“I once had great hair, but over the years I haven’t taken much care of my hair. Now my hairline seems to be receding and my forehead looks so big.” – such complaints are so common these days. Having great hair is an asset and losing them is a blow to one’s self esteem. Sometimes, hair-loss cannot be managed adequately with hair care, diet and medications. In such cases, hair transplantation is the only choice.
Losing hair is a gradual process, which could be related to heredity, age, hormonal changes, medications, stress, illness or diet. Despite the fact that the average age of onset of baldness is around 40 years, nowadays many men are facing the problem as early as in their 20’s. Less than 45% of women have their head completely covered with hair throughout their lifetime.
WHAT IS HAIR TRANSPLANTATION?
Hair transplantation involves removing a small patch of skin with hair follicles from your scalp (usually from the back scalp area). The patch is then divided into small pieces which are called as grafts. These grafts vary in size and have variable number of hair. These grafts are then relocated to the bald area. Several sessions might be needed to achieve satisfactory results.
IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?
Deciding whether hair transplantation is right for you demands an in-depth research. Hair transplantation is usually the last resort to restore lost hair when lifestyle and medical therapies fail to work.
Having realistic expectations is important as the procedure involves redistributing hair that are already present. If you are young and your hairline is still receding, you may have to wait till your final hairline is established, as the loss of hair after transplantation is not favorable.
TYPES OF HAIR TRANSPLANTATION:
There are two types of hair transplant methods:
FOLLICULAR UNIT TRANSPLANTATION (FUT)
It is also known as slit graft and is the first hair transplantation technique used to restore lost hair. It involves obtaining a strip of skin with hair follicles from the back of the scalp and separating it into small grafts. These grafts are implanted onto the site where balding has occurred. Post-surgery the patient needs to take care of both the site of implantation and that of incision.
FOLLICULAR UNIT EXTRACTION (FUE)
FUE is also known as micrograft. It involves obtaining individual hair follicular units from the donor site rather than taking a complete strip of skin with hair. It may take more time compared to FUT as it involves removal of multiple follicular units, but this procedure leaves no scar at the donor site. The recovery time and post procedural complication risk of FUE is also lesser than FUT.
Recent advancement of FUE technique is the NeoGraft hair restoration technique. This technique uses advanced technology (Neograft) for automated follicular extraction. The procedure is more advantageous as it reduces the chance of errors that may occur during harvesting and implantation. The procedural duration and post-operative recovery time are also reduced. Using neograft technique increases the chances of hair restoration.
PROCEDURE OF HAIR TRANSPLANTATION
It is important for you to find a well-qualified and skilled doctor for doing hair transplantation. Before starting the procedure, it is advised to discuss about your detailed medical and surgical history and to undergo all tests prescribed by the doctor.
The first step in hair transplantation is cleaning the scalp. Next, a local anesthesia is given using a small needle to numb the area of incision.
The grafting procedure is same for both the processes. The area of implantation is cleaned, and a local anesthesia is given to numb the area. Tiny slits are made using a needle or scalpel and the grafts are placed carefully to ensure that the hair grows in the natural direction.
The procedure may take few hours depending on the number of grafts to be implanted. Once the procedure is completed, the scalp (recipient site) is cleansed and some surgeons prefer to cover the recipient area with gauze or bandages for at least two days. Utmost care is needed while removing the bandage as the grafts may stick to it and get removed along with it. Stitches, if present, are removed after around ten days. The number of sessions required depends upon the requirement and are spaced appropriately to ensure complete healing of the previous graft.
After the procedure, you may be discharged on the same day. Your scalp may feel tender. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Antibiotics may be prescribed to avoid infections at the site of grafting.
Do not worry if the transplanted hair falls off after few weeks. New hair growth may appear within few months. In some cases, minoxidil, a drug which stimulates hair growth, may be prescribed. People can return to work after 4-5 days of the procedure. The side effects of the treatment are minor and may go away in few weeks.
Take these measures at home:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
The hair once implanted can last for life-time as it involves transplantation of healthy follicles in the place of dead or damaged hair follicles.
Yes, hair transplantation effects are permanent. It involves harvesting hair follicles from the dense areas of your head and placing them in the areas that have baldness or thinning. Once these grafts are placed, the hair will continue to grow as normal hair.
The success of hair transplantation highly depends on the skills of your doctor in extracting the grafts without causing any damage to the follicles and accurate placement. Hair transplantation nowadays is quite advanced and new technology like ‘neograft’ is being used widely. Such technology has greatly increased the success rate of hair transplantation.
Hair transplantation is a very safe procedure, provided basic safety measures were followed by both the doctor and patients during the procedure.
It is not recommended to wear a hat for at least ten days after hair transplantation, to ensure that the grafts are completely anchored on the recipient area. Wearing a hat before this period may disturb the grafts and may cause permanent damage. If the surgeon prescribes to wear a hat, choose a loose-fitting hat that will not compress or damage your hair grafts.
The number of grafts needed depends upon your degree of hair loss. Having 2000 hair grafts is a usual practice if you are have borderline baldness.
During FUT hair transplantation, the hair is trimmed to 2-4cm in the donor area. However, the FUE technique requires shaving at the back of your head.
The average cost involved in lowering your hair line is around Rs.1,00,000 to Rs. 4,00,000 depending upon number of sessions involved.
Yes, hair transplantation is expensive as you may need to undergo several sittings for obtaining a satisfactory result. The average cost involved in lowering your hair line is around Rs.1,00,000 to Rs. 4,00,000 depending upon number of sessions involved.