A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that moves healthy hair from one part of your head to thinning or balding areas. Dermatologists or plastic surgeons typically perform it.
After numbing the area, your doctor will open channels in the scalp. The grooves they extend will be at a natural angle that fits the direction of your original hair.
What is a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that involves moving healthy, full-size, vigorously growing hairs from one area of your head to sites with less or no hair growth. During the surgery, you receive local anesthesia to numb your scalp. You can also be given a moderate sedative to aid in your relaxation.
During the surgery, your dermatologist either cuts a strip of skin containing healthy hair from your scalp (a technique called FUT) or makes small punch incisions to remove individual grafts (FUE). Round-shaped punch grafts contain 10 to 15 hairs each; mini-grafts contain two to four; and micro-grafts have one to two inches.
Once the grafts are removed, your doctor will implant them in your thinning or bald scalp in locations that match your natural hair patterns. Most grafts will take root and grow after nine months. However, the regrowth process may take longer for some patients. You will probably need a “touch-up” procedure after the first year to improve the appearance of scars or to fill in sparse areas.
How does a hair transplant work?
Hair transplants are a surgical technique that involves moving healthy hair follicles from one part of the scalp (known as the ‘donor site’) to bald or thinning regions of the scalp (known as the ‘recipient site’). During this procedure, hair transplant experts like Bosley take grafts containing hair genetically resistant to balding and move them to the bald or thinning areas. The transplanted hair will then grow permanently in the new location.
First, surgeons clean and numb the scalp using local anesthetic or sedation. They then create holes or slits in the scalp where they want the grafts to go using a needle or a scalpel. Depending on the transplant size, they may need help from other team members to plant all of the grafts.
The hair follicles are then carefully separated and harvested using FUSS or FUE techniques. Once the follicles have been removed, they are cleaned to remove any excess blood or oil that could compromise their viability. The bristles are then grouped in configurations that mimic natural hair growth patterns to produce the most authentic results.
What are the risks of a hair transplant?
Hair transplants are generally safe if you choose an experienced and reputable surgeon. However, as with all surgeries, complications can arise. These complications can affect the cosmetic and health outcomes of the procedure.
Some people may experience pain after their hair transplant, lasting up to a week. The pain is caused by minor cuts to the scalp that are needed to insert the new follicles. This pain is usually controlled by medication provided after the surgery.
Another risk of hair transplants is infection, which can occur if the scalp is not cleaned correctly or the incisions are too deep. Infection can also cause scarring to the scalp and donor areas of the head.
Some people will experience inflammation of the hair follicles after the surgery, which is known as folliculitis. This can be treated with antibiotics or hot compresses. It is also possible to lose some of the original hair in the area of the scalp where the follicles were transplanted; this is known as shock loss and is not permanent.
What are the recovery periods for a hair transplant?
You should avoid touching the transplanted scalp area during this time and allow it to heal. You may experience scabbing and crusting of the scalp in the donor and transplant areas, lasting for two to four weeks. You should also expect some site swelling, which can be uncomfortable, but it is normal and will resolve soon.
Hair restoration surgeons generally recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for a week following the procedure. This is because vigorous activity can cause blood flow to the head to increase and thereby damage or dislodge your new grafts.
It would help if you also avoided direct sunlight after a transplant because the sun’s rays can damage your grafts and lead to unwanted side effects. If you must be outside, wearing a hat to protect your scalp from the sun is recommended.
Following your surgeon’s advice is essential when you can resume work and other activities. The exact length of your recovery period will depend on the type of work you do and the size of your transplant.
What are the benefits of a hair transplant?
There are several benefits of a hair transplant. The most obvious benefit is that it can restore a full head of healthy, natural-looking hair. This can increase self-confidence, especially in social settings. Additionally, it may increase quality of life, as it can help reduce stress and anxiety associated with hair loss or thinning hair.
Another benefit is that the results of a hair transplant are long-lasting. Although some newly transplanted hair may eventually shed, the rest will continue to grow at an average rate for life. You will never have to worry about bald spots or thinning hair again.
The procedure can be performed using FUT (follicular unit transplantation) or FUE (follicular unit extraction). With FUT, the dermatologist will remove a strip of skin with healthy hairs from the back of your scalp. They will then use a microscope to separate the strands into small follicular units. The doctor will then implant the follicular units into a bald or thinning area of your scalp.
FUE is a similar procedure but without the need for stitches. In addition, it can be used to replace a receding eyebrow or beard hair.