What is Hair Transplant?
One of the most effective ways to get your hair back is Hair Transplantation. It’s a simple minimally invasive surgical method that removes hair follicles from one part of the body, called the ‘donor site’, to a bald or balding part of the body. These ‘grafts’, containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding, are transplanted to the bald scalp. Hair Transplantation can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest hair to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery such as face-lifts and previous Hair Transplants.
Since hair naturally grows in groupings of 1 to 4 hair, current techniques harvest and transplant hair “follicular units” in their natural groupings. Thus, modern Hair Transplantation can achieve a natural appearance by mimicking the original hair orientation. This Hair Transplant procedure is called Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is the traditional method of surgical hair restoration and is also known as the “strip method.” With this procedure, hair is removed from the donor area and, under microscopic magnification; grafts are created that keep these natural groupings intact. The grafts are then placed in tiny micro incisions created in a pattern and distribution that mimic natural hair patterns.
With careful precision the surgeon implants the individual grafts, keeping in mind the proper distribution, angle, and arrangement of each graft in order to create a natural-looking result. The surgeon can implant as many as 3000 grafts in one session. But this will still vary according to each case based on the preoperative evaluation of the surgeon. In some cases a patient can have more than one session because the surgeon would first assess the outcome of the first procedure to see if a second treatment is necessary to create the desired coverage.
Who Is A Good Candidate?
A good candidate for FUT is the one who has a good amount of donor hair available. He should also be in his late 20’s at least, because this is the minimum age where the progression of hair loss has finally halted. Otherwise, if Hair Transplant is done too early the aesthetic result will suffer as hair loss continues to be progressive. A patient must also not have any bleeding tendencies, as this could create potential problems later on, especially when the procedure calls for a long incision. It is also important that a patient has realistic expectations about the procedure. This means that he is aware of what can be achieved, the potential risks, and the limitations of Hair Transplant surgery most especially with FUT.
FUT PROCEDURE – STRIP DONOR SITE
Pre-operatively, the surgeon will thoroughly assess the patient during consultation. In this session he will evaluate the type of hair loss, the extent, and if it has stopped its progression. More importantly the surgeon will also determine if he is a good candidate for surgery. He should also be cleared medically to be able to undergo this procedure. For instance he should not have any bleeding problems and allergic tendencies to anesthesia.
One of the added benefits of FUT is that it only requires a local anesthetic. Even with the incisions required for FUT there is actually no need for general anesthetics, which lessens the risks associated with this surgery.
At the beginning of surgery, the surgeon injects the local anesthetic on the donor area on which the strip of scalp would have to be removed. After the strip is removed, the surgeon prepares the recipient site by injecting anesthetics to numb the area from the minute incisions that will be created.
The surgeon would have to shave the donor area for proper visualization during surgery. The donor site is found at the back of the head or near the temples. The hair found in these areas is often resistant to the effects of hair loss, which makes perfect donor grafts.
Once the anesthetic has been administered and has finally taken effect, the surgeon will now start to make the incision on the designated area. The strip of scalp will be taken by the hair technician to individually remove the grafts through a high-powered microscope. The surgeon then sutures the scalp together using a trichophytic closure for better aesthetic outcome. This technique allows the hair to grow through the incision, properly concealing any scars that may result.
Implementing The Hair
Once the donor area is taken care of, the surgeon then prepares the recipient site by making very small incisions, just enough to implant the hair grafts. The surgeon must consider the proper distribution of hair grafts when making these incisions. This is to ensure that the results will come out natural-looking as opposed to past results when implanted hair grafts look like cornrows.
The angle of insertion should also be considered since hair grows at a certain angle instead of straight up. This will take time, but the surgeon can implant as many as 500-3000 hairs in one session. The surgeon would have already determined how many grafts will be needed for one treatment for a particular patient.
After all the required amount of grafts have been implanted the surgeon will cover the incisions. But in most cases surgeons will leave the recipient site uncovered. Once it is established that the patient is stabilized and good to go, he can simply go home. Hair Transplant is an outpatient procedure which means that you can start recovery immediately at your home.
The doctor will prescribe you with analgesics to manage the pain, and an antibiotic therapy as a preventive measure against potential infections.
