Hair restoration is a non-invasive procedure that gives patients a permanent solution to hair loss. Since this is still a surgery, there are a few things every patient must be aware of pre-op for successful transplantation. However, what happens after surgery is just as critical if you want to achieve the best results possible.
There are two different of methods of hair transplantation, and you’ll need to decide which one is right for you.
Follicular Unit Extraction, or FUE, is a technique which involves extracting individual hair from donor areas and using it to restore hair in balding spots. The process is relatively tedious and time-consuming.
Follicular Unit Transplant uses larger strips of skin and hair to cover more significant bald spots including the crown area. This is ideal for those who need to cover large areas of hair loss.
There's a lot to consider when deciding which option is right for you, and you don’t need to do this step alone. Bring all your concerns to your doctor during your consultation. They should help you determine the proper treatment based on the results you are wanting.
The Hair Transplant Procedure
Regardless of the method you choose, hair transplant procedures are a multi-step process. A lot happens to the scalp during this procedure, and it is important you understand the entire process. The procedure itself is not invasive, and patients are usually in and out the same day.
In the first step, your doctor will design a suitable hairline based on your previous hairline, so it looks as natural as possible. The shape has usually addressed in the initial consultation, but it's at this time the doctor will "map" out the area that will receive the donor's hairs.
Next is a preparation of the donor's hair. This step works by removing hair from either the back or side of your head or neck. These areas are perfect donor areas as they are not affected by pattern baldness and grow back easily. However, regardless of where they extract the hairs, they are unaffected by the baldness genetic code.
With FUT, the donor’s hair is sewn together and stitched into your scalp. Within a week to ten days after your surgery, the stitches from the strip are removed, and the transplanted hair will begin growing with your natural hair growth cycle.
If you choose FUE, individual hairs are removed and placed in their new position by using a tool called a "punch." The punch combined with tweezers extract the hair and move it to the receiving area. Because the strands are delicate, after the extraction, they are placed in low-temperature containers. In a few weeks, the transplanted hair will fall out, and your new hair will replace it.
What You Can Expect After the Surgery
Recovery from hair transplantation surgery is slow. For the best results, you need to follow your post-op instructions carefully. Typically, your doctor will instruct you not to engage in exercise for at least three days. It's not advisable to use any blood thinner such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen as it may result in bleeding.
There will be tenderness to the scalp, but your doctor will prescribe a mild-narcotic to alleviate any discomfort while recovering. Other potential medications include antibiotics to prevent infection and Prednisone to reduce or ease swelling.
Swelling is a common side-effect from hair transplantation surgery and usually lasts anywhere from 48-72 hours. Many patients find the swelling can also form around the forehead and eyes which is very normal. Icing the area will help reduce any inflammation and restraining from strenuous activity.
After the process is completed, it’s quite common for individuals to experience mild shedding. This shedding is usually the result of the trauma your scalp has undergone in surgery and is a regular part of the healing process. As your scalp recovers, your hair follicles will begin to grow back.
Patience is a critical factor in any successful transplantation procedure. As your scalp and hair follicles begin to regrow, it can take up to a year before you will be able to cut, dye, or style your hair.
Sometimes, a second procedure is required if you’ve received your transplant too soon. Balding can continue to take place, and your doctor might recommend a follow-up procedure to help phase out any further patches that have occurred. However, this process isn’t usually suggested until months, possibly years after the first transplantation. The possibility of a second procedure is usually discussed in your initial consultation with your doctor.
If you think hair transplantation might be right for you give us a call at 615-635-0892. For a limited time only, when you sign up for a consultation, you will receive $250 off your hair restoration procedure.