Understanding the ABCs
People lose hair everyday. About 50 to 100 strands of hair are lost a day and that is deemed normal. However, there are some people who are haunted by excessive hair loss at some point in their lives. These people may be men or women, children or adults, and it’s sad to know that many of them felt unwanted and inferior because of their condition.
Although inescapable, hair loss can be prevented with proper hair care and treatment. A lot of hair loss treatments, topical or surgical, are out there for you to choose from. But, of all these available treatments, only one name stands tall and great – the hair transplantation.
What is Hair Transplantation?
Hair transplantation is a not a new concept. It has been known and applied throughout the world as an effective treatment for hair loss since the past few decades. Both men and women have considered it as the most effective, only proven way to permanently restore hair to bald and thinning areas of the scalp. It is but a simple operation that involves simple techniques, but is so great that it can do wonders for millions of hair loss victims, whether the hair loss is due to hereditary factors, accident or illness.
But, what really is involved in hair transplantation?
On the most basic, the term “hair transplantation” refers to the surgical movement of permanent hair with its roots to a balding or thinning area on the scalp. This is highly suitable for men who tends to develop the so-called “male pattern baldness”, which is characterized commonly with a receding hair line on the scalp or a bald spot at the crown of the head. Although deemed perfect for men, it is also worth noting that hair transplantation can do wonders for women who experience thinning of hair.
However, the technique of hair transplantation does not just involve the removal of a tassel of hair to the balding area on the scalp. A so-called “donor dominance” of hair is also highly considered here. Donor dominance actually refers to the ability of the grafted hair from healthy donor sites on the scalp to take root and grow normally into the thinning areas of the head. So, once the right donor is identified, the process takes its own course smoothly, following the right steps to hair transplantation.
The hair transplantation is typically done under local anesthesia. Those who prefer to consider this technique are those who wish to undergo an outpatient procedure in which hair transplantation is an example. So in the process, hair and follicles are taken or removed from the identified donor area of permanent hair. The usual area on the scalp where the donor hair is taken is along the back and sides of the head. This area is masked immediately by the hairs that surround it.
What happens next is that the removed hair follicles are classified and divided into individual grafts. These grafts usually vary in size. Those that are considered smaller typically contain one to two hairs and often referred to as the “micrografts” or “follicular units”. The larger minigrafts, on the other hand, may contain one to six hairs, and this group is what is usually considered as the most potent agent for providing more density for each and every graft.
Identifying the grafts involve the right selection of number, as well as the type of graft to use for the transplantation. These factors are taken into account with the consideration of what type of hair the subject bears. The color and quality of hair are also of great attention here, outside from the focus on what area of the scalp to be transplanted. Once all of the grafting and identification are done, the hairs
with roots gathered are then ensconced into the thinning area of the head and is
expected to take root and grow normally.
With the use of anesthesia, any discomfort that might occur during the hair transplantation procedure may not be felt by the subject involved. However, proper checking and examination must be further taken into consideration as hair transplantation is not a matter to be left unattended, nor a matter of joke. This is the reason that surgeons and their staff who perform hair transplantation are expected to carefully check the newly transplanted hairs will grow together in certain directions to form a hair line.
Length of Time Involved in Hair Transplantation
Hair transplantation is an office procedure that requires multiple sessions for the patient to meet. These multiple sessions are usually taken at various intervals, and most of those who undergo this treatment experience and attain natural look even with only a minimum of procedures.
There are also some instances in which most of the successful candidates of hair transplantation only need one to two sessions. Usually, each session considered is several months apart from the other. But, if we will look closely at how much time will be spent in a single procedure, you would be surprised to know that hair transplantation may take up an approximate time of about four to eight hours. This duration, however, depends on the extent of the planned procedure.
Usually after the procedure, most patients return to their office and work two to five days, following the surgery. But, during this stage, most people consider sessions to complete the hair restoration in a particular area then affected by balding. Also, it is worth noting that in hair transplantation procedure, the number as well as the timing of transplants largely depends on the amount of hair that the subject bears when the procedure starts. It may also depend to how
much hair density is desired and to how much is expected that the person will
continue to lose without the transplanting procedure.
What to Expect in the Procedure?
In hair transplantation, a lot of things can be expected to happen. This is also true with the other hair loss procedures. So if you happen to be a victim of excessive hair loss and you are currently thinking of hair transplantation as your best options, then I bet you would love to know what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Knowing these things will definitely prepare you for the actual challenge. So please read on and note what should be noted.
Before The Procedure: The Qualifications Expected
Hair transplantation is a hair loss treatment procedure that requires both technical and medical expertise from the individual who will perform the treatment. I am referring specifically to the doctor. So when thinking of hair transplantation it is best to select a doctor who knows exactly everything about the procedure. He or she must be capable of performing the right technique and the doctor must have that sense of aesthetic appreciation of the natural hair growth. To put it simply, it’s best to choose the right doctor to handle the procedure.
Aside from the qualifications expected from the doctor, there are also some qualifications expected from the person who will undergo the treatment or the patient. So, according to some experts, persons who are qualified for the hair transplantation treatment are those who have developed excessive balding or thinning. The hair loss should be a cause of illness, accident or due to hereditary factors. Also, the person who is about to undergo hair transplantation must have understood his or her real situation. This means that the person should be aware of why the balding occurs and what type of hair loss he or she is experiencing. Yes, knowing the real causes of hair loss and one’s situation is a matter worthy of
consideration. It is only through this step that the persons involved will know
exactly if hair transplantation is the right option for them or not.
A sense of strong interest and willingness to undergo hair transplantation is but another requirement needed before the operation.
During the Procedure
There are a lot to expect during the hair transplantation procedure. In the first place, it is worthy to note that hair plantation happens in an office. It is done in an outpatient setting. So it’s expected that patients will walk in and walk out the same day.
Before the actual procedure starts, the patient is typically given with oral, or in some instances intravenous sedation and inhalant. This will then be followed by a local anesthesia which is typically injected to the donor sites. The donor sites are those areas in the scalp where a tassel of healthy hair will be removed and transferred to the balding spots.
Once the right donor is taken, the surgeon will microscopically divide it to grafts, as mentioned earlier. It is the grafted hairs actually that are capable of growing much like the normal hair. And, since anesthesia is used during the procedure, any of the possible discomfort will be eliminated.
After the Procedure
After the actual hair transplantation procedure, expect to return to your work 24 to 48 hours. Yes, this is possible in hair transplantation knowing that this procedure is outpatient. Aside from that, expect your hair to be washed the morning after each procedure, but when it comes to vigorous activities that involves physical strength, you should refrain or limit such activities for five to
seven days, following the hair transplantation. This will help the transplanted
hairs to take root and grow.
Certain forms of medication are also inevitable after the procedure. The medication is generally used to lessen the swelling which is possible to occur following the actual transplantation. It is also considered to prevent scabs and crusting from further occurring as these may be present for seven to ten days, along with some itching right at the treated spots.
It is also usual for the person who has considered hair transplantation to feel numb particularly at the donor sites. Nevertheless, this numbness usually disappears within a number of weeks to a few months. To monitor the progress of the transplantation, certain follow up visits are usually considered. These visits, however, are taken at four to six months intervals.
Patients of hair transplantation usually encounter certain difficulties before, during and after the procedure. Most of those problems have something to do with the cosmetic downtime in the postoperative period of the transplantation, but there are some that show anxiety at varying degrees and a sense of discomfort during and after the procedure.
It is often noted that during the procedure, the patient will experience a sense of restlessness. This is perhaps due to that longer period of time spent to achieve the expected results. Also, it is often due to this period of time that the person considering the technique might experience a difficulty in refraining from moving and talking. According to some experts, it is this action actually that makes it more difficult for the doctor and his or her assistants to finish the procedure earlier than expected.
After the procedure, the most common difficulties experienced by patients of hair transplantation include some degrees of discomfort particularly at the spot where the donor hairs are taken and removed. Also a variable degree of swelling is often experienced and this is highly common in the forehead, but swelling in this area often resolves after a few days. Finally, patients of hair transplantation often experience self-consciousness, which is found to be a product of those tiny scabs that tend to form at the sites where the donor hairs are removed.
Many people are asking if there are certain complications associated with hair transplantation. The fact is, complications are common in hair transplantation as there are in other surgical procedures. Nonetheless, it is very critical to note that the complications associated with hair transplantation are generally rare and they appear only minimally. Certain complication such as bleeding and infection are just minor and oftentimes infrequent. But, to better achieve a favorable result from the operation, experts suggest avoiding certain drugs like aspirin or some herbal remedies prior to the surgical procedure. If, for instance, there are certain concerns or questions present in your mind, make sure to talk about them with your doctor.
The results of hair transplantation can generally be linked to scarring or the general appearance of the hair following the treatment. Well, in terms of scar, experts have said that following the procedure, the site from where the donors are taken and removed is usually characterized by a fine scar line. But, this is not detectable as this line is hidden by the permanent hair in that spot. There are also tiny marks at the area where the grafts have been placed and some crusting over these spots may occur initially. Generally, if the right procedure has been taken, the hair will no doubt grow in the proper direction and can be seen as natural. The hair can be washed, cleaned, combed, or styled if desired. And perhaps what nice about hair transplantation is that once the transplants and the sessions are completed, no special maintenance is further required. You will just be surprised when you see yourself in front of the mirror with growing, natural-looking hair.
The Right Candidate for Hair Transplantation
In hair transplantation, any person with noticeable hair loss can be a good candidate for the procedure. However, the requirement does not just end there. Persons who can be considered for the procedure are those with noticeable hair loss and whose remaining hair is capable of growing when transplanted. If you still remember, I have mentioned earlier something about “donor dominance”. So if you have strands possessing such dominance, then hair transplantation could be a good option for you.
Note also that although hair transplantation is thought to be best for men, specifically for those who have developed a male pattern hair loss, it doesn’t mean that women are exempted from the qualification. The truth of the matter is, hair transplantation is also now widely considered for women who wish to look young and beautiful despite their age. The technique is also applied throughout the world for both young and adults, provided that the persons considering it have noticeable hair loss and have remaining hairs that are capable of taking root and growing when transplanted.
So everything has been said. Now, it’s nice to know that hair transplantation has undergone a dramatic change over the last decade. Today, several forms of refinements have been made in the techniques of the treatment. A great emphasis on the technique has also been considered and it’s nice to know that all of these great efforts are done to create the most natural appearance possible and to make people affected by hair loss to redevelop their confidence.