Hair Transplant Surgery is a surgical procedure in which hair follicles are taken from one part of the body, known as the donor site, and transferred to another part which is balding. This site is known as the recipient site. This procedure is generally used to treat male pattern baldness which is caused by a number of reasons ranging from pollution to genetics. Countless people undergo this surgery due to its minimal invasive nature and the growing pandemic of male pattern baldness. The donor follicles are taken from that part of the body which is genetically resistant to balding for example, the back of the head. The donor site is first inspected by the doctor for density, texture and curl among other things. These factors decide the approximate look that the patient desires to achieve. Apart from the scalp, Hair Transplant Surgery is also used to hide scars and replace hair on other body parts like chest, pubic area, eyebrows, eyelashes and beard.
Durability of Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery might be the only permanent method to battle baldness. The permanent nature is directly related to the donor site. If the donor site is genetically immune to hair loss or hair thinning, the newly transplanted hair will be permanent. The skill of the doctor is also a crucial factor which must be considered before undergoing this surgery. The doctor’s skill decides the quality of the hair transplanted. The hand eye coordination during surgery needs to be excellent as the follicles have to be placed in a systematic pattern. A good hair transplant makes the hair look more natural. A competent doctor is able to predict possible cosmetic problems and unexpected complications. He is also skilled enough to avoid unnecessary damage to hair follicles and prevent early degradation of usable donor hair stock.
The nature and quality of the resultant transplanted hair is greatly influenced by the properties of the donor area. Above all, the donor must be immune to genetic baldness. It also depends upon the effects of DHT, which is short for dihydrotestosterone. It is the form of the sex hormones in males that is active. In some people, DHT affects the ability of the hair follicles to absorb the necessary nutrients which are needed for hair growth. This leads to the thinning and shrinking of the hair follicles which causes hair thinning and gradually leads to hair loss as the follicles completely close.
As mentioned above, hair transplant is done by moving follicular units from one part of the body to another. These follicular units taken from genetically hair loss immune sites are also naturally resistant to the effects of dihydrotestostorone. Therefore, the transplanted hair is unlikely to fall out and is permanent. However, in the first two weeks after the hair transplant surgery, the new hair is expected to fall out. This is because of the relocation trauma and is known as “shock loss”. After this stage, in the following months, the hair starts to grow and gradually thickens with time. When the shock less is widespread or extensive, supplementation of Rogain foam or Propecia pills is prescribed to prevent further loss.
How it’s done
Consulting and Planning
Before everything else, the doctor first analyzes the scalp of the patient. Depending on the extent of hair loss and hair thinning, the best approach for the surgery is set. A few days before the actual procedure, certain precautions should be taken by the patient like stopping any medications which may cause problems during the surgery. Consumption of alcohol and smoking is also not advised. These things lead to poor graft quality.
Harvesting and placing the follicles
Before hair follicle can be transferred to the recipient site, they are first extracted from the donor site. This can be done in different ways. Hair transplant operation patients do not need to be admitted into the hospital or clinic. Once the operation is over, they are free to leave. The patients can opt for a mild sedative or anesthesia for the pain. Before the surgery, the scalp is thoroughly cleaned by using a medicinal shampoo and treated with an antibacterial agent. The next step is to remove the hair follicles. There are numerous techniques for this procedure. Each technique has a common goal to extract the hair follicles without damaging them. The hair follicles are at an angle to the skin which makes it quite a precise science to remove it at the same angle. This is done to prevent breakage and wastage of the follicles. There are two main techniques which are widely used for hair follicle extraction.
This technique is the most widely incorporated method for hair and follicles extraction. In this method, hair strips containing tissue is taken from the back of the head in strips. The dimensions of each strip are about 1-1.5×15-30 cm. This leaves an open wound at the donor site. At the same time that these wounds are being sutured, excess fibrous and fatty tissue is removed from the removed follicle tissues. This is done with extreme caution in order to minimize any kind of damage to the follicles. The more recent method that is used for closing the wounds on the recipient site is Trychophytic closure technique.
Once the donor follicles are ready, tiny holes are punctured on the recipient site surface. These are then placed in a systematic manner as was planned at the consultations stage. This method leaves a scar but it is so small that it is covered by short hair. After the surgery, the patient recovers in usually 2 weeks at the end of which the stitches are removed.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
In follicular unit extraction method, follicular units are extracted individually. These units contain 4-6 hair on average. A local anesthesia is administered for this procedure. This method is done in a single session which stretches for a long time or multiple sessions. As the follicles are extracted individually rather than in strips, this process is far more time consuming than strip harvesting. However, this time consuming process gives better overall results as the resultant hair look more natural. The scars are much smaller in size as there’s no need to remove large strips of follicular tissue. The post operation pain and discomfort is greatly reduced as there are no sutures. But this procedure is very expensive and requires experienced surgeons for good results.
Although, this procedure might sound a little complicated and is in fact a little on the expensive side, it really has changed the lives of countless people who felt inferior to others after losing their hair. Such a procedure which alters the looks of people rather than necessitated by a medical condition is known as a cosmetic surgery which is very common in these days. Apart from the high cost and minimal post operation discomfort, if proper precautions are taken, there’s really no reason for someone to not go for this and get their much need self-confidence back.