Hair loss is principally the result of a combination of aging, hormone changes and family history of baldness. As a rule the sooner the hair loss starts, the bigger the area of the final baldness is. Hair loss could also be the result of trauma or burns. In this case the surgical procedure to restore the hair is considered reconstructive surgery.
You should know that hair transplant is an invasive procedure performed successfully for years by certified plastic surgeons.
Do not hesitate to discuss with your surgeon any questions you have concerning the procedure.
The truth about hair loss
Hair loss is often attributed to poor blood circulation to the scalp, vitamin deficiency, dandruff, even to frequent wearing of a hat. All these theories are not valid. It is also not true that you can predict future hair loss just by looking at your maternal grandfather or by assuming that if a man has not suffered hair loss by the age of 40, he will never lose his hair.
Best candidates for hair transplant
Hair transplant can enhance your appearance and self-confidence, but it will not give you the ideal hair style. Before you decide to undergo the operation, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them thoroughly with your surgeon.
It should be clear that all hair transplant techniques use the patient’s existing hair and not somebody else’s. The candidate should have healthy hair in the back and the sides of the head so that these areas can be hair donor areas. Factors like the natural color of the hair, or how curly or wavy your hair is, could also determine the final result. Sometimes two or more of the available techniques are used for best results.
Remember, there is a limit to what can be accomplished. A person with very little hair should not be encouraged to undergo hair transplant.
Hair loss in women
It is estimated that one out of five women will suffer hair loss to some extent, due to aging, illness, hormonal changes after menopause e.t.c. Women experience hair thinning across the entire scalp whereas men experience hair loss in “patches”. In order to address the problem, some women use wigs or hair extensions. Other women prefer local scalp treatments. The effectiveness of these treatments varies. They usually just stop further hair loss without promoting new hair growth. The results are temporary because when the treatment stops, hair loss continues. Hair transplant could be the answer for those women who feel that this type of local treatment does not really offer the desired results.
Women also should have good donor areas. Hair in the back and sides of the head should be healthy and dense enough to cover the problem areas. The operation will not restore completely the former state your hair, but it will result to a substantial improvement.
Any surgical operation carries risks
Hair transplant is safe only if performed by a certified surgeon. Nevertheless, the healing ability and the reaction to treatment varies from person to person so that the outcome can never be fully predictable. Like in any surgical operation the incision could theoretically present signs of infection but this is something that rarely happens in the scalp. The scars are easily hidden under hair growth.
There is always the danger that some of the grafts will not take root and, subsequently, there will not be hair growth in those areas. This should not be confused with the natural falling (apoptosis) of the grafts, which happens a small time after the operation. If hair loss continues after the procedure, the area that received the grafts could end up in front of a new balding area and make your hairstyle look weird. The problem could be addressed with a new hair transplant
Arranging your operation
In the beginning, your surgeon will evaluate your hair and scalp, will discuss thoroughly your family history, your goals and expectations from the procedure.
You should also inform your surgeon if you smoke, if you are under any medication, especially aspirin or medications that contain aspirin or if you have the tendency for hypertrophic (raised) scars.
Preparation for surgery
Your surgeon shall provide you with specific instructions for your operation regarding what to eat & drink, smoking, taking or not certain vitamins and medication. If you follow those instructions, your operation should end in success. If you are a smoker, it is imperative to stop smoking at least one or two weeks before the operation.
After the operation, you should not drive your car until the end of the day.
Where does the procedure take place
Hair transplant is performed in a hospital or a specially equipped center. The procedure takes place in the morning and later that day you should be able to return home.
In hair transplants the surgeon applies a local anesthetic, sometimes in combination with a sedative.
Your surgeon will surgically remove a strip of donor hair from the back side of the head. This strip is then subjected to a special division treatment, so that the individual gratfa (follicles) are completely separated. Finally they are transplanted one by one to the new area.
Approximately 700 to 1000 grafts are transplanted during each procedure. If the existing problem calls for more, a second operation could take place only if there is adequate supply in the donor area. The second procedure takes place at least 6 months after the first. Thick hairs achieve better coverage than thin ones, just like curly hairs are better than straight ones or light colored than dark colored hairs.
The donor area closes with a suture which is removed after ten days. The resulting scar is completely concealed under hair growth in the back of the head.
The grafts are placed approximately 3 millimeters apart, in the same direction as the natural direction of the hair in the adjacent areas.
Sometimes a bandage covering the whole head is placed.
After the operation
Most probably you will feel pain or a sense of “pulling” on your head. A common pain killer will take care of this.
The bandage is removed after one or two days. You will receive specific hair washing instructions for the first period of time after the operation. It is better to avoid heavy exercise during the first days after the operation.
Return to your everyday activities
In a few days, you can easily return to office-based work.
Most patients are scared of seeing new hair falling six weeks after the operation. This occurs naturally and is temporary. Five or six weeks later hair grows back again, this time permanently.