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Hair Transplantation

By New You Editorial
Posted On Jun 26, 2012

Hair transplantation is a highly-specialized minor surgical procedure for men and women that permanently redistributes living and growing hair follicles into areas of hair loss. Hair follicles, harvested from the back of the head, can be transplanted into other areas of the scalp (hairline, temples, top, crown, scars, etc.) or other areas of the body (face, eyebrow, eyelash, chest, pubic region, etc.) where hair is needed or desired. Transplanted hairs remain generally unaffected by the hair loss process in the balding areas.

Who is a Candidate?

  • Hereditary hair loss (male or female pattern hair loss) can affect men or women anytime after puberty and is often an unwanted sign of ‘premature aging’ which can affect patients psychologically, physically and emotionally.
  • In patients for whom ‘hair loss’ is a top complaint, the condition can sometimes lead to negative changes in attitude, self-confidence and, in severe cases, avoidance of certain social situations or activities.
  • Patients seeking hair transplantation typically suffer from a lack of hair on the scalp or other areas (such as eyebrow, eyelash, etc.) due to heredity, trauma (injury or surgery) or trichotillomania (hair pulling).
  • Candidates for hair transplant procedures are those men and women with hair loss that have sufficient ‘donor hair’ at the back and sides of the scalp to transplant to the thinning, receding or balding ‘recipient areas.’
  • While non-invasive treatments can slow, stop, and even reverse the hair loss process to some degree, hair transplantation is typically the only method of permanently and substantially increasing hair density in areas of significant hair loss.
  • Successful hair restoration, like other cosmetic procedures and treatments, helps patients by improving self-confidence and self-esteem.

Intended Results

  • It is often said that the ‘best’ cosmetic procedure is one that goes unnoticed-and this is certainly true when it comes to hair transplantation.
  • A comfortable and permanent option for men and women to undetectably restore their own living and growing hair.
  • Microsurgical techniques allow a skilled hair transplant surgeon and his surgical team to move hair follicles individually, if necessary-artistically creating a natural, wavy, randomized looking result that truly defies detection.

Procedure Description

  • Hair transplantation is an outpatient procedure that is usually performed using local anesthesia.
  • Permanent hair follicles are harvested from the back of the head (donor area) and transplanted into the thinning or balding area using micrografts which typically contain one, two or three hair follicles each.
  • The procedure, which is both technically and artistically demanding, is performed by a cohesive team, which includes the physician and usually three to five highly-trained microsurgical technicians.
  • Many variations in technique and approach are available within the field of hair restoration. Patients are encouraged to ‘do their homework’ by researching several physicians, their clinics, philosophies and results.
  • For those suffering from hair loss, few treatments other than hair transplantation offer such a significant improvement in appearance and the accompanying psychological ‘boost’ of restoring one’s hair.

Recuperation and Healing

  • Complete cosmetic recovery of the skin usually takes one to two weeks.
  • Heavy physical activity is to be avoided, but normal activities of daily life are not interrupted.
  • Postoperative discomfort varies between patients-with mild pain lasting for a day or two. The surgical areas may remain tender to the touch for 7 to 10 days.
  • Appropriate pain medications are prescribed by the physician .Most patients are pleasantly surprised by the low level of discomfort.
  • Hair growth from the procedure starts at 6-12 weeks and typically takes a full 12 months to reach the ‘final’ cosmetic result.

Other Options

  • Hair loss patients should consult with their physician regarding adjunctive treatments to help address the progressive (ongoing) nature of hair loss in the non-transplanted areas.
  • FDA-approved medications, like Propecia (finasteride) pills and Rogaine (minoxidil 2 or 5%) topical solutions are often prescribed or recommended in conjunction with hair transplantation.
  • A customized wound-care regimen is usually recommended during the post-operative recovery phase. Options may include special topical scalp soaks or ointments, nutritional supplementation, low level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen treatments or other therapies designed to enhance wound healing, accelerate the cosmetic recovery of the skin and minimize downtime.
  • Some hair transplant patients may require more than one procedure to achieve their desired result.

Notes

Improvements in hair transplant techniques and a sophisticated aesthetic approach to hair transplants allow today’s artistically-planned and meticulously-executed transplanted hairlines to be natural-remaining wholly unnoticed by the casual observer. Unfortunately, however, this was not the case with old-style ‘plug’-type transplants, whose widely spaced and visibly-large grafts were often derogatively called “doll’s hair” or “corn-rows.”

However, modern methods of hairline refinement, plug-reduction, plug-removal, plug-recycling and/or ‘salvage’ procedures typically allow significant improvements in naturalness and coverage for those patients who have had previous (and more ‘obvious-looking’) hair transplants.

Age appropriate adjustments to the hairline and significant scar-camouflage can often be accomplished with modern techniques.

The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation with your cosmetic surgeon. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.

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