Shopping for a hair transplant appears to become similar to changing the car or purchasing a new television. Like an off-the-shelf product rather than contemplating undergoing a surgical procedure.
With the rise of social media and the constant bombardment of offers and options available. It could have changed the priorities. To look out for and how we may decide. On what is important in the decision-making process.
This is a very typical approach to requesting hair transplant information today –
“How much for 5000 grafts? If you can’t say exact price please specify approximate.
Please don’t say to send photo of head or call.”
Dumbing down the importance of research has become common today. With more importance on cost. Specifically how low the cost can be. Rather than any other aspect of a hair transplant. Such as the quality of the long-term result.
There has also been a dumbing down on the medical and surgical importance of a hair transplant. Who performs the procedure. The role of the Doctor, the skill and experience of the technical staff. As well as the protocols involved in performing the hair transplant. Whether it is able to sustain long-term hair restoration.
The cost will vary from country-to-country. Simply because of the local financial climate. Even within a country, the location could affect the cost up and down.
A hair transplant is an elective surgery. We decide whether we want to have more hair or not. There are no detrimental health implications for suffering from genetic male or female pattern hair loss. By far the most common form of hair loss conditions.
When we are given a choice there are always options available. That gives us the choice to decide what we feel is best for us. This can be the cost, the location, maybe the quality, maybe the individual we choose.
The internet has allowed the consumer to look further afield at hair transplant clinics. With often the importance on the cost compared to the technique. There is a thought pattern today is that a hair transplant is largely the same where ever you go. It is a simple procedure that requires minor skills. That can be easily taught under the supervision of a medical practitioner. That only oversees maybe then to twenty operations per day in case of a medical incident. The Doctor, rather than having any great experience in surgical hair restoration or any devotion to the art is simply a legal presence. A glib approach to any medical procedure can lead to dire consequences later.
How the past has a way of repeating itself
The FUE, Follicular Unit Extraction technique first became notable around twenty years ago. It was frowned upon as a fad at the time. Many old-school hair restoration clinics warned against the technique. Saying it caused over-harvesting, large scarring to killing a high % of hairs. Largely due to the extraction. Needing double the hair numbers to achieve the same result as the long-term recognised techniques of the time.
Over time it was realised that FUE was and is a perfectly good hair transplant technique. Some of the scares were partly lack of information. Possibly an uncertainty to change. But there have been some credible concerns from the past. Still relevant today. That is the quality and care given to the performance of the operation. The medical consequences it leaves.
With FUE, a surgical punch is used to extract the hair from the scalp. The main advantage of this technique is that follicular units are extracted directly from the scalp which expels the need for scalpels and stitching. The procedure is performed under a local anesthetic and mild sedative; the patient can go home after with aftercare products.
FUE is a surgical procedure and has pros and cons with some individuals being better suited to the technique than others depending on the quality of the donor hair, age, hair characteristics, and hair loss stage, just to name a few considerations.
So, what can go wrong?
Unnatural Looking Hairlines and Growth
No consideration for long-term hair loss
Maybe not the only considerations or concerns but these alone should cause concern when considering any hair transplant, not only Follicular Unit Extraction.
Scarring – Any hair transplant regardless of how it is performed or promised or technique or tools used will cause scarring. It is simply a consequence of the operation and there is no miracle that will stop this consequence. FUE can leave little to no obvious signs of scarring if performed well and depending on the size of the procedure. The technique and experience of the Doctor punching the hair grafts and the protocols employed will have some impact, as well as the natural healing properties of the skin.
Over-Harvesting – Bigger or more is not always better. With FUE the skin surface area remains the same but the amount of hair that remains reduces with every hair removed. So, the more removed the less hair density remains and if too much is removed then the area will start to look moth-eaten, with patchy areas of hair growth. The hair does not regrow back, it´s gone. Generally, around 30% can be removed over multiple FUE procedures without the area looking touched and maintain a natural looking hair density, much more and there can be bad consequences. 30% on the average hair transplant equates to around 4500 grafts/follicular units removed over multiple operations.
Poor Growth – is obviously as it sounds, less than expected results because much of the hair simply does not grow after the hair transplant is performed. Assuming not due to a medical condition or caused by the patient this can be due to the poor application of the Doctor and technicians that perform the FUE operation. Poorly planned surgery, damaging the hair grafts when being extracted, cleaned or held when being placed can all cause poor hair growth that damages the hair and cannot be replaced as they do not grow back.
Unnatural Looking Hairlines and Growth – this is because of the lack of facial bones structure, hair angles, and orientation and hairline design when planning a hair transplant. Poorly designed hairlines and incorrect graft placement can leave a totally unnatural looking result that is hard and sometimes impossible to repair.
No consideration for long-term hair loss – This can encompass all of the above concerns in different ways and have a large impact on the now and the future hair restoration plan. Planning the right time, age and hair loss stage to start your hair restoration is vital, then your donor hair quality being able to sustain not just the immediate hair loss concern but if and when hair loss progresses in the future.
What can impact the donor area so much to stop future hair restoration?
Very simply, poor healing and post-operative care, poor planning, and management of the surgical procedure by the Doctor or a combination of the two.
Regardless of the technique used, FUT or FUE care and skill is required to ensure the minimum change occurs to the donor area quality, basically the visible signs hair has been removed are kept to a minimum, scarring and hair density. This requires surgical skills and understanding of skin healing regardless of the size of the hair transplant session to ensure minimal changes occur.
The larger the hair transplant session the greater the risks are involved as this will require entering the donor area more times and more aggressively to reach the high numbers. These large sessions sometimes known as mega sessions are possible on the right candidate but are not the norm.
So, if you are not careful you end up with less hair than you thought you were getting and you can´t have any more hair transplants because there is little to no more that can be taken. Not a good scenario.
Be careful and do your research before believing the highest numbers are best and new techniques allow for more grafts to be removed safely. Check with multiple clinics when you do your research to receive many replies and opinions to double and triple check. And, an old adage, if it sounds too good to be true it´s often because it is. Good researching!