Hair loss is a normal part of aging, but when significant hair loss causes bald patches on your scalp, it can affect your self-esteem negatively. While many products promise to increase hair growth, a hair transplant is considered the most effective and permanent solution to treat hair loss and balding areas of the scalp in both men and women.
Here’s everything you need to know about what is a hair transplant:
What Is a Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that involves removing hair follicles from one part of the body and transplanting it to a balding or bald part of your body. Also known as hair replacement or hair restoration, this process can help restore hair growth in areas with limited or missing hair. Hair transplant procedures can help combat male pattern baldness and other hair loss issues caused by stress, genes, diet, illness or hormone imbalance.
This treatment can help improve the appearance and self-confidence of people. Since it is an outpatient surgery, you can go home immediately after the process. However, your scalp may remain covered in bandages for a few days till your skin fully recovers.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate?
Ideal candidates for a hair transplant include healthy women and men of all races that suffer from:
- Thinning hair
- Androgenic Alopecia (pattern baldness)
- Have visible scalp
A hair transplant is not a good option for:
- People with poor or inadequate donor areas
- Those suffering from hair loss due to medication like chemotherapy, or
- Those with keloid scars
Hair Transplant Procedure
A typical hair transplant surgery takes about four to eight hours. The hair transplant process can be done using the following techniques:
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
In this method, the surgeon cuts out a thin strip of your skin with healthy hair, usually at the back of your head. This incision is typically about seven inches long and then closed using stitches. From the removed portion, small sections of tissue containing healthy hair follicles are divided and prepped for transplant.
Then the surgeon makes individual holes in the recipient site and individually places the prepared grafts in the area where you experience balding.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
This hair transplant technique provides the same results as follicular unit transplantation while addressing its disadvantages. Unlike FUT, this process does not involve removing a strip from the scalp but rather involves taking out the hair follicles directly from the donor site by making hundreds or thousands of tiny incisions. The surgeon then places these follicles into tiny holes made using a needle in the recipient area.
While this technique is more time-consuming, it eliminates the horizontal scar left after the FUT, lowers the post-surgery discomfort and lessens downtime.
Direct Hair Implantation (DHI)
Developed by the DHI Global Medical Group, this technique is a modification of the FUE method. Unlike FUE, which requires the surgeon to manually cut canals in the scalp to implant the hair follicles, during DHI the surgeon uses a pen-shaped tool to make the incisions and implant the hair simultaneously.
After your skin recovers from the incisions, new hair will begin to appear. It may take eight to twelve months to see the full results of a hair transplant.
If you want a permanent solution for hair loss and balding areas, a hair transplant can be a good option. A board-certified cosmetic surgeon can help you choose the right hair transplant technique for your needs.