The first type of hair transplant procedures was performed in the 1950´s. Over the years there have been giant leaps in the development of hair transplant techniques. This includes hair loss prevention medications. With hair transplant surgery today reaching state-of-the-art grafting techniques. Follicular Unit Transplant and more lately Follicular Unit Extraction. Both have allowed for improvements in donor management. As well as a more natural appearance in hair growth.
Common questions asked about having a hair transplant and issues surrounding hair loss
Q. – Is there any scarring left by the operation?
A. – Any surgical procedure will leave scarring. Some very minimal and on occasions not obvious to the eye. FUT will leave a linear scar around the back and sides of the head. This will vary in the length dependent on the size of the procedure. FUE will leave small white dots. Positioned in a random manner around the sides and back. Some may appear as simply hairless areas or gaps between the surrounding hairs. No person should infer a hair transplant does not scar. Or use terms to give the impression or mislead. Such as “scarless” or “seamless” they should be questioned and asked to put their claims in writing.
Q. – Which is the better hair transplant technique, FUT or FUE?
A. – Both are credible hair transplant techniques. That have pros and cons to each. It is important to have the opinion of multiple Clinics and Doctors. This will help to reach a balanced view of which technique would be better to treat your hair loss. In some cases, a candidate may be better suited to one technique over the other. This can be due to natural hair characteristics. Others are suitable for either technique. Some may benefit from combining the techniques in one procedure.
Q. – Does the hair in the donor area grow back?
A. – The extraction method is different from FUT and FUE. FUT relies more on skin laxity to remove the strip. This area is then sutured. Over multiple procedures, the skin will become tighter. But not to the detriment of normal parameters. FUE only removes the hair units, not the section. Every follicular unit removed will reduce the hair density around the donor area. This hair does not regrow. There will come a point when no more hair can safely be removed. This could result in visibly patchy hair growth. Varying hair density and often obvious visible scarring.
Q. – How much hair can be taken from the donor hair?
A. – This will vary from individual to individual. Dependent on the hair characteristics and the technique/s used. FUT, on the right candidate and if required can move over 3000 grafts in a one-day procedure. FUE, most Clinics feel it is safe to remove between 1500-2000 grafts on the right candidate in a one-day procedure. 2500-3000 over two consecutive days. Future procedures will probably remove lower hair numbers. The average candidate can remove between 5-8000 grafts over multiple procedures and with careful planning.
Q. – What are follicular units, hairs, and grafts?
A. – Hairs are individual strands. They grow in natural groups from one to four hair groups. These are called follicular units. On average there more one and two hair follicular units are found around the sides of the head. With more three and four hair follicular units are found around the back of the head. The term graft only relates to a piece of skin tissue and not the number of hairs per “graft”. Always ensure natural follicular units are used. Confirm a graft equals a follicular unit. 2000 grafts can equal only 2000 hairs but over 4400 hairs when follicular units are used.
Q. – So, what can go wrong?
A. – 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 the hair density drops. So, the more removed the less hair density remains. If too much hair is removed the area will start to look moth-eaten. With patchy areas of hair growth. The hair does not regrow, it´s gone. Around 30% can be removed over multiple FUE procedures. Without the area looking touched and maintain a natural looking hair density. Much more can lead to an “open donor”. 30% on the average hair transplant equates to around 4500 grafts/follicular units.
No consideration for long-term hair loss – This can encompass all of the above concerns in different ways. Also, 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 measuring your donor hair quality being able to sustain long term hair restoration. Not just the immediate hair loss concern but if and when hair loss progresses in the future.
There are many considerations that need to be discussed when considering a hair transplant and during your hair loss and restoration consultation they can be discussed, the pros and cons to surgical hair restoration.
Q. – What Should Be The Doctor´s Input?
A. – A hair transplant Doctor should have the major role in your hair transplant from the moment of your consultation to the final graft being placed. They should be making the decisions and personally involved in specific aspects of the medical procedure. The medical understanding of the skin and hair will ensure the hair is harvested from the donor hair successfully, without damage being caused to the removed graft or the surrounding hair and skin. The graft placement and hairline design are crucial for the look and planning of the hair transplant.
Q. – Do Low Costs Hair Transplants Offer The Same Quality?
A. – A hair transplant is the same wherever you go, so all that matters is the cost … tell that to a repair patient. Some countries can charge much less because of economic reasons …… in Europe for example, the cost of living changes little across the countries, although hair transplant costs may vary slightly the standard costs are not that different. Very low-cost hair transplants exist because they work on the number of clients per day and not the quality and care of each patient.
They use cheap, inferior tools and equipment, inexperienced staff and the doctor is only marginally present for legal purposes rather than actually performing large aspects of the hair transplant themselves. A conveyer belt mentality is maintained with the cost the same regardless of graft numbers because the quota is based on the number of beds filled per day rather than the work carried out. The low cost also belittles the necessary skills and expertise required to perform a hair transplant, aspects such as donor hair management and graft survival so long-term planning is of little importance. Be careful wishing or believing all hair transplants are the same, from fake watches to fake jeans to fake surgical supplies the initial joy of your decision may be short-lived and hard to reverse.
Q. – Do I Need Time Off Work For Healing?
A. – Healing starts immediately. The first week, be careful not to touch or damage the grafts, any crust will start to remove and most find it is clear around 10 days later. Your new hair falls out 30 days’ post-op and the follicles sleep, they begin to wake up 3 months’ post op and over the following year, more and more hair will regrow. Most find around 12 months all the hair has grown but improvement in quality and density can continue for a few more months.
As an alternative to hair restoration surgery there are medications available that have been FDA (Food & Drug Administration of America) approved to help stem the loss of hair and in some cases even improve on the growth of the existing hair, products such as Rogaine® and Propecia® are used widely in the treatment of hair loss prevention. It is important to understand, medically or surgically there is no miracle cure and results will vary from person to person, no one can promise a specific result and it is vital you research the products and techniques available before making any steps to use them.