Hair transplants are done to add more hair to an area on your head that may be thinning or balding. It’s done by taking hair from thicker parts of the scalp, or other parts of the body, and grafting it to the thinning or balding section of the scalp.
Worldwide, most men and women experience some form of hair loss. To address this, people often use over-the-counter products, including topical treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine).
Hair transplant is another restoration method. The first transplant was performed in 1939 in Japan with single scalp hairs. In the following decades, physicians developed the “plug” technique. This involves transplanting large tufts of hair.
Do hair transplants work?
Hair transplants are typically more successful than over-the-counter hair restoration products. But there are some factors to consider:
- Anywhere from 10 to 80 percent of transplanted hair will fully grow back in an estimated three to four months.
- Like regular hair, transplanted hair will thin over time.
- People with dormant hair follicles (sacs that usually contain hair beneath the skin but no longer grow hair) may have less effective transplants, but a 2016 study suggests that plasma therapy can help up to 75 percent or more of the transplanted hairs fully grow back.
How much do they cost?
Hair transplants can range from about $4,000 to $15,000 per session. Final costs may depend on the:
- extent of the transplant procedure
- availability of surgeons in your area
- experience of the surgeon
- surgical technique chosen
Because hair transplants are cosmetic procedures, health insurance won’t pay for the procedure. Aftercare medications may also add to the final cost.
How do hair transplants work ?
Simply put, a hair transplant takes hair you have and transfers it to an area where you don’t have hair. It’s typically taken from the back of your head, but can also be taken from other parts of your body. Before starting a transplant, your surgeon sterilizes the area where the hair will be removed and numbs it with a local anesthetic. You can also request sedation in order to stay asleep for the procedure.
There are two types of hair transplants : Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and Follicular unit extraction (FUE).
Follicular unit transplantation
1)Using a scalpel, the surgeon removes a piece of your scalp, usually from the back of your head. The strip size is typically about 6 to 10 inches long but can stretch from ear to ear.
2)They close the area where the scalp was removed with stitches.
3)Your surgeon and their assistants separate the scalp strip into smaller pieces with a scalpel. They may split the piece up into as many as 2,000 smaller fragments, called grafts. Some of these grafts may contain only one hair each.
4)Using a needle or blade, the surgeon makes small holes in your scalp where hair will be transplanted.
5)The surgeon inserts hairs from the removed piece of scalp into the puncture holes. This step is called grafting.
6)They then cover the surgical sites with bandages or gauze.
Follicular unit extraction
1)They shave off hair on the back of your head.
2)The surgeon then takes individual follicles out of the scalp skin. You’ll see tiny marks where each follicle was removed.
3)As with the FUT procedure, the surgeon makes small holes in your scalp and grafts hair follicles into the holes.
4)They then cover the surgical site with bandages or gauze.
The most common side effect is scarring, and this cannot be avoided with any procedure.
Other potential side effects include:
- crust or pus drainage around the surgical sites
- scalp pain, itching, and swelling
- inflammation of hair follicles (folliculitis)
- losing sensation around the surgical sites
- visible areas of hair that don’t match the surrounding hair or are noticeably thinner
- continuing to lose hair if your hair is still balding
FUT and FUE may each take several hours to several days to complete. In part, this depends on the amount of work performed by the surgeon. You will go home the same day of the procedure.
Once the surgery is done, your surgeon carefully removes any bandages. The area may be swollen, so your surgeon might inject triamcinolone into the area to keep the swelling down.
You’ll likely feel pain or soreness at the transplant site as well as in the area where hair was taken from. For the next few days, your surgeon may prescribe:
-pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil)
-antibiotics to prevent infections
-anti-inflammatories, such as an oral steroid, to relieve swelling
-medications such as finasteride (Propecia) or minoxidil (Rogaine) to help stimulate hair growth
Tips for aftercare :
-Wait a few days after the surgery to wash your hair. Only use mild shampoos for the first few weeks.
-You should be able to return to work or normal activities in about 3 days.
-Don’t press a brush or comb down over the new grafts for about 3 weeks.
-Don’t wear any hats or pullover shirts and jackets until your doctor say it’s OK.
-Don’t exercise for about a week.
-Don’t worry if some hairs fall out. This is part of the process. Transplanted hair may not grow much or seamlessly match the hair around it for a few months.
Do consult a doctor or dermatologist before deciding to perform a hair transplant , as you have know that the surgery is not guaranteed to be successful and there will be risks or side effects. You may also not be eligible for either procedure based on your hair volume or quality