What is Hair Transplant?
Hair transplantation is a surgery that moves hair and hair follicles from a part of your body called the donor site to the bald or balding part called the recipient site. It is done with the help of a scalpel or punch graft instrument. The removed hair strands from one part of body are placed into tiny holes of the bald scalp. Hair transplantation is either done by follicular unit extraction (FUE) or follicular unit transplant (FUT) method.
Surgical hair restoration, or surgical hair transplant procedures works essentially by extracting hair from a hair-loss resistant area and planting them on the recipient’s balding area. Thus, the surgical hair transplant treatment can also be appropriately termed as hair implants.
Conventional surgical hair transplant procedures for hair restoration, which are still highly practised, involve cutting off a strip comprising of the upper layer of the skin from the back and sides of the scalp. This method of hair transplant is called the FUT method. During this procedure, individual hair units are then removed, and hair implants are done. This type of hair transplant is highly invasive, painful and leaves ugly scars behind.
Later, hair transplant techniques comprising of the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), were developed. It allowed individual hair to be extracted directly out of the donor area, which can then be implanted in the donor site, thus changing the way hair transplant procedures or surgeries were performed till then.
Key Areas Suitable For FUE
Frontal hair line designing/frontal baldness besides eyelash and eyebrow transplant FUE is the preferred technique as these grafts are thinner than the ones extracted from strip method, hence more number of follicles per graft can be placed giving a near natural density. Best results can be achieved if we combine FUE and FUT in one session using FUE for the frontal part of the scalp and FUT for the rest of the scalp. The outcome of this combination technique results in a very natural hair line design with appropriate density in the front and a higher coverage for the rest of the scalp. Besides, in the above mentioned technique we can also do long hair transplant so that the person can see the effect of a full growth before the hair fall out and new ones begin to grow.
Difference between the two transplant methods FUT & FUE lies in the way the follicle units are extracted. In a FUT method, the strip technique is used, by which a strip of the scalp with hairs on it is taken from the back of the head, with its hair follicles subsequently being extracted. In a FUE method, individual follicular units are extracted directly from the scalp. In a FUT method will leave a narrow linear scar on the back of the head, all that can be seen after an FUE are micro-scars looking like little dots. Healing after FUE is faster than after FUT and generally free of pain. FUE is best for patients wanting to avoid a linear scar at all costs, and for younger patients only requiring minor treatment when compared to FUT.
Hair restoration surgery is a delicate procedure. Your adherence to the following instructions is essential in order that your results be optimal.
Alcoholic beverages are not to be consumed for three days after your surgical procedure. Alcohol may thin the blood and cause bleeding.
Do not take VITAMINS, ASPIRIN or IBUPROFEN or ARTHRITIS MEDICATION for at least 3 days after your procedure. These medications will thin the blood and may result in excessive bleeding. For pain and/or headache, please use a non-aspirin containing medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or the pain medication prescribed to you. Consult the office should you be in doubt.
Several medications may be given to you:
PREDNISONE – This aids in preventing swelling. It must be taken even if swelling is not present. Follow the dosage instructions on your prescription.
ANTIBIOTIC – You may be given an antibiotic which prevents infection in the post-operative period. This should be taken as prescribed.
PAIN RELIEVER – This will consist of a mild narcotic-analgesic which will help alleviate the pain you may experience. One to two tablets may be taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed. ALCOHOL SHOULD NOT BE CONSUMED WHILE YOU ARE TAKING THIS MEDICATION. THIS COULD RESULT IN EXCESS DROWSINESS AND EVEN COMA. YOU SHOULD NOT DRIVE ANY TYPE OF VEHICLE WHILE TAKING THIS MEDICATION.
You should refrain from exercise such as running, cycling, and weight lifting, as well as activities such as golf, baseball, soccer, etc. at least THREE days after your surgical procedure. Such activity, when enjoyed prior to this critical period may result in bleeding and loss of grafts, as well as intense swelling around the eyes and forehead. Vigorous physical activity should be avoided for one week after surgery.
Do not bend over or engage in any lifting for at least 48 hours after surgery to avoid bleeding or excess swelling. Keep your head and upper body elevated above the level of your heart during this time, especially when sleeping.
In occasional instances, minor bleeding may occur from one or more of the graft sites. This can be alleviated by applying light pressure to the area with a moist clean cloth for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to disrupt surrounding grafts.
Apply ice packs as follows: In the donor area, an ice pack is applied directly to the area of the suture line for l0 minutes per hour, while awake, for 3 days. Please apply a gauze pad to the area first, and place the ice pack on top of of this. In the recipient area, DO NOT apply the ice pack directly on the grafted site. Rather, place the ice pack on the forehead for ten minutes per hour, while awake, for three days. The more you keep this ice pack in place, the less your chances of swelling.
One of the minor sequelae of hair restoration surgery is swelling. If swelling occurs, it usually does so approximately 48-72 hours after your surgical procedure. It is PAINLESS, and will begin on the forehead and over the bridge of the nose. It may proceed to surround the eyes. IF THIS OCCURS, DO NOT PANIC. The swelling will subside spontaneously in 2 to 3 days. USE ICE PACKS ON THE SWOLLEN AREAS AND RELAX. REFRAIN FROM ANY STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. Call the office if you have any questions.
Sleep with your head and upper body propped up on several pillows for the first 3 to 4 days. This will prevent swelling of the forehead. Alternatively, sleeping in a lazy-boy recliner with your head and upper body elevated for 48 hours is also effective.
Do not wash or disrupt the grafts for 24 hours after surgery. After this time shower and wash your hair by lathering the shampoo in your hand and lightly applying to the grafted area as well as the donor site. Rinse with cool water and light water pressure. These precautions should be taken for 5 days after your surgical procedure. Thereafter, normal shampooing may be resumed. It is advisable to use a thick moisturizing conditioner daily on the grafted sites as well as in the donor area. Apply carefully, and let the conditioner remain on the area for 5 minutes, then rinse gently. This will significantly decrease scab formation.
Apply light pressure on the grafts with a towel or gauze pad after exiting the shower. This will absorb any blood that has formed on or around the graft sites.
If you are using a blow dryer, use on a COOL setting for the first five days after surgery. Warm air could cause minor bleeding at one or more of the grafted sites.
It is recommended that Graftcyte be sprayed onto the grafted area 4-6 times a day for at least the first week following surgery. This accelerates the healing process. This product may also be used on the donor area.
The graft sites will form scabs in 24 to 72 hours after surgery, and the scabs fall off in 3-10 days. As the scabs fall off, you may notice that hair is shed with them. THIS IS NORMAL. Do not pick or scratch the scabs, doing so can cause infection and endanger the survival of the grafts. If scabbing persists beyond 14 days, you may not be shampooing vigorously enough. Remember, the critical period after surgery is 5 days. Precautions in shampooing, etc. are to be adhered to during this time.
Several weeks after your surgical procedure or anytime thereafter, an ingrown hair(s) may appear. This will take on the appearance of a small pimple or painless bump in either the donor or recipient areas. Apply a warm washcloth or compress to the area for 10 minutes three times a day. If after 3 days there is not relief or if the area becomes reddened, swollen, tender, or inflamed, contact the office.
If Rogaine is being used, please discontinue it for 4 days following surgery.
Swimming in water containing chlorine is not recommended and should avoided for at least SEVEN days following surgery. Swimming in salt water is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED three days after surgery, although it is not a necessity.
It is recommended that our hair care products: the shampoo, conditioner, and replenisher be used after your procedures. Your hair will be cleansed thoroughly and the products will create an optimum environment for graft growth and maturation.
Suture removal and a check of your surgical sites will be performed 7-10 days after surgery. A return appointment will be scheduled before departure.
If you encounter any problems not covered in these instructions, feel free to contact the clinic. You will be provided with additional contact information on the day of surgery.
Hair Transplant Side Effects
Hair transplant surgery has negligible to no side effects associated with it.
- Hair transplant surgery can not treat a hair loss problem caused due to genetic disorder. Therefore, the person will continue to experience hair loss even after the surgery.
- Hair transplant is an invasive procedure and leaves a temporary scar. However, the scar disappears after 8 to 10 months of recovery.