Surgical Procedure Defined
The procedure involves surgically removing hair from the back of the head at the base of the neck and relocating the hair follicles to the top and front of the head. Dr. Dauer himself performs this removal process. The hair at the back of the head is resistant to the chemical DHT or dihydrotestosterone. Because of this it is resistant to falling out of the scalp. This is why we often see men with only a wreath of hair at the back and sides of the head.
After the application of a local anesthetic, Dr. Dauer will proceed with the removal of a small strip of hair bearing scalp at the back of the head (called the donor area). He will then suture the incision using a special closure technique and a fine thread suture. Dr. Dauer also typically employs the trichophytic closure technique which allows hair to grow through the donor scar further covering it. The wound will quickly heal, and while it will leave a minor scar (typically 1-3mm), this will always be hidden by the hair at the back of the head which falls down over the scar area.
Dr. Dauer then instructs his surgical team precisely how to divide up the grafts. The strip is then dissected into very small follicular units or hair group grafts as per the doctors orders. These grafts may contain 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs. Each of these units are essentially an organ. They have a blood supply, are chemically regulated like other organs of the body and when transplanted will quickly return to homeostasis.
Following this step of the procedure, Dr. Dauer will personally create small slits in the area which the grafts will be transplanted. This involves quite a bit of artistry and skill. The slits (or receptor sites) are created very carefully and in such a way as to re-create the original hair pattern. Each recipient site has a specific depth, angle, direction, size and width are crucial to proper placement and growth of the transplanted hair. This is by far the most critical and time consuming phase of the procedure.
Following this Dr. Dauer will supervise the actual placement and relocation of the grafts to the receptor area. While the actual placement of the grafts is performed by the surgical staff, Dr. Dauer is supervising every step of the procedure. It is important to note that the grafts can only be laced into the receptor site one way, similar to placing a square peg into a square hole.
The relocation process is minimally invasive and is a minor surgical procedure not much different than having a filling or crown at the dentist. While there may be some discomfort, there is rarely serious pain involved. Patients are awake and alert during the entire procedure and they can have a friend or spouse present, watch a movie and even have lunch during the procedure.
How Long Does It Take
A typical procedure takes the better part of a day. Usually we begin between 8am-10am and end between 4pm-6pm.
Shower and wash and dry your hair thoroughly prior to the surgery. It is also important that patients remember NOT TO CONSUME ANY ALCOHOL or take ANY ASPIRIN for a period of 24 hours prior to the surgery. This may cause excessive bleeding during the procedure.
How Will I Look After a Procedure
Some people are concerned about how they will look after the procedure. Since hair restoration is a minor form of surgery, directly following the procedure it may be possible to return to normal activities such as work. Some have visions of your entire head being bandaged and so on but this is not the case. We do however recommend rest during the day of the procedure.
During the days following the procedure, the patient can return to work and recreational activities. We recommend refraining from strenuous activities such as weight lifting, racquet ball or tennis for 10 days to 2 weeks to avoid accidentally damaging the grafts or stretching out the donor region. The hair can and should be washed gently with the fingers and a very mild shampoo.
After a few days, the redness will subside at the top of the head and the grafts will blend in with the existing hair.
Activities After Surgical Hair Transplant
Hair restoration is a minor form of surgery, not much different from a filling or crown that you might get at the dentist. The day following the procedure you may gently wash your hair. While you certainly don’t want to scrub your scalp, you should try to keep your hair clean. It is best to clean your hair for one week by pouring the water gently over your head from a bowl and then you may wash your hair normally after one week.
It is reasonable to expect some discomfort, but there shouldn’t be much pain involved. There are topical applications that can be used for both the donor and receptor areas. Often times these can be quite effective. These are available at our office. They include copper peptide and other topical formulas.
Most people also return to work the day following surgery and this is quite acceptable. While you may engage in recreational activities, try to refrain from strenuous activities or those where your grafts may be damaged, such as weight lifting, tennis or racquetball.
While the hair transplant procedure is minor surgery we strongly recommend that you take off from work on the day of the procedure. Most patients are able to drive themselves home after the procedure.
If you have ANY questions or are in doubt about anything at all please DO NOT HESITATE to call our office immediately.