Comprehensive Guide to Hair Transplant Procedures
Most of you who are reading this will probably have heard of the term hair transplant. In this blog, I will be covering in detail the topic of what is a hair transplant, what causes hair loss, different types of hair transplants, how hair transplant is performed, and the science behind hair transplants. I will also be answering some common questions that you may have in your mind while thinking of getting a hair transplant. Once you read through the whole blog, you will be equipped with all the knowledge to choose whether you need a hair transplant or not. Now let’s get into it.
What is a hair transplant?
For starters, a hair transplant is a cosmetic in which a doctor moves hair from an area you already have hair (donor area) to an area with no hair or thin hair. Mostly, the donor area will be your back or side of your head. The whole procedure is done under local anaesthesia, and the patient is usually awake during the session.
Before going any further, let me discuss the reason for hair loss and the factors affecting it.
So, what causes hair loss?
On average, you lose 50 to 100 hair in a day, which is pretty normal, and the whole thing goes unnoticed since new hair grows simultaneously. Hair loss begins to be noticeable when new hair stops growing in place of the fallen out ones. There can be reasons that contribute to this pause in the regrowth of hair. The most common cause is Family history; if a person has a family history of hair loss, the person is most likely to inherit this. The medical terminology for this condition is androgenic alopecia.
Male Pattern Baldness
This condition is predominantly seen in men and is called male-pattern baldness. This usually occurs with ageing and is predictable when you spot patterns like a receding hairline and bald spots.
Female Pattern Baldness
In women, androgenic alopecia is seen when there is thinning along with the crown of the scalp.
Other factors causing hair loss :
- Medical conditions – Alopecia areata, trichotillomania, scalp infections caused due to ringworm
- Hormonal changes – pregnancy, menopause, thyroid, etc
- Side effects of drugs – Certain drugs used to treat diseases like heart attack and depression cause hair loss.
- Cancer treatment: Radiation treatment can lead to permanent loss of hair.
- Shocking events: Physical or emotional shock can lead to temporary hair loss.
- Excessive hairstyling or treatments may lead to temporary or permanent hair loss.
I will be writing a detailed blog on hair loss and its factors shortly. For now, let me talk about the hair loss solution that you came here to read about, which is hair transplant. Let’s understand how hair transplant is performed.
How is hair transplant performed?
The way in which hair transplant is performed has drastically changed due to the innovations in the field. The procedure starts with cleaning the scalp and providing local anaesthesia. Next, the Hair Transplant Doctor has to choose which type of hair transplant to go about.
What are the different types of hair transplants?
There are mainly two types of hair transplant techniques that are commonly used,
- Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
- Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
What is a FUT hair transplant?
In Follicular unit transplantation (FUT), the Doctor cuts a strip of skin from the donor area, and individual hair follicles are extracted carefully from this strip and inserted into the balding area of your scalp.
How is a FUT hair transplant performed?
- First, the Expert cleans the patient’s scalp and provides local anaesthesia.
- Then, the Expert cuts and removes a strip of skin from the donor area(back of the head).
- After removing the stips, the scalps are sewed closed by the Expert.
- Next, the scalp strip is divided into 500 to 2000 grafts.
- After the grafts are prepared, the Expert plants these grafts delicately by creating holes or slits with a scalpel.
What is an FUE hair transplant?
In Follicular unit extraction (FUE), individual hair follicles are extracted directly from the scalp, primarily the back of your head, and inserted into the balding area of your scalp.
How is a FUT hair transplant performed?
- First, the doctor cleans the patient’s scalp and provides local anaesthesia.
- Then, the doctor will shave the hair in the donor area, revealing the scalp.
- After this, hair follicles will be removed one by one from here. (area heals with small dots)
- After the grafts are prepared, the expert plants these grafts delicately by creating holes or slits with a scalpel.
Both the FUE and FUT procedure takes about 4-8hours and are usually completed in a day.
How does a hair transplant work?
Let me share with you the science behind hair transplant. Both male pattern baldness ad female pattern baldness is caused due to a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone( DHT). Most of you who are reading this may be hearing about DHT for the time. But everyone knows about Testosterone. Right? If not, Testosterone is the male sex hormone. It is present in both men and women, and DHT is a derivative of Testosterone.
An enzyme in our body is called the 5-alpha reductase (5-AR); enzymes are like biological catalysts that convert the Testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone( DHT). The DHT that got created flows around in your bloodstream and may link to receptors on hair follicles in your scalp, which then causes hair loss.
The action of DHT is not the same in all parts of your scalp; there are parts on your scalp which is resistant to DHT. Let’s call this area a “safe zone” in the safe zone, the hair is permanent, and it will not fall out, even if it’s moved!
Thus during a hair transplant, the hair is harvested from this safe zone(donor site) and planted in the bald area.
Who is the ideal candidate’s hair transplant?
If you have a male/female with pattern baldness or anyone with scalp injury and want to bring back your younger self, then you are an ideal candidate for hair transplant.
Are there side effects of hair transplant?
To tell you the truth, yes, there are side effects of hair transplant such as :
- Crust or scabs.
- Pain or throbbing.
- Loss of feeling.
But most of these side effects are temporary and reduced with proper medication. Selecting the right clinic and an expert is crucial while thinking of getting a hair transplant.
Are there risks involved in hair transplant?
Like all other procedures, there are certain risks involved while getting a hair transplant. The common risk is Excessive blood loss, Failed graft carrying, Infection, and Allergic reaction to anaesthesia. But as I said above, these risks can be minimized by selecting the right clinic..
Is hair transplant permanent?
Yes, a hair transplant is permanent as the follicles transplant will begin to grow in the bald area. It is normal to see the transplanted hair falling out 2-To 3 months after the procedure, and it takes to time for the skin to heal. Once the healing process is complete, your hair will start growing naturally as it used to. But, the follicles transplanted, like all other follicles on your scalp, will have a threshold lifespan. Thus, as time progresses, the follicles may stop producing hair and may lead to thinning. You can again get a hair transplant to thicken the area if this happens.
What is the age limit for a hair transplant?
You can have hair transplant at any point in your life, and there is no fixed age limit. But if you ask me, you should have a minimum of 25 years to get hair transplant.
Can we use pubic hair for hair transplant?
Yes, Pubic hair can be used as donor hair in hair transplants. We can also use hair from the chest, abdomen, legs, or torso for a hair transplant. Hair from the beard and chest is most commonly used as non-scalp donor areas as it is more compatible with the scalp.
Can you use someone else’s hair for transplant?
This is a common question people have in their minds. The answer to this question is no; you cannot. A hair transplant does not work similarly to an organ transplant. If you get someone’s hair transplanted to your body, your body will develop an immune response and reject the foreign hair.
Thus hair transplant will only be successful with your own hair.
What if I am afraid of getting a hair transplant? Are there any other options to regrow my hair?
First of all, there is no reason for being afraid of getting a hair transplant since it is a completely safe procedure. But there is a condition called trichophobia; the term trichophobia comes from the Greek words that mean “hair” (trichos) and “fear” (phobia). A person having this will have difficulty when getting a hair transplant. If you are someone having this or are not interested in hair transplant, there are other non-clinical hair therapy available. I will be writing an in-depth blog on non-clinical hair therapies in the future.
I hope you got an in-depth idea of a hair transplant, the science behind it, side effects, and the different options available. I am attaching the link to our youtube channel, “The Hair loss show,” where we discuss all things related to hair transplant and hair loss.
If you are searching for the best clinic for FUT hair transplant, Our clinic is the right place to come. Our head Dr Vikram Jayaparakash is Australia’s most sought-after hair transplant expert, with over a decade of experience in FUT and FUE hair transplant. Consult today by requesting an appointment.