How does a Hair Transplant Work?

There are a wide range of individuals, from celebrities to politicians, who seek surgical help with hair loss. The only method for the long-term and effective treatment of balding is a hair transplant. Those who want a permanent solution to balding should read further about the procedure:

What is a Hair Transplant?

Hair transplants have been performed throughout the United States since the 1950s, but there has been great advancements since the procedure’s beginnings. A hair transplant is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is ideal for females and males who have extensive hair loss. In addition, the surgery can also help burn victims or individuals with scarring regain their hair. Although the results are permanent and will have a drastic impact on an individual’s appearance, it may take new hair growth up to a year to entirely grow back.

When a plastic surgeon performs a hair transplant, he or she will move a patient’s hair follicles from one area to another. Hair loss is usually caused by genetics, and most individuals experience balding on the top of their heads or temples, so the donor sites are usually at the back or side of the head because these areas are not affected by genetic balding.

What is the Procedure Like?

There are two variations of hair transplants, but the only difference is the manner in which the plastic surgeon obtains the donor’s hair. Both types of hair transplant methods will transplant the donor hair to the balding area in the same manner.

Typically, hair transplants are outpatient procedures, and patients are given local anesthesia and sedation before the surgery begins. The scalp will be cleaned and treated with an antibacterial solution before the donor area is harvested. Properly extracting the hair follicles is crucial for a successful outcome, so it is important to choose a plastic surgeon with hair transplant experience. It is also worth mentioning that besides hair transplants, there are other treatments like PRP Melbourne injections, often found across the world now.

FUT Transplant

When a plastic surgeon uses the FUT method, he or she will remove a piece of skin from the scalp to get the donor hair. Hair grafts from the scalp are removed with a microscope and then planted into the areas with hair loss. The FUT method is less expensive because it’s not as time-consuming to get the donor hair grafts. However, this method will leave a scar on the scalp, but it will not be visible once the hair grows back.

FUE Transplant

This type of transplant is a more contemporary and popular because there isn’t permanent scarring. A plastic surgeon will remove the donor hair grafts on a shaved area, which is usually at the side or back of the head. Those who have FUE will have red areas where the hair grafts were obtained, but these should diminish in several days. This method is ideal for individuals who prefer to have short hair.

What is the Healing Process Like After a Hair Transplant?

Hair transplants are typically completed in one day, but sometimes the procedure can take several days to finish. When the procedure is complete, individuals will be given pain medication and should plan to take at least one week off work. It is important for individuals to be cautious for the first few weeks following the procedure because the hair grafts will not be secure. During this time, it is advised for individuals to wear buttoned shirts as opposed to T-shirts because it could increase the risk of loosening the new hair grafts.

How Long Will it Take to See Results?

In most cases, the new growth will begin in a few months following the surgery. However, it will take eight months to one year to notice the full results.

Realistic Expectations

Baldness can be measured with stages in the Norwood Scale:

  • Type I: Minimal hair loss;
  • Type II: Extensive hair loss at the temples;
  • Type III: Receding hairline and the fist stage that mandates treatment;
  • Type IV: Hair loss on the vertex and hairline;
  • Type V: Severe baldness on the vertex and hairline, but there is still a division line;
  • Type VI: The bridge is primarily bald, but there may be some sparse and fine hair;
  • Type VII: There is no hair on the top or front of the head. This is the most severe stage of baldness.

It is important to set realistic expectations about the procedure, and although new hair growth from surgery is permanent, the hair surrounding the implant area may eventually experience hair loss. If an individual with Norwood Type 2 gets a transplant to achieve a Type 1 hairline, but he or she has Type 5 genes, then chances of further hair loss are likely. After an individual has a hair transplant, he or she should still use hair loss treatments to prevent hair loss in untreated areas.

Those who are considering the surgery should also keep in mind that the donor area will have an impact on the amount of hair follicles that can be grafted. If an individual has a donor site with lots of hair, he or she will have more grafts available for the transplant. There are only a certain number of donor hair grafts, so an individual who is Norwood Type VI may not have enough grafts to completely cover such a large area.

To learn more about hair transplants, contact Dr. Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS, today. Dr. Jacono is one of the best plastic surgeons in New York. Dr. Jacono was recognized by Harper’s Bazaar as one of the Best Plastic Surgeons in America.

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