A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that moves hair follicles from one part of the body, called the ‘donor site’, to a bald or balding part of the body known as the ‘recipient site’. Hair transplant is sought after by patients who look for a natural-looking permanent solution to baldness. Hair loss or alopecia which occurs in both men and women is caused by some factors like male-pattern baldness and medication.
Hair transplant is a minimally invasive procedure in which hair grafts containing resistant follicles to balding (like the back of the scalp) are transplanted to the bald area. Hair transplant is also used to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery. The most common area for hair transplant is the scalp, which is popular among men with receding hairlines.
The procedure involves moving hair from a donor are on the body, either follicle by follicle (FUE) or in skin strips (FUT strip harvesting), and then carefully placing them into the bald area.
Recommended for Patients
- patients over the age of 30
- men with male pattern baldness
- women with thinning hair
- anyone who has lost some hair from a burn or scalp injury
|Number of days in hospital||No need for hospitalization|
|Average length of stay abroad||3 days|
|Surgery duration||4 to 12 hours|
The scalp may be quite sensitive after hair transplant and It is necessary to wear bandages for a few days; the doctor may prescribe pain killers, an antibiotic to prevent infection, or an anti-inflammatory to stop swelling.
Recovery time depends on the type of method used: recovery after FUE method is faster and most patients return to work within a week. Most of the transplanted hair will fall within 6 weeks of the surgery but you will see new hair growth within 2 months, with hair growing by a half-inch each month.
Before the operation
In consultation session, the surgeon analyzes the patients’ scalp, discusses their preferences and expectations, and advises them on the best approach and what results might reasonably be. Pre-operative folliscopy will help to know the actual existing density of hair so that postoperative results of newly transplanted hair grafts can be accurately assessed. Some patients may benefit from preoperative minoxidil application and vitamins.
Several days prior to surgery, the patient refrains from using any medicines which might result in intraoperative bleeding and resultant poor grafting. Alcohol and smoking can contribute to poor graft survival. Post-operative antibiotics are commonly prescribed to prevent wound or graft infections.
During the operation
The scalp is shampooed and then treated with an antibacterial agent prior to harvesting the donor area. Then anesthetic is injected to donor area in order to numb it and then the extraction begins.
The donor site is often at the back of the head, and any scarring from the incision can be concealed with hair. These hairs are usually clipped to 1 to 2 mm in length, and implanted into the recipient site. Once the hair transplant is complete, the area may be dressed with a surgical dressing which will need to be kept in place for 1-2 days.
After the operation
Patients will normally go home after the procedure to rest with the head slightly raised. The vulnerable recipient area must be shielded from the sun, and shampooing is started two days after the surgery. Some surgeons will have the patient shampoo the day after surgery. It is important to prevent scabs from forming around the hair shaft. Scabs adhere to the hair shaft and increase the risk of losing newly transplanted hair follicles during the first week after the surgery.
During the first two weeks, some of the transplanted hair fall out (shock loss). After two months new hair will begin to grow again normally and continue to thicken through the next six to nine months. Any subsequent hair loss is likely to be only from untreated areas which should be treated eventually.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The Advantages of Hair transplant
- You are the donor in this case, which means, you don’t have to worry about the history and quality of hair that is used to cover the bald areas.
- As long as you haven’t opted for multiple hair transplants, the procedure is complete in just one sitting!
- Hair transplant is a completely safe procedure and poses just mild discomfort, which can be addressed by local anesthesia.
The Disadvantages of Hair transplant
- While the transplant leads to healthy hair growth, it may take months for you to notice visible growth in the length of your hair.
- The procedure may lead to possible side effects such as scalp swelling, itching, and numbness of the scalp.
- As miniscule as it may be, there is always a chance of the transplanted hair follicles to die off before the occurrence of any regrowth. In this case, the patient is likely to notice bumps and redness on the site of transplant.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a hair transplant procedure take?
The procedure is completed within a few hours depending on the amount of hair loss. If the hairless area is too large, several sessions may be needed to complete the treatment. In general, the intervention is carried out with sedation under local anesthesia.
What is the recovery/healing time after the treatment?
A special bandage is applied to the head section of the patient after the procedure and the patient is discharged a few hours later. Although pain is rare, pain control is provided with pain relievers. The patient can generally go back to work by keeping the head covered after a 3-days home rest. The first medical wound dressing is done on the 5th day.
From which area are hair taken for the hair transplant?
In the procedure, the hair follicles taken generally from the back of scalp. These hair follicles taken are called grafts. In rare cases, there is not a sufficient amount of healthy hair in the area. In such cases, hair follicles may be taken from other body parts with hair, such as the arms or the chest wall of the patient.
Does the transplanted hair fall out?
The hair that has been transplanted is shed within a few weeks following the transplant procedure but this is a normal situation and they will grow again 3-4 months later and these transplanted hair follicles preserve their characteristics and will not fall. However, the original hair in the same area may continue to be lost and new hair transplant may be planned depending on the decrease in the hair density.
Your dedicated Cosmetic Surgeon will talk to you in detail about your symptoms, examine your nose and give you advice on the best way forward.
When will I need the next hair transplant?
This really depends on you. A useful approach is to build a solid foundation ahead of surgery by establishing your hair loss through medical treatment, with drugs such as finasteride. This will give you a sense of your hair’s stability, and prevent further hair loss. Consult your doctor.
What are the important factors for hair transplant?
Hair transplant presents some risks when it is not carried out under suitable conditions just as it is the case with all medical interventions. However, when the hair transplant procedure is carried out by an experienced plastic surgeon the complications are very rare.
What are the risks in hair transplant?
Like every medical procedure, hair transplant carries various risks. Hair transplant is a long procedure and several transplants may be needed within 1-2 years depending on the degree of the hair loss. Complications such as infection and significant scars may be seen although these are very rare. After the operation, a little pain that can be controlled by pain relievers, discomfort, bruising and swelling may be observed. Numbness may occur in the areas where the hair is taken or where the hair is transplanted and this recovers spontaneously within 2-3 months.
How long do hair transplants last?
For the vast majority of patients, virtually all transplanted hair lasts a lifetime. In some cases, a small percentage of transplanted hair may be lost as the patient ages.
Will a hair transplant procedure hurt?
Although patients are administered local anesthetics and other medications, the degree of pain or discomfort experienced during or after the procedure varies according to the patient. Some painkillers are prescribed to be taken after the surgery.
How long will I need to rest?
You’ll generally only need to take it easy for a couple of days after the procedure. Take it easy while allowing your body to recover. Avoid over-exerting yourself and leave the gym, running and any heavy activity for at least ten days.