The first type of hair transplant procedures were performed in the 1950s. Since then there have been giant leaps in the development of hair transplant techniques. As well as hair loss prevention medications. With hair transplant surgery today reaching state-of-the-art grafting techniques. Follicular Unit Transplant and later Follicular Unit Extraction have allowed for improvements in donor management. As well as a more natural appearance in hair growth.
The premise of a hair transplant is the redistribution of genetically strong hair. From a zone called the “donor area”. Placing this hair to an area of hair loss, known as the “recipient area”. Although some hair is predestined to fall out not all is. Even with advanced stages of hair loss men retain a band of hair around the sides and the back of their head, the “donor”.
So, how much of a difference can a hair transplant make?
Besides needing the genetically strong hair a hair transplant needs the ability of the Doctor. Including their team to make a relatively small number of hairs go along way.
With a good candidate and careful planning, even advanced hair loss can be successfully treated. Such as Norwood 5 and above with a natural looking hair coverage and density.
The number of grafts required is dictated by the surface area to cover. Aided by the quality of your hair characteristics. Then there is the number of grafts that can safely be extracted in one procedure. This will be largely dictated by the quality of the donor area. The hair density and the technique used.
Today’s hair transplant techniques
There are two recognised techniques to harvest the hair from the donor area. STRIP Surgery/FUT and Follicular Unit Extraction/“FUE”. FUT hair transplant surgery the doctor harvests the hair from a thin strip of the hair-bearing tissue removed from around the back and sides of the head. The length and width of the strip will ascertain the number of follicular units, (FU) that are contained within the strip; this can range from a few hundred to thousands of “FU”. Follicular Unit Extraction/FUE, on the other hand, utilises a different harvesting method, using a micro-punch to extract each FU one by one from around the donor area; the number of punch extractions is directly related to the number of grafts required.
As it´s impossible to replace like for like hair lost, a hair transplant works partly on the illusion of thickness. We place the new hairs close enough together to create the necessary density and then aspects such as hair characteristics play a role. Also, keeping the hair long enough so each hair overlays the next add to blocking the scalp.
Planning from your new hairline back
Hair restoration generally starts with the hairline back; so the position of the hairline will dictate the total surface area to be treated. Often the design and placement is a compromise between the patient and the Doctor.
The hairline is made of single hair grafts to ensure a natural looking soft hairline. Behind these larger hair units are used to increase the fullness and coverage. From a technical aspect, the way the hairs are positioned into the skin is vital to ensure they follow the natural pattern of hair growth but also allow the hair to be spread over an area to maintain the look of fullness and cover the scalp from being visible but also manage to achieve a coverage over the scalp.
Advanced hair loss often cannot be totally covered with one hair transplant procedure simply because not enough hair can safely be moved in one go. In this case, the hair density is gradually reduced as the hair goes back over the head to create a natural looking head of hair.
With careful planning and removal of the hair from the donor area, multiple hair transplants can be performed over time. This allows for advanced hair loss stages and progressive hair loss stages to be successfully treated and with the right hair characteristics and good planning, the look of a good head of hair can be achieved.
This all starts from your first hair transplant and the initial hair consultation from measuring your donor hair characteristics to the hairline design against your goals and expectations. It is, therefore, possible to go from a Norwood 5 hair loss stage to potentially an NW 2 or 3 that can turn the clock back a decade or more in terms of hair coverage and looking, and feeling younger.