A hair transplant is a procedure in which an experienced plastic surgeon (or a dermatologist) moves hair from around the head onto the top or front portion of the head. Basically, the hair follicles are harvested from the area where the hair is present and implanted in the bald area. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia. Let’s answer a burning question before we get into the procedure of hair transplantation.
“Why do humans lose hair on their head? Why do some men go partially bald while some others go completely bald?”
“In many cases, genetics are to be blamed for losing hair. Along with that lifestyle, diet, stress levels, hormonal imbalance are contributing factors for hair loss. Recent research has found that the stem cells that are supposed to be present in the hair follicles are escaping out of the hair follicles resulting in no re-growth after the hair falls off”.
Who is a good candidate for hair transplant surgery?
Following are the candidates who can go for hair transplant surgery:
- Men with male pattern baldness
- Women with thinning hair
- Any person who has lost hair on a part of his/her head due to surgery or injury or for any other reason.
Who is NOT a good candidate for hair transplant surgery?
- A person who doesn’t have enough hair on his/her head to transplant to the bald area
- A person with thick scars on the head due to injury or a surgery
- Those who lost their hair due to chemotherapy (Usually hair grows back after sometime after stopping chemo)
- Women with widespread hair loss throughout the scalp.
Hair Transplant Surgery – Procedure
There are mainly two types of hair transplant procedures:
- Slit Grafts – In this procedure, the graft has up to 10 hair strands
- Micrografts – In this procedure, the graft has up to 2 hair strands.
(Graft is the standard term used in hair transplant surgery which means a strip of skin containing the hair/hair follicles. Cost of hair transplant is charged on per graft basis.)
Before commencement of the procedure, local anaesthesia is administered to numb the area. There are two techniques using which the follicles are removed from the source area to the targeted area:
- FUT – Follicular Unit Transplantation
- FUE – Follicular Unit Extraction.
FUT – Follicular Unit Transplantation
- A scalpel (or similar tool) is used by the plastic surgeon to strip the scalp skin from the source area (typically from the back or side of the head). The incision made is usually few inches long.
- Then the area is closed with stitches and the removed portion of scalp is separated into very minute sections. The minute sections of the scalp skin are then implanted in the targeted area.
- Stitches will be removed after 10 days.
FUE – Follicular Unit Extraction
- Instead of a patch of skin, follicle by follicle transplantation is done in this method.
- Tiny holes are punched into skin in the targeted area and hair is implanted into these holes. In each session, few hundreds to thousands of strands may be transplanted.
- Bandage or gauze will be used to cover the area for few days.
Multiple sessions may be required depending on the amount of area that needs to be covered with hair.
Post operative care
The patient will be put on pain medication, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to control pain and infection and to reduce possible swelling on the head.
It is quite normal for the implanted hair to fall off and one can expect growth of new hair in the area. Some people will see new hair growth in about 12 months after the surgery. Hair regrowth medicines will be prescribed to help boost hair growth in the implanted region.
Complications with hair transplantation
Every surgery involves risk and complications. In order to reduce the complications, one must be very careful in picking the best plastic surgery clinic and the plastic surgeon near him/her on in the city he/she is living. Considering the cost of hair transplantation surgery should always follow after the best doctor is finalized. Top plastic surgery clinics in Chennai charge an upwards of over a couple of lakhs rupees for hair transplant surgery, depending on how many grafts are needed. Please call our front desk for an appointment with our hair transplant specialist who can let you know the precise cost for your surgery.
- Bleeding, Swelling, Infection
- Bruising around the eyes
- Lack of sensation in the area where anaesthesia was administered
- Loss of transplanted hair
- Unnatural looking hair after transplant. (typically happens with an inexperienced plastic surgeon).
Most of these complications should resolve within a few days after the procedure. If you think that it is taking too long for any inflammation or pain to come down, you need to see your plastic surgeon immediately.