is a medical treatment designed to help people with extensive hair loss regrow their head of hair.
It’s typically done for male pattern baldness and for other causes of hair loss as well. In these treatments, small plugs of skin are transplanted from one area of the scalp to bald or thinning areas. The main purpose is to provide the appearance of more hair.
Hair transplantation may sound grand but in reality, it’s not so different from other cosmetic surgical procedures. And like any surgery, this one carries risks. Commonly referred to as a male pattern baldness treatment, it’s also the most effective for treating hair loss caused by age, genetics, stress and other common factors.
What is a hair transplant?
Hair transplants are a well-known hair loss treatment for men and, increasingly, for women. They work by surgically removing healthy hair from the back and sides of the head and grafting it to areas affected by hair loss.
Hair transplant is a surgical procedure to treat hair loss. To create thicker hair and restore the natural growth cycle, grafts containing hair follicles from the back of the scalp are implanted into bald or thinning areas of the head.
Hair transplants have been around for many years, but in the past 20 years, advancements in technology and surgical methods have made them safer and more effective.
Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that removes hair follicles from one part of the body, called the ‘donor site’, to a bald or balding part of the body known as the ‘recipient site.’
The technique is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. In this minimally invasive procedure, grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding, (like the back of the head) are transplanted to the bald scalp.
Hair transplantation can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest hair, and pubic hair and to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery such as face-lifts and previous hair transplants.
Success Rate of Hair Transplant
The success rate of hair transplant surgery varies from patient to patient. Some patients may only need one procedure, while others require multiple procedures. The success of the procedure depends on several factors. The success rate of getting a hair transplant is about 85 to 95 Percent.
Hair transplants can work for the majority of people. The success of a hair transplant is dependent on the techniques and methods used to implant hair follicles into the balding area. The success of hair transplantation varies depending on how well the body accepts the transplanted hairs and how much it grows over time.
Results depend on several factors, including the quality of the hair and the skill of the surgeon. The technique used in transplanting the hair from the donor site is also important.
While most transplants are successful, it’s possible to have an unsuccessful procedure that might need to be repeated. The success rate for hair transplant depends on factors such as how many hairs are being transplanted, the patient’s age, and the baldness severity.
Cost of Hair Transplant
The average person has 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on their head and loses up to 100 hairs per day. But certain factors could put individuals at risk for excessive hair loss or balding. Hair transplants typically cost $4,000–$15,000 (Change as per you) and are rarely covered by insurance. The cost will vary depending on the number of follicles implanted, the current level of baldness, and the amount of grafting needed.
The final cost of hair transplants depends on:
- How many hairs need to be restored?
- The type of transplant you want
- How much does the doctor charge per hair?
- Where do you live?
- If you need more than one surgery?
The field of hair transplant surgery has changed radically over the last 15 years. It used to be that these surgeries were so widespread; many people looked as if they had doll’s hair — a pluggy look that was anything but natural.
Today, however, most surgeons use a single-hair follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique, which results in more natural-looking hair and fewer potential complications. The only problem is that this kind of surgery comes with a pretty hefty price tag — sometimes upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
How does transplantation of Hairs work?
Hair transplant procedures usually involve taking hair follicles from the donor area of the scalp and transplanting them to a bald or thinning area of the scalp. A hair transplant can restore the hairline, fill in thinning areas and can even increase the actual hair volume.
Doctors have been doing these transplants in the U.S. since the 1950s, but techniques have changed a lot in recent years. The main procedure for hair transplants is follicular unit extraction (FUE).
FUE involves removing individual hair follicles from a donor area on your scalp, and then transplanting them on the bald or thinning areas.
After a surgeon harvests donor follicles in a process called follicular unit extraction (FUE), they will transplant them to thin or bald areas of the head.
The area that’s treated could also be the eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, or other hairy area on the body.
Hair transplants are performed under local anaesthesia. First, the surgeon cleans the scalp and injects medicine to numb the back of the head. The surgeon will determine the best place for the incision based on the hair type, direction of hair growth, and location of the thinning hair.
The procedure takes hair from a thicker area on the scalp and moves it to thinning or completely bald areas. In most cases, one 4-inch section of scalp can produce about 2,000 hair follicles for transplantation.
Hair replacement surgery has come a long way since the days of punch grafts. Nowadays, there are a number of ways to transplant hair, giving each patient a result that looks more natural than ever.
Type of Hair Transplant Surgery Methods
There are two major types of hair-transplant procedures: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
The best hair transplant results typically last a very long time because the hairs being implanted are permanent. The results for both men and women are generally excellent.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is a commonly used hair transplant method that involves the extraction of a linear strip of hair-bearing tissue from the back and sides of the scalp, then dividing it into individual follicular unit grafts prior to transplanting them to the balding areas.
A FUT procedure involves removing a strip of skin from the back of the scalp and separating it into individual follicular units that each contains one to four hairs. The surgeon then makes tiny incisions in the areas they want to fill in and inserts these units.
This is done in one of two ways: either via a strip excision or by extracting follicular units. The difference between the two is that with a strip excision the transplant technician uses a blade to extract a thin strip of hair follicles from an area of your scalp, which will eventually become the donor site.
The five major steps involved in the follicular unit transplantation procedure are: Consultation with a doctor or medical personnel, Prepping the head, Donor-area removal, Planting the grafts and Creating new hair partings. This is an outpatient procedure performed under local anaesthetic.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a form of hair transplant that involves removing individual follicles from the scalp. The process may involve several hundred strands of hair, but they can be used individually to provide a natural-looking appearance.
It is a newer hair transplant technique in which individual hair follicles are transplanted from areas of the body called “donor sites” to thin or bald areas of the body called “recipient sites.”
During the FUE treatment, the surgeon extracts healthy hair follicles from areas on the scalp where an individual’s hair is growing thick and strong, and implants them in areas that are thinning or balding. The procedure commonly takes between 8 to 15 hours to complete for most patients.
The FUE surgery process eliminates the need for a traditional linear incision on the donor area, leaving no distinctive linear scar. In many cases, surgeons will choose to harvest follicular units in groups of 1–4 hairs that are surrounded by fat tissue. This gives each graft a more natural look and feel once it’s transplanted onto the recipient area.
There are five basic steps in an FUE hair transplant: Extracting tissue from the donor area, preparing the follicles for extraction, extracting these follicles, preparing the recipient area, and transplanting the follicles.
The grafts contain hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding, which are harvested by extracting individual units or small clusters of follicles directly from the back and sides of the scalp.
Difference between Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) involves removing a small strip of hair from the back of the head and spreading it out to cover a bald spot. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is when individual follicles are removed from the back of the head, one at a time, and transferred to the scalp.
FUE and FUT differ in how they extract follicular grafts, as well as the number of procedures and level of invasiveness. FUE is less invasive than FUT. Unlike FUT, it does not require a long, linear incision to remove skin from the back of the scalp.
During an FUE procedure, the surgeon removes follicular units from a donor area on the scalp using a small punch tool, which has a diameter that ranges from 0.6 to 1 millimeter (mm). Compared to FUT, the FUE method of hair transplantation has several benefits:
FUE doesn’t require any stitches and is minimally invasive. FUE also has a faster recovery time and a lower risk of complications than FUT.
The recovery rate after a hair transplant surgery varies depending on the type of procedure individuals have. Follicular unit extraction and follicular unit transplantation hair transplants have a high recovery rate, but it’s important to follow the surgeon’s post-procedure advice.
The doctor will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to ensure that individuals heal properly and are comfortable. Pain medication is taken for the first five days after surgery. Swelling is common for the first three to four days. There may also be some itching or redness around the stitches.
Recovery varies for each individual following the follicular unit extraction (FUE) procedure, but most people are able to resume active lifestyles with a few modifications. The FUE method generally results in less discomfort and quicker recovery times than traditional strip incision procedures.
The average recovery period after an FUT hair transplant is 4 to 6 weeks. The recovery period and healing process after an FUT hair transplant varies among patients. Clients are advised to keep all surgical sutures on their head, even if they feel sore, itching, or tightness in the stitch area. If the suture is removed too soon, it might lead to infection.
Side Effects of Hair Transplant
Hair transplants surgery use the existing hair to fill in the balding areas. One of the main benefits is that, since the new hair uses the existing hair, it is more natural looking and easier to manage than some wigs but some of the most common side effects of hair transplant surgery are bleeding, infection, swelling of the scalp and forehead, bruising around the eyes, and soreness.
Side effects that are less common but could still occur include numbness or lack of sensation on the treated areas of the scalp or areas surrounding the new hairline.
Bruising may take up to 2 weeks to go away, while swelling may take up to 3 weeks to resolve. Individuals will probably experience mild to moderate pain around the scalp in the days following hair transplant surgery.
They should be able to control the pain with over-the-counter (OTC) medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve). Aspirin is not recommended because it can increase bleeding.
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 anaesthesia.
They separate the removed skin into small sections using a magnifying lens and sharp surgical knife. Each section is called a graft. (1 to 3 hairs per graft) The number of grafts individuals need depends on the size and shape of the bald spot.
Once the doctor has harvested the fresh grafts, they make tiny holes with a blade or needle in the scalp and delicately place each graft in one of the holes. The number and type of grafts individuals receive depend on the hair colour, quality, curl, and the size of the area being treated.
The most important thing to keep in mind after the hair transplant surgery is to keep the head elevated. Individuals can do this by either sleeping on a handful of pillows or by sleeping in a reclined chair.
Limiting physical activity is another important thing to note after the surgery. Avoid bending down and lifting heavy objects while recovering. Avoid getting the transplanted hair wet for 2 or 3 days after the surgery. One is to make sure not to damage or scratch the area for at least a week.
It may also help to tie back the hair loosely or wear a hat when individuals sleep. It will also help to avoid brush, comb, or rub the hair near the transplanted region for at least 14 days. Additionally, it’s generally easier if individuals can take two weeks off from work for the procedure.
Hair transplant surgery techniques have improved considerably over the last decade, and many individuals are now happy with their results. But it’s important to manage the expectations and be aware of the limitations.
The treatment works well for many people. However, there are risks and natural limitations to consider before undergoing the procedure. The results will be most successful if hair loss has just begun or is in a very early stage. A surgical hair transplant has the potential to change people’s lives.
It can be an option for stopping male-pattern baldness or treating certain types of scarring or abnormalities of the scalp.