Most hair transplants are performed in an office setting under local anesthesia. You should only experience minimal pain. After thoroughly cleaning the scalp, the surgeon uses small needles to numb an area where there is normal hair growth on the back of the scalp. A portion of the hairy scalp is then removed with a scalpel and set aside. The scalp is sewn closed.
Small groups of hairs, or individual hairs, are separated out from the removed scalp using a magnifying lens and sharp blade. The area that will receive these healthy hairs (usually the front of the scalp) is cleaned and numbed with more small needles.
Finally, tiny holes are made in the front of the scalp. Healthy hairs are delicately placed in the holes. During a single treatment session, hundreds or even thousands of hairs may be transplanted.
Hair transplantation can significantly improve the appearance and self-confidence in patients who are balding. However, it is important to remember that this procedure cannot create new hair. It can only move the hair you already have from the back of the scalp to the front.
Most patients undergoing a hair transplant have male or female pattern baldness. Hair loss is on the front or top of the scalp. Patients must still have thick hair on the back or sides of the scalp to have enough hair follicles to move.
In some cases, patients with hair loss from lupus, injuries, or other medical problems may be treated with a hair transplant.
Risks from any surgical procedure include:
Other risks that can occur with this procedure:
• Unnatural-looking tufts of new hair growth (more common with older techniques)
It is possible that the transplanted hair won’t look as good as you had desired.
Hair transplant patients should be healthy, or surgery is less likely to be safe and successful. Always discuss your risks and options with your physician before undergoing any elective surgery.
Most modern hair transplants result in excellent hair growth within several months after the procedure. Often, however, more than one treatment session is needed to create the best-looking results.
The replaced hairs are usually permanent. No long-term care is necessary.
During the recovery period after surgery, the scalp is often very tender. You may need to take strong pain medications by mouth for several days.
You must wear a bulky surgical dressing, or sometimes a smaller dressing protected by a baseball cap, for at least a day or two. Some surgeons may also recommend several days of antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs after surgery.
After this very brief recovery period, no special treatment is needed.
You will probably be pleasantly surprised. When you read about the procedure, it seems a tad gruesome but the fact is, there’s no pain with the surgery, just a little discomfort. Think of it like getting a filling done at the dentist. The discomfort comes from being in the chair for up to 5 hours for the entire process to be completed, though you will get regular breaks.Post-op, you might experience some mild pain but nothing that your standard painkillers can’t manage for a few days, just like with any minor surgical procedure.
Follicular unit grafting requires tiny incisions to the recipient area and any resultant scarring is generally invisible to the untrained eye. There will also be a small scar from the donor area at the back of your scalp, but it will be hidden under existing hair.
Hair growth is a slow process, even in a person who doesn’t experience hair loss. After you have the procedure, initial signs of growth can take anything from three to four months due to the hair’s natural growing cycle. As your hair starts to grow, the full effects will take around eight months. At one year post-op, you’ll see the full effect.
You’ll need a minimum of three weeks out of the loop – or you can wear a hat – due to the healing process, as the surgical area will be red and a little obvious. The area will be shaved down to provide an ideal surgical environment and to protect existing hairs.
The hair follicles that are transplanted are genetically-resistant against baldness so they will, in theory, continue to grow over your life