The full recovery for Hair Transplant, or FUT for that matter, will take months. The incisions site is expected to heal within weeks. But the new hair will take much longer to achieve full results. In fact, around 6-8 weeks, patients experience shock loss. This is a phenomenon where the transplanted hair shed. Some patients worry that this could be an adverse reaction, but it is actually a normal response. New hair will grow in its place, and this will be much stronger and long-lasting.
For most patients, they will already need their first haircut at around ten months. So you can expect your hair to be full growth by that time.
Follicular Unit Transplantation, as an approach for hair restoration, has proved to be a very successful treatment. There will be a linear scar at the back of the head which can be concealed if the hair at the back can be grown a bit longer. As for the recipient site, the new growth will be fully appreciated in around 3 months’ time. This will be after the shock loss has occurred. A few weeks after that, stubble of hair will line the bald areas.
Overall, an FUT can create a beautiful outcome, granted that it is done under the expertise of a highly skilled and reputable Hair Transplant surgeon.
If you are interested in a FUT for your surgical hair restoration treatment, come talk to us and we will guide you through the essentials. We offer a private consultation that will help answer all your concerns, and for you to make an informed decision.
FUE Hair Transplant
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), as opposed to the FUT procedure, is a Hair Transplant technique wherein the doctor extracts the follicular units of hair, from the donor region of your head, one by one. Surgeons use micro punches to extract single follicles and move them, leaving behind almost no signs of extraction.
One to four hair groupings (known as follicular unit grafts) are then transplanted into the balding areas of your head. Therefore in this technique, there’s no need for the physician to make a long incision in the donor area, as in the FUT procedure. This is an ideal method of surgery for patients who want to wear their hair short. This technique is likewise encouraged for patients who have a tight scalp or have previously undergone the ‘strip’ or FUT method however with little or no success. FUE was meant to replace the “classic” follicular unit transplantation (FUT) technique. FUE has become more popular than FUT because it’s less likely to lead to a “hair plug” look, where sections of skin or hair don’t match the surrounding areas. It also won’t leave a large scar like FUT does.
Who Is A Good Candidate for FUE?
A good candidate for a FUE Hair Transplant is someone with thinning hair or balding who still has enough hair nearby to use for a transplant. You may not be eligible for a FUE Hair Transplant if you don’t have enough healthy or thick hair to transplant to the thinning or balding area.
The FUE procedure is considered safe with minor possible side effects, such as tiny white scars where follicles were extracted. In extremely rare cases, there can be infection or tissue death where the surgery was done. You may experience temporary side effects that go away a few days after treatment. Side effects may include swelling, bruising, and sensitivity.
FUE is often done in multiple 2 to 4 hour sessions over the course of several days. In rare cases, a “mega session” may last 10 to 12 hours. FUE is an outpatient procedure, so you can typically go home after each procedure. You don’t have to interrupt your daily routine too much after FUE. Although, it is advised not to immerse the area in water or do any rigorous exercise for about a week. Almost any type of surgeon is qualified to do a Hair Transplant surgery. You may want to consult with a dermatologist who specializes in hair loss or is certified in Hair Transplant surgery.
Hair Transplanted into a new area of your body typically begins growing back in about 3 to 4 months. You can expect about 10-80% of the transplanted hair to grow back.
AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD OF EXTRACTION
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a technique which is not as widely available as FUT (Strip Surgery), due to the difficult technique for surgeons to learn and carry out effectively. This relatively new, pioneering Hair Transplant technique is only available from a small number of specialist surgeons and we pride ourselves in being able to offer it to our patients.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a Hair Transplant technique whereby a small round punch is used to extract units of hair follicles individually from an area of dense hair (usually the back of the head). The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic by a specialist surgeon. Once the follicular unit grafts have been extracted with the punch, hundreds of small incisions are made in the recipient (thinning or bald) area into which the grafts are placed by the surgeon.
ADVANTAGES of FUE over FUT SURGERY
Healing tends to be quick as only small holes are left by the punch. These close up and are extremely hard to be seen, even days after surgery.
Scarring is minimal.
Post-surgical discomfort is reduced due to small extraction holes, as opposed to a donor strip.