Hair Transplant

 

Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure performed on men and women who have experienced significant hair loss. It helps to correct androgenetic alopecia, scarring alopecia and other types of permanent alopecia. In some cases, patients with hair loss from lupus, injuries, or other medical problems may be treated with hair transplantation. In a nutshell, hair transplantation involves transferring hair grafts (skin and hair units of 1 to 4 hairs extracted from a single donor strip) from the back and sides of your head (the donor area) to balding or thinng areas where you would like new hair to grow.

Since every hair transplant clinic has their own unique methods of conducting a hair transplant procedure, this site will not try to explain every method possible. Instead, we will take a look at the procedure with wide angle lense to describe the basic steps behind every hair transplant procedure.

A typical hair transplant procedure has at least six steps:

1. Consultation
2. Blood Tests
3. Anesthesia
4. Extraction of donor hair
5. Implanting of donor hair
6. Post operative care

Consultation

When it comes to hair transplant information on the internet or in promotional cd-roms and brochures, the consultation usually receives the least amount of attention. However, since this is first step in the process, and the one in which you alone will play the largest part, the consultation is perhaps the most important step for the individual. The information exchanged during this meeting will outline your goals and expectations for the outcome of the procedure. The information you receive during this consultation is the only factor you have in choosing either the right clinic or the wrong clinic for you. For more information, read our: Realistic Goals, Your Consultation and Choosing a Doctor pages.

Blood Tests

Once you have decided on a clinic and scheduled an appointment, most clinics require blood tests to be performed as required by law. These blood tests will take place approximately 24 to 48 hours before your surgery. If you live far away from the clinic, the blood tests can be performed by your family doctor or a laboratory which then fax the results to your clinic.

Anesthesia

After your blood tests are confirmed, the doctor can begin your procedure. Each clinic will give you certain instructions to follow before your surgery which will probably include not to take an aspirin product before the surgery, and not to eat or drink 12 hours prior to surgery. The day of your procedure, patients might be given a small sedative to take.This will help to relax you before the surgery and calm your nerves.

Using a local anesthesia, the doctor will numb the recipient area and donor area. This is the only time patients will feel pain which can range from a mild discomfort for some patients to very painful for others. Women tend to endure this step better then men due to their higher capacity for pain.


Link To Real Life Success Stories (Pictures) of hair regrowth



Extraction of donor hair

Once the anesthia has taken affect, the doctor can remove the donor hair grafts which is done using one of two methods in common practice today.

The single strip harvest method is the traditional and most widely used method. A scalpel containing 2 or more blades mounted in parallel is used to cut strips of donor tissue 10 to 20 cm long. The donor strip is then carefully divided into follicular units under a microscope and surgical light. In order to remove this strip, you will have to lay on your stomach so doctors can get a topside view of your donor area.

While the donor strip is being divided and counted into micro grafts, the doctor will suture the donor area together. A number of new techniques have been introduced lately to minimize scarring in this region.

The Follicular Unit Extraction method is another technique some doctors used to harvest donor hair. In this labor intensive technique, doctors use a small punch-like circular scalpel to remove follicular units one at a time. See Follicular Units for more information.

Implanting of donor hair

Following the suturing of your donor area or the Follicular Unit Extraction step, you will recline comfortably in the surgery chair as the medical team begins preparing your hair loss affected area for the follicular unit hair grafts to be implanted.

This step involves making tiny incisions or apertures with a small gauged needle or scalpel in the recipient area. These tiny incisions is where your scalp will receive the new grafts of hair.

Often, a hair transplant team will work together - one making the recipient incision while the other implants the new grafts.

It's during this step in the hair transplant process that the experience and care of the doctor are most needed. The pattern in which the grafts are implanted must appear natural and care is taken by the doctor to insure blood flow to the new grafts. Your hair transplant doctor will be looking at your recipient incisions and must envision in his mind how the hair will look as it grows in over the next 12 months and last for the next 20 years.

Depending on the number of grafts you are having implanted, the entire procedure can last from 2 to 4 hours.

Post operative care

Once the medical team has finished implanting the grafts, the procedure is basically over with. The clinic may keep you there for another hour or so to allow time for the sedative and anesthia to wear off. During this time, your doctor will then go over your post op surgery care with you. He will write you prescriptions for pain, swelling and infection and give you careful instructions on how to take care so that you do not damage the newly implanted hair grafts. See Post Op Recovery for more instruction.

After the surgery, the area will usually be bandaged overnight. The patient can return to normal activities, but strenuous activities should be avoided in the first few days. During the recovery period after surgery, the scalp is often very tender. Strong pain medications taken orally may be necessary for several days. A bulky surgical dressing, or sometimes a smaller dressing protected by a baseball cap, must be worn for at least a day or two.

Although the procedure only lasts 2 to 4 hours, you may have to wait 3 to 6 to up to 12 months for your new hair to start growing in. The newly implanted grafts will scab as they heal and then fall out. However, do not worry when they fall out because they have gone into the dormant stage of the normal hair growth cycle.














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