As you get older, experiencing thinning hair or hair loss is normal. However, such issues may also occur because of trauma to your scalp or certain medical conditions. Some people dealing with hair loss consider getting hair transplants for either reconstructive or cosmetic reasons.
A hair transplant is a procedure that aims to bring back hair growth, most especially to the parts of the scalp with absent or restricted growth. If you’re planning to have it done, it’s important that you’re aware of the most important facts about this kind of surgery. Here’s a list of things you can expect from it:
1. What Happens During A Hair Transplant?
Your surgeon will start by using a needle to numb the area of your head where the transplants will go using local anesthesia. When getting follicles for transplantation, surgeons often use two main techniques: follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT).
In FUT, the surgeon will utilize a scalpel to cut out strips of skin from the scalp on the back of your head. Typically, the incision is several inches long and then closed with stitches. After that, the surgeon will cut the eliminated part of your scalp into small portions with a surgical knife and a magnifying lens. When implanted, those sections will help in achieving natural-looking hair growth.
In FUE, on the other hand, the hair follicles will be directly cut out from the back of your head through a lot of small punch incisions. Using a needle or blade, the surgeon will create tiny holes on the part of your scalp that’ll receive the transplants. Then, the hairs will be gently placed in those holes. During a single treatment session, surgeons may transplant hundreds or even thousands of hairs. After that, your scalp will be covered up for a few days with bandages, graft, or gauze.
No matter which technique you and the surgeon prefer, a hair transplant may take four hours or more to be carried out. Also, it should be done by an experienced surgeon to avoid any problems in the long run. When it comes to the stitches, they’re typically removed about 10 days after your surgery. You may also need three to four sessions to obtain the results you want. For the transplant to completely heal, the required sessions should be done several months apart.
2. What Happens After A Transplant?
After the procedure, you may experience soreness and need to take some medications. You may be prescribed pain medication, anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling, and antibiotics to lessen the risk of infections. Take those as directed by your surgeon, and use a hair loss product as advised. After all, your surgeon knows exactly what your needs are, and by following their instructions, you’ll achieve better results and recover more rapidly.
Additionally, if you notice that the transplanted hair falls out two to three weeks after your procedure, know that it’s normal. This happens to make way for the growth of new hair. Usually, many doctors advise their patients to take minoxidil and finasteride to enhance hair growth. Such medications will also help in stopping or slowing future hair loss.
One more thing: after your surgery, you should quit smoking. The use of cigarettes and other tobacco products may prolong the recovery period and increase your risk of infection because of carbon monoxide and nicotine. Smoking will also prevent hair development after your transplant and may cause thinning hair. And even though the outcome of your transplant is excellent, you should quit smoking for good to keep your hair protected.
3. Are There Any Side Effects Associated With The Surgery?
While hair transplants are safe in general, especially when experienced and qualified surgeons perform them, there are associated side effects with the procedure. But usually, they’re minor and will subside in just a few weeks.
Here are some of the side effects you may need to deal with:
- Bruising around the eyes
- Swelling scalp
- Lack of sensation or numbness in the treated parts of your scalp
- Infection or inflammation of hair follicles (also called folliculitis)
- Unnatural-looking tufts of hair
In case you end up with severe side effects, consult your doctor about them right away.
4. The Success Rates Of Hair Transplants May Vary
Know that no two persons are the same, so the same thing applies to hair thinness and structure as well as its capability to grow.
Your surgeon will get hair from your own ‘donor area,’ and thus the outcome will depend on how thick your hair is in that said area. Every person also has a different genetic makeup that includes how their hair falls out or grows. On the other hand, if you’re experiencing thinning hair in other parts of your body, the transplant may lead to thinner hair on the head.
So before getting the procedure, make sure to talk to your surgeon carefully so they can give you a good idea of what to expect.
5. Hair Transplants Are Not Cheap
Keep in mind that quality hair transplants aren’t cheap. So don’t be tempted by free consultations that come with rebate coupons, and don’t book a discounted transplant as part of a limited period offer. After all, it’s your life and health at stake.
Plan ahead and be realistic when it comes to your finances. Also, you should consider this kind of surgery an investment in your overall appearance and well-being.
Reputable hair transplant practices have full-time surgeons and an in-house team consisting of highly skilled medical staff working on the procedure. When you’re considering a cheap and too-good-to-be-true surgeon, ask yourself if you want to entrust your safety and health to that particular individual and take that sort of risk.
With that in mind, it’s crucial that you conduct research and consult a reliable hair transplant expert with an excellent team solely dedicated to hair restoration. It’s also worth mentioning that your health insurance won’t subsidize your transplant since it’s an elective surgical procedure. Thus, taking into account its effect on your finances is a must.
It doesn’t matter if your severe hair loss is caused by stress, age, medication, genes, or other factors. Hair transplants can help in not only improving your appearance but also boosting your happiness, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
But before considering this procedure, it’s crucial to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for it. It’s because a hair transplant isn’t for everybody. It might not be the right answer for you and your situation at the moment.
With that said, see to it that you consult a doctor first to find out whether a hair transplant is for you or you’re allowed to look into other treatment options.