What is hair transplant surgery?
Hair transplant surgery is a means of redistributing hair in order to create a fuller looking head of hair. The technique involves removing areas of existing think patches of hair and placing them onto areas of the scalp that have lost hair. The area where the hair has been removed is known as the donor site, while the area receiving the new hair is known as the recipient site.
Why would you have hair transplant surgery?
Hair loss, no matter what the cause, can be a source of real anxiety for many people. Losing a large amount of hair can affect people�s self-esteem and cause their confidence levels to decrease considerably. Many people, who lose their hair, especially at an early age, feel they look older and less attractive. Hair transplant surgery can restore confidence, which can improve people�s social lives and give them a much more positive outlook on life. Self-confidence filters into all areas of a person�s life and is important for their success at work and in their social and familial relationships.
Who should consider hair transplant surgery?
Hair transplant surgery is usually recommended for people who have experienced significant areas of hair loss but still have patches of thick hair; women and men can both benefit from hair transplant surgery. Patients that have lost small areas of hair may also benefit from the surgery. Younger people, people with a family history of baldness and those in the early stages of hair loos are usually not advised to pursue this type of treatment. Younger men (aged 25 or under) are usually advised to wait for treatment; this enables doctors to monitor the hair loss.
Causes of hair loss
- Male pattern baldness: this is a pattern of hair loss that usually occurs as result of genetics and is brought about by hormone activity. Men start to lose hair from the crown of the head first
- Alopecia: often related to stress, alopecia often causes gradual widespread hair loss, which may spread to the eyelashes, eyebrows and hair on the body. Although hair can grow back in some cases, many people�s hair never grows back following alopecia.
- Stress: stress can cause hair to fall out; usually this happens gradually and affects isolated clumps of hair.
- Skin conditions and allergies: allergies to certain substances can cause the skin on the scalp to burn and become irritated; this can cause hair to fall out.
- Chemicals and burns: there are a number of different chemicals which can contribute to hair loss; these chemicals are common in household cleaning products and they should be kept away from the skin and hair.
- Pregnancy and birth: pregnancy causes women�s hair to get thicker; after child birth, the hair may return to normal which will cause large amounts of the hair to fall out.
Hair transplant techniques
Nowadays most hair transplant procedures involve techniques known as FUE (follicular unit extraction surgery) and Strip harvest technology- details of these methods are outlined below:
What is FUE?
FUE is a highly innovative procedure that involves removing follicular units (natural sections of hair follicles) from the donor area and inserting them into the recipient area. This technique is non-intrusive and produces incredible results.
What does the procedure involve?
Initially the donor site is numbed using a local anaesthetic; this prevents the patient from feeling pain during the procedure. After this, a very thin segment of the scalp is removed and then divided into a number of different individual grafts. The grafts are then placed individually into tiny slits in the recipient area of the scalp; during this stage the surgeon will take care to blend in the transplanted hair with the original hair to ensure the results look as natural as possible. The incision in the donor site is then closed using dissolvable stitches (these are usually covered by hair and are therefore not visible).
When will the hair start to grow?
The hair starts to grow normally in the recipient site after around three months; after this, the hair should continue to grow at a normal rate.
What is the strip harvest technique?
The strip harvest technique is similar to the follicular unit extraction treatment but it differs slightly because the extraction of the follicular units is done in strips, rather than as individual units. The follicles are separated once the strip has been removed from the scalp and then carefully inserted into the recipient area of the scalp. Separating the follicles is a complex process; it must be done with great care and skill as it can have implications for the final result.
How much does hair transplant treatment cost?
The cost of the treatment depends on where you choose to go for the procedure and the amount of hair you want to transplant; the method you choose will also affect the price. As a general guide, patients should expect to pay between �4000 and �8000 for the Strip technique and between �3000 and �15,000 for follicular unit extraction surgery (FUE). Some clinics offer payment plans to enable patients to pay for their treatment over a period of time.
How long does the hair transplant treatment last for?
Once the hair has been transplanted, it should behave in the normal way, which means it should last into old age. In most cases, a hair transplant can help to achieve lifelong results.
Are the results of hair transplant surgery obvious?
Modern hair transplant surgery is highly innovative and as techniques have been honed over the years, the results have become increasingly impressive; the hair looks completely natural and nobody would ever guess that the patient has had surgery.
Is the hair transplant surgery operation painful?
Patients undergoing a hair transplant procedure are given local anaesthetic prior to the operation; this suppresses pain and ensures the patient does not feel uncomfortable during the procedure. The procedure is fairly simple and does not involve invasive techniques so the patient should not experience any pain after the operation.
Will there be scarring after hair transplant surgery?
Any area where an incision is made in the skin is likely to cause scarring; however, the scarring produced by modern hair transplant surgery is minimal. Scarring is almost always hidden by hair and is hardly ever visible.
How long does the hair transplant surgery operation take?
The operation usually takes around three hours in total, although procedures where patients are having a large amount of hair transplanted, may take longer.
Is the hair transplant surgery procedure effective?
In many cases, the results are amazing and the new hair looks great; this treatment is much more effective than other hair loss treatments that can cause irritation, produce only minor changes and look unnatural. Some of the transformations achieved by hair transplant surgery are really impressive and in the long-term surgery can really benefit patients.
Will I need aftercare following hair transplant surgery?
Doctors usually like to check the patient�s progress after around 6 months; this enables them to monitor how the hair is growing and keep an eye on the healing scars. Some patients may choose to have additional procedures to transplant more hair; this will usually depend on the results the patient wants to achieve.
Will I need to take time off work after hair transplant surgery?
This is usually down to the individual; because the operation is painless and straight forward and doesn�t require any general anaesthetic, the recovery process is very quick. Some patients may want to have a couple of days off but others will choose to get straight back to work.