Of course, everyone wants to achieve the best possible look from any cosmetic procedure and a hair transplant is no different. In reality, a patient‟s insufficient donor hair can restrict the surgeon´s ability to accomplish a satisfactory result or the individual´s expectations may not be able to be met.
A hair transplant is an elective surgery, and it is important to understand the pros and cons, the more you can be better informed the better your understanding of the procedure and making the correct decisions with your hair restoration.
Planning Begins At The First Assessment
A hair transplant is not a cure for hair loss, but the redistribution of hair, and in some cases not all people are suitable for a hair transplant procedure. Often, a hair transplant and hair loss medications can complement each other in providing the best result as male and female pattern hair loss is often slow and progressive overtime to a more advanced stage.
A hair transplant specialist will be looking at aspects such as your hair characteristics, facial features, age, and family hair growth history. At this stage, the doctor is already planning how they will place different groupings of hairs in different patterns to best fit that individual. Taking the time to analyse these details enhances the doctor´s ability to form an initial idea for planning your hair restoration.
The Latest Hair Transplant Techniques
The advent of Follicular Unit Surgery changed the entire method of placement, keeping the natural hair groups intact when removed and placing them in the same natural groupings back into the recipient area. Follicular Unit transplanting separates the natural groups of hairs, from 1-4 hairs in each group, and thus enables the groups to be utilised in the optimum place in the recipient zone.
There are two techniques, FUT, Follicular Unit Transplant, and FