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Hair Transplant and its procedure

Consultant Face and Jaw Surgeon with special interest in Cosmetic Facial Surgery, Dr T. Sabesan

Hair transplant procedure is becoming more and more popular today. Consultant Face and Jaw Surgeon with special interest in Cosmetic Facial Surgery, Dr T. Sabesan speaks about hair transplant, its procedure and about the technique.

What is a hair transplant? Can you explain to us?

Hair transplant is a surgical procedure that moves hair follicles (hair buds) from a part of the body (donor site) to a bald/balding part of the body (Recipient site). This is a minimally invasive procedure. Usually, we select donor site follicles from a site that are genetically resistant to balding (back of the head) and plant them into the bald scalp. The modern transplant techniques began in Japan in the 1930s, Then the era of hair transplantation in the western world was used in the late 1950s in America, then it became a well-established therapeutic solution for the baldness all over the world gradually.

Explain the technical aspect of this procedure?

There are two main ways in which donor grafts are extracted: follicular unit transplant (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). FUT technique was used in the 1990s and outdated now.

The FUE technique is the most commonly used technique currently all over the world. With this FUE harvesting technique, individual follicular units containing 1 to 4 hairs are removed under local anaesthesia; this micro removal typically uses tiny punches of between 0.6mm and 1.0mm in diameter by a machine. The surgeon then uses very small fine needles to puncture the sites for receiving the grafts, placing them in a predetermined density and pattern, and angling in a consistent fashion to promote a realistic hair pattern.

Is this technique good for anybody?

Yes, primarily in the initial consultation, the surgeon assesses the patient’s general medical condition and analyzes the scalp, discusses their preferences and expectations, and advises them on the best approach (e.g. single vs. multiple sessions) and what results might reasonably be expected. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, with mild sedation (optional) and injected local anaesthesia.

How is the preoperative preparation?

Once you’ve had a full consultation with your surgeon you will be asked to do a simple/basic blood test and you will be scheduled for the procedure, there isn’t much you have to do. Depending on your hair, the donor area will need to be shaved or cut short for the procedure. That can be done in the clinic or operating room on the day of your surgery.

Is this painful?

No! This procedure is performed with mild sedation (optional) and injected local anaesthesia. During the procedure, you won’t feel anything. Some patients sleep, others watch videos or listen to music.

What is PRP therapy; can it be used during this hair transplant procedure?

Good question. Actually, the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a new technique developed recently to treat the hair loss. PRP is prepared from your own blood during the procedure. It has many types of growth factors that involve in hair growth. Depending on the nature of the procedure the PRP can be injected into the recipient area during the FUE technique to enhance the success rate. It helps to increase the growth potential of hair follicles. Further, we use the PRP as a storage medium for the hair follicles during the surgical procedure expecting the PRP to nourish the follicles.

What is the recovery time of this procedure?

You will need to be sure to properly care for your hair after the FUE transplant, but there isn’t a massive recovery process. You can resume most normal activities three days after surgery. You can go to work two or three days after surgery. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for washing and caring for your hair initially. You’ll need to closely follow those instructions to ensure the best result.

What results can we expect following the procedure?

When done correctly a hair transplant will leave you with a natural look and a recovered hairline. When FUE is done with precision, not only will the surgeon fill in the troublesome area, but they will match the patterns of the existing hair in the recipient area. The actual results will depend on many factors; the skill of the surgeon, general medical condition/skin condition of the patient and the post-operative care. The overall restoration depends on the surgeon’s judgment in determining the angle, direction, and distribution of the implanted grafts, as these factors govern the overall aesthetic aspects of the hair transplant.

Is it possible to lose the hair that was transplanted?

It is normal to lose transplanted hair shortly after your procedure. The transplanted follicles shed their hair shafts but the follicle will remain in the scalp and grows new hair shafts over the next several months. If the transplanted donor hair was taken from an area that is not immune to baldness, it’s possible for the hair to fall out following a transplant.

How quickly will new hair grow?

Usually, the process of growing new hair is not immediate. In fact, you may have to wait up to eight to ten months before you start seeing growth, but you may begin to notice some hair growth after three to four months.

Can patients take other treatments to improve hair growth after this procedure?

Of course yes. We do encourage them to take medication, apply lotions and undergo PRP treatment after the hair transplant surgery.

Is this procedure only done to treat the baldness?

Not only the bald scalp, but hair transplantation can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, moustache, chest hair, pubic hair and to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery.

If someone is not having adequate hair in the back of their head and want to have a hair transplant, what should be done?

It is a difficult situation, but we do harvest and transplant hair from the chest if they have adequate hair in the chest region and restore the hair in the bald area.

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