Like good health and youth, most of us take our lock for granted -- that is, until they're gone. For many people, a Hair Transplant can help bring back what looks like a full -- or at least a fuller -- head of hair.
If thinning up top or going bald really bothers you, the procedure can be one way to feel more confident about your looks. But first talk with your doctor about what you can expect during and after the surgery.
What Is a Hair Transplant?
It's a type of surgery that moves hair you already have to fill an area with thin or no hair. Doctors have been doing these transplants since the 1950s, but techniques have changed a lot in recent years. You usually have the procedure in the doctor's office.
Depending on the size of the transplant you’re getting, the process will take about 4 to 8 hours. You might need another procedure later on if you continue to lose hair or decide you want thicker hair.
Pattern baldness is responsible for the majority of hair loss. This comes down to genetics. The remaining cases are due to a variety of factors, including:
- hormonal imbalance
Who might benefit from a hair transplant?
Receiving a hair transplant can improve your appearance and self-confidence. Good candidates for a hair transplant include:
- men with male-pattern baldness
- women with thinning hair
- anyone who has lost some hair from a burn or scalp injury
Hair replacement isn’t a good option for:
- women with a widespread pattern of hair loss throughout the scalp
- people who don’t have enough “donor” hair sites from which to remove hair for transplant
- people who form keloid scars (thick, fibrous scars) after injury or surgery
- people whose hair loss is due to medication such as chemotherapy
What happens during a hair transplant?
After thoroughly cleaning your scalp, a surgeon uses a small needle to numb an area of your head with local anesthesia. Next, they use a scalpel to remove a round section of your scalp covered with hair. Then they sew the scalp closed.
The surgeon next separates the removed portion of scalp into small sections using a magnifying lens and sharp surgical knife. When implanted, these sections will help achieve natural-looking hair growth.
The surgeon makes tiny holes with a blade or needle in the area of your scalp that is receiving the hair transplant. They gently place hairs in these holes. During one treatment session, a surgeon may transplant hundreds or even thousands of hairs.
After the graft, gauze or bandages will cover your scalp for a few days. A hair transplant session can take four hours or more. Your stitches will be removed about 10 days after surgery. You may require up to three or four sessions to achieve the full head of hair you desire. Sessions occur several months apart to allow each transplant to fully heal.
Expectations and Recovery:
After the surgery, your scalp may be very tender. You may need to take pain medications for several days. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages over your scalp for at least a day or two. He may also prescribe an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory drug for you to take for several days. Most people are able to return to work 2 to 5 days after the operation.
Within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out, but you should start to notice new growth within a few months. Most people will see 60% of new hair growth after 6 to 9 months. Some surgeons prescribe the hair-growing drug minoxidil (Rogaine) to improve hair growth after transplantation, but it’s not clear how well it works.