A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that transplants hair from one part of the body to another. It is a permanent, natural-looking solution for patients looking to cover baldness or partial baldness. Hair transplant is mainly used to treat male pattern baldness, but the procedure can also restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, moustache hair, chest hair and pubic hair.
The procedure is performed by taking hair follicles from the area called the ‘donor site’, either by skin strips harvesting (FUT) or by follicle by follicle (FUE) techniques, and placing them carefully into the balding area known as the ‘recipient site’.
Before the procedure, patients will have an initial consultation session with the surgeon to establish an appropriate donor site and to discuss the procedure technique. In addition, there are some general recommendations before the procedure:
A local anesthesia is administrated in donor area for a pain-free treatment. There are two surgical techniques by which hair can be removed from the donor area of a patient’s scalp: Follicular unit transplantation (FUT or strip harvesting), and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
In an FUT hair transplant a thin strip of hair is removed from the donor region, where in an FUE transplant each hair graft is removed from the donor region one by one, using a punch tool. Regardless of whether FUE or FUT is used to remove the hair, the method for transplanting each of the grafts is exactly the same.
Once the transplantation is complete, the area may be dresses with surgical dressing which should be kept for 1-2 days. FUT requires a stitch and the patient must return in 7 to 10 days to have this removed. FUE has no stich.
Both techniques form scars. As the donor area is often at the back of the head, any scarring from the incision can be concealed with hair. The procedure may take upto 8 hours or more. Sometimes an extra session might be necessary. Patients may have to wait up to one year to see the full effects of the transplant.
There is no major discomfort associated to this procedure. Pain and numbness feeling, itching, on/off bleeding from the donor area are the most reported discomforts.
Follow the doctor’s instruction very carefully and take antibiotics and pain killers as prescribed. Do not scratch, rub or comb the recipient area. The doctor may recommend special shampoo to clean the head. Usually patients are allowed to wash the hair 24 hours after the surgery, but it is required to follow the doctor’s washing direction very carefully. Avoid taking alcohol for at least a month after the surgery, this will effect the transplanted foliculs. Do not do heavy sport for about a month.
The first transplanted hairs may fall out in the first weeks, but there is no worries. New hairs will grow from transplanted follicles over time.