Hair Transplant Procedure – An Overview
Hair Transplantation is the transfer of hair from a permanent zone in the scalp to an area that has experienced hair loss. Most men and women who experience genetic hair loss have thick hair present in the back and sides of their scalp. These areas are typically termed the “permanent hair zone”, that is, they are resistant to the factors that cause typical genetic hair loss. Because of “donor dominance”, that is, the hair follicles retain their original characteristics regardless of where they are moved to, we can move this healthy hair that is immune to the genetic factors, and it can grow in it’s new location for a lifetime.
In the hair transplant procedure, naturally occurring “follicular units”, clusters of hair ranging from 1-4 hairs each, are moved to an area of hair loss in an artistic manner. The harvesting of the hair may be performed in 2 manners. The most common is called the “strip harvest method” or FUT. In this method and thin strip of hair is removed from the back and possibly sides of the scalp, and the scalp is sutured together leaving a small 1-3mm linear scar that is concealed by the surrounding hair. The other harvesting technique is called Follicular Unit Extraction otherwise known as FUE. In this method each individual follicle is removed with a special tool. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each technique and there is a detailed discussion in another location on this website relating to this.
Once the grafts are ready for placement, tiny incisions are made with custom cut blades measuring between 5mm-1.2mm in the areas where the new hair is to be transplanted. These recipient sites are created with a distinct angle and orientation as this is crucial to having the final result be completely natural and the new hair indistinguishable from any existing native hair. After the recipient sites are created the grafts are then placed with jewelers forceps and magnification.
Within 24 hours after the procedure tiny crusts that look like small grains of sand form around the hair grafts and within 5-7 days most of the crusts fall off leaving a short hair graft in place. In 3-4 weeks most of the grafts placed fall out and typically the patient looks like they did before the procedure and even with slightly less hair than before, as the process of transplanting the new hairs can cause some of the native hair to temporarily shed. At approximately 12 weeks the new hair begins to grow in. At 6 months most patients will see about 50% of the new hair growth and typically all the new growth is complete at 1 year post procedure, though some patients may continue to grow new hair well into the second year post procedure.
The transplanted hair can be cut, colored, and styled any way the individual desires as it is normal hair and behaves accordingly. there is nothing fragile about the transplanted hair and after the short healing process the patient may resume all of their normal activities.
The create completely natural hair transplant results it is of the utmost importance that the surgeon possesses a large amount of artistic ability. It is not only important to place the hairline is a completely natural location, it is also important to plan for the future as the hair loss progresses, so that the hair transplant result looks as natural immediately after the procedure, as it does years later.s