Hair transplants are natural and permanent solution for people who have thin hair or suffer from hair loss. During the procedure, the doctor transplants strong hair follicles (a.k.a. the donor site) – usually from the back of the head – to the area lacking hair via microsurgery.
While on paper it sounds like a simple and short procedure, it requires expertise, experience, and professionalism, and includes details affecting success.
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In short: anyone who has thin hair or suffer from hair loss – young or old, male or female.
What is important in hair transplant is the maximum amount of graft that can be taken from the donor area and how much coverage it will provide when transplanted into the problem area. In other words, how much hair you have on your donor site and degree of hair loss will dictate the procedure of treatment you’ll receive.
Every hair follicle taken from the donor site is referred to as a “graft”. Likewise, grafting surgeries refer to transfer of tissue from one part of your body to the other – it’s particularly widespread in plastic surgery. Grafting procedures are often done to treat skin burns, close (open) wounds (after skin tumor surgery, hand surgery, and contracture), and implement hair transplant.
In hair transplant, every graft is precious because it will create your hair in the future and its volume. The surgeon therefore must make sure to enter the hair root at just the right depth and angle and to take the graft without damaging the follicle. Thus, they also have to know how thick your scalp is and what your epithelial structure is. They should have experience in doing this particular procedure, have a sound command of anatomy, and be able to conduct the operation patiently and meticulously.
An undamaged hair graft is a viable tissue. Thus, it should remain outside for a while and be prepared for transfer. If it stays longer than the required, this’ll kill the hair follicle.
Next, the surgeon will open a tiny hole in the recipient area, in the direction of the hair. This hole should be sufficiently deep and wide. More importantly, during the surgery:
- The follicle shouldn’t get damaged
- The graft should be transplanted in the same direction as your other hair – (also calculating its estimated growth direction)
- The graft should be transplanted based on other hair strands
If the surgery is done without paying attention to details, then a specified number of grafts get extracted and transplanted. However if the grafts are damaged, then they’ll not be strong enough to stay in their new location, and thus won’t stay alive for long. In short, the procedure will have been done for nothing; moreover, there’ll be less hair on the donor site. In other words you can experience material and moral losses!
- Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
- Follicular unit extraction
- DHI technique
- Stem cell hair transplant
- Sapphire FUE
Follicular unit transplantation (or the FUT method) involves harvesting hair follicles in strips from the donor site and transplanting them to the desired area. Advances in technology have replaced FUT method with the FUE method (or follicular unit extraction). FUT is now seldom done – with a few exceptions.
First, local anesthesia is applied to the donor site (from where the hair follicles will be harvested.)
Next, a piece of approximately 15 × 2 cm is cut and removed from the numbed donor site. Those dimensions may vary depending on the size of transplantation area.
Then, the follicles are carefully extracted from the skin piece and prepared for transplantation.
Afterwards, the cut area gets closed up via fine and careful suturing. The site is then left to heal for 15 days to 1 month; at the end of which only slight suture scar generally remains (FUT’s disadvantage).
Later on, when the grafts are ready to be transplanted, local anesthesia is applied to the recipient site. Next, the channels where the grafts are to be placed are opened. Last, the hair follicles are carefully placed into each channel and the surgery is complete.
During follicular unit extraction (the FUE method), strands and hair roots first are extracted individually from the donor site using micro-motor tools. Next, channels are opened into recipient site, and those roots are placed into them. Advances in technology have made the FUE method very popular.
First, your hair gets shaved off, washed, dried, and sterilized.
Next, local anesthesia is applied to the donor site (from where hair follicles will be extracted). Then 0.7 to 1 mm-sized micro-motors are used to carefully remove individually your hair follicles from the numbed area and ready them for transplantation. Here, one of the most important details is not to damage the hair root.
Afterwards, the transplantation site gets numbed with local anesthesia and holes for the hair roots are opened. Last, each strand of hair gets planted into their respective holes, and the transplant is complete.
This procedure leaves behind very little scars of sutures on the nape. Only spot-like scarring will occur where the follicles were harvested from – they’ll fade over time. They won’t be visible on men who have their hair cut on number 3 mode.
The FUE method leaves little scarring, whereas the FUT method leaves behind a strip-shaped scar.
FUE allows the doctor to choose only the best/most ideal hair strands for transplantation and transplant all of them from the donor site. The FUT method is more hit and miss: i.e. not every hair extracted is fit for transplantation in terms of quality or strength.
The FUE method is very widely applied, and frequent use of a method provides experience and thus increases the success. Moreover, the FUE method allows the donor site to recover earlier (in those who’ve had FUT method done, it takes much longer to recover).
Our fat tissue contains four times the amount of stem cells than our bones do. This is especially true of fat around the belly are. In order to conduct this procedure, first a sufficient amount of your own fat is removed before the procedure, filtered, and purified to obtain a stem cell-rich structure. Next, those stem cells get injected into the recipient site such that each hair follicle can benefit.
What are stem cells? Stem cells have the ability to renew themselves and create our tissue and organs whilst we’re still in womb. Moreover, they have ability to regenerate and repair existing tissues. They are found in adipose tissue, bone marrow, and blood, and play a key role when it comes to treating various diseases. In plastic surgery, they are to regenerate and repair cells, and for vitality purposes – especially in injections to do with the face, hair, and joints.
In the context of hair transplant, using stem-cell rich adipose tissue and serum can boost the results. It increases the survival rate of the new hair follicles because it also boosts cellular regeneration and tissue compatibility in the transplantation area – thus giving you healthier, more vivacious hair that’ll be with you for a long time to come.
Yes, you can lose hair strands for the first few weeks after your transplant – this is normal and to be expected. Your hair follicles will be safe under your scalp; they gain strength and take root.
As soon as your follicles complete that process, they will begin to produce new hair strands (usually 8 to 16 weeks later).
Since your transplanted hair is harvested from a genetically strong area, your hair follicles retain their character and seldom fall. However, if your original hair in that area doesn’t receive any support, it’ll fall over time. If your hair volume drops, a new hair transplant can be planned in the future.
Those who have hair strands and follicles in the donor site, that is, the amount of grafts that can be harvested is sufficiently high and strong; who have 3-4 hairs coming out of each graft and have a slight receding hairline.
Non-smokers. Smoking negatively affects the cell and tissue circulation/feed
Anyone who has had the procedure done at the right clinic and under the best service.
This is a critical issue for hair transplant. Those who have a thick head of hair on their donor site (enough to cover the transplant site) are the luckiest. If you have a weak and small donor site and a large bald spot, then your expectations are important.
If you lack hair on the back of your head, we’d then first look to your beard, lower jaw, and chest for hair. That said, the beard isn’t always an ideal alternative due to possible scarring and aesthetic concerns.
The structure of chest hair versus of head hair is different. Not all chest hair is suitable for hair transplants. Thus, the most suitable grafts would be chosen based on their structure, direction, how long they are, and how well they match the hair on your head.
If your chest lacks a sufficient amount of follicle or they are not suitable, then as a last resort, we’d look for hair from your back, shoulders, legs, or other parts of your body.
It all depends on your forehead height, front hairline, the density of your hair, and the direction and shape of your hair.
Likewise, how dense your new hair is will depend on how many grafts have been taken from the donor site, how dense they are, and how good they are transplanted (quality wise).
During your examination, Dr. Ozsular will assess how many hair strands you have per cm2, how thick your hair strand is, and how many potential grafts you might be able to have, and then tell you what you need to know.
While men often have this procedure done, the number of women who also benefit from it is too high to be underestimated.
Women tend to lose hair right above their temples and their forehead (where the hairline is), due to genetic reasons. This can in turn restrict them when they part their hair or tie their hair back.
Some women experience hair loss similar to men.
Sometimes they experience both hair thinning and hair loss due to their hormones, stress, or a side effect of certain medications.
Hair transplants can solve all of these problems, and improve their appearance. There is no difference in how the procedure is carried out on them versus men –except that they don’t get all of their hair shaved. Only the donor (for grafting) and transplant sites get shaded in the form of small patches.
You should have your transplant done by an experienced, meticulous surgeon at a full-fledged clinic or hospital. If you don’t, you’re at risk of developing infection – which in turn is likely to cause irreversible damage to both your newly transplanted hair and your skin.
The person both extracting and transplanting the graft needs to act extremely careful and delicate with your follicles. If he doesn’t, the hair will not grow again after the loss process or it will fall out shortly after without being able to maintain its vitality even if it grows.
Moreover, if – when extracting the graft –they cut holes into your scalp that are larger than they should be, it could leave you with wide and deep scarring.
Select the right doctor and team. Work done by someone who is experienced and scrupulous speaks for itself!
Refrain from smoking (at least for a while) before and after the surgery.
Take extra vitamins and regularly use any lotions and shampoos recommended to you by Dr. Ozsular.