Hair Transplant: Procedure, Recovery and Side Effects
Continuous hair fall is troubling. It can soon form a bald area on your head. However, you can get a fuller head again through a hair transplant.
You can get two different kinds of procedures depending on the amount of area you want to cover.
This article discusses the procedure and aftercare of hair transplantation. Keep reading to know if you should get it.
You may start losing hair from any age.
It can be due to pattern baldness, alopecia, an inadequate diet, genetics, hormonal imbalance, stressing out a lot, certain medications and disease.
Without hair, your appearance can look drastically different.
Though not everyone can get a transplant.
If you have lost hair due to burns or injury on the scalp hairs, then it is a suitable procedure for you.
Furthermore, women can get surgery if they have thinning hair.
Men usually go through pattern baldness which makes them eligible for the hair transplant procedures.
Though, if men and women have a widespread pattern of baldness across their heads then this procedure is insufficient.
Furthermore, it is not suitable for you if you get keloids after an injury.
Also, you require donor hair sites on your head to undergo the procedure.
Though pattern baldness does not affect these sites, you may lack hair here.
As a result, you are unsuitable for the procedure.
Next, if you underwent chemotherapy because of cancer treatment, the medications also target your hair roots.
Thus, you can lose hair around your body and will not be able to replenish them through a transplant.
If you fit the criteria then you should plan a consultation with your surgeon.
They will discuss your options and recommend the best-suited procedure.
Your hair transplant surgeon may suggest and choose from these two procedures:
- Slit grafts
They will go for slit grafts if you require more coverage.
They contain 4 to 10 hair in one hair grafting.
While micrograft will only contain 1 or 2.
Essentially, they move hair from donor area hair sites to areas of the scalp that are bald or hair thins to make the head fuller.
After the consultation at a hair transplant clinic, your doctor will give you a set time for the procedure.
Hair Transplant Procedure
The surgeon begins by cleaning your scalp and numbing the target area using local anesthesia.
They proceed to use one of the ways to extract follicles.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE Hair Transplant).
FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation)
Your surgeon cuts a strip of skin from the back of your head.
This is about a 6 to 10 inches long incision.
They close the stitches but cuts the scalp skin strip into small sections.
Using a surgical knife and magnifying glass to cut it precisely into 500 to 2000 smaller grafts.
They all contain one hair or many.
The number of these tiny grafts that your doctor implants depend on the treatment area, hair color, type and quality.
Then they implant these sections on the head to achieve a head full of hair that looks completely natural using a needle or scalpel to make slits and plant grafts.
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)
This method uses punch incisions to directly extract hair follicles.
However, first, your surgeon will shave the back of your head and extract hair follicles carefully one by one.
Your surgeon will insert these tiny punches at the back of your head in the amount of a hundred to thousands.
After they make these holes (with the use of a needle) in the treatment area on the scalp, they place hairs inside them.
They can insert thousands of hair in only one session.
Later they will cover the area with bandages so that it heals.
Though, healing can take time.
Therefore if you need three to four sessions, they are usually several months apart.
Your doctor will remove the stitches 10 days later.
One session can take about 4 hours or even longer depends on the amount of hair you can get on your head.
Aftercare and Recovery
If you lose hair after the hair transplant surgeries and want to give a fuller and thicker look to your hair, you can get another transplant.
However, you will have to wait for a while because it takes time to completely heal.
As soon as your procedure ends your scalp may swell and feel tender.
Your doctor will advise you to take pain medications to reduce pain, infection and swelling.
Hence, they will prescribe you antibiotics, anti-inflammation medicines and pain meds.
Your bandages or gauze will remain on your scalp for at least 2 days.
Though, you will soon feel better and return back to your normal routine in about 5 to 6 days.
Do not worry if you see hair falling out for the first two to three weeks.
This is completely normal.
In fact, this leads to new hair restoration that starts appearing in about 8 to 12 months’ time.
You will see 60 percent of new hair regrowth by that time.
Furthermore, your doctor can prescribe you hair growth medicines.
These include minoxidil and finasteride.
Besides promoting hair regrowth they will also stop hair loss.
So in a year’s time, you will have a new look with your hair.
Furthermore, having a head full of hair will increase your confidence and self-esteem.
The success rate of implants growing is also about 85 to 95 percent.
Though, several people hesitate before taking this leap of faith.
This is due to the risks and side effects associated with it. More on that below!
Furthermore, the cost of this procedure is a heft amount too.
It differs across patients but will be over $4000.
Though you cannot get this procedure done using laser technology such as a soft light laser.
Laser technology is used for hair removal methods though is useful here too.
Hair Transplant Side Effects
The main side effect is getting swelling and tender scalp after the surgery.
However, there are risks with every surgery such as bleeding, scarring and infection.
Let’s discuss them in detail below.
Besides these main risks, you can also develop bruises around your eyes.
The area that was numbed using local anesthesia can feel numb without any sensation for a long time.
Furthermore, there can be infection of hair follicles along with inflammation. This is called folliculitis.
It usually happens when new hair growth starts.
Crusts can form at the treatment area either from where you remove hair follicles or the site of implantation.
Your head can feel itchy after the procedure.
Furthermore, there are chances of shock loss.
This happens when you suddenly lose the newly transplanted hair.
Though, there’s nothing to worry about as this will be temporary.
Consult your doctor when this happens.
They will inform you about the side effects beforehand.
Though, you should visit them when you fear infection as only they can prescribe antibiotics that will heal you.
There is a risk with every cosmetic procedure to go wrong.
So can your hair transplant.
The risk of getting completely unnatural-looking hair after the surgery exists.
The implantation of the strands could go wrong.
While you expected a natural look like that you had before the procedure, you may end up with something that does not suit you at all.
Therefore, ask about the risks, side effects and complications before beginning the procedure.
Tell your doctor to show you the results of other patients.
If you are wary of the procedure and fear side effects, then it is better to discuss the improvement you will eventually get.
Weigh if that is worth undergoing this procedure with risks.
But first, choose a trustworthy and reputable surgeon.
Should You Go For a Hair Transplant?
If the bald areas on your scalp are affecting your confidence and self-esteem then you can take a leap of faith.
However, thoroughly consult with your doctor about the risks.
A few of them can disturb your quality of life rather than improve it.
Generally, after the procedure, your hair growth will continue in the treatment area. Though, it can be more or less dense than your previous hair.
This depends on the curl of your hair, the follicles density, the quality of your hair and the laxity of your scalp.
You will need to follow up with low-level laser therapy to prevent hair loss in the areas that were not treated.
This laser treatment and the medicines like minoxidil prevent hair loss throughout your scalp.
Hence, if you continue to lose hair on other parts of the scalp, take your medicines or get low-level laser therapy.
Keep your expectations realistic regarding this procedure.
It will take time for your hair to grow back.
So be patient for at least a year to see full results.
Carefully consider this procedure as its minimum cost is around $4000 but it can go up to $15000 depending on your surgeon, location and the area that needs coverage.
If you think a hair transplant can improve your quality of life, confidence ad self-esteem then you should go for it.
However, discuss the risks and need thoroughly with your surgeon.
Make your decision wisely as it is not only an expensive but an extensive procedure which can change your looks.
Body confidence is important after all with or without the procedure.
Therefore, choose what suits and represents you confidently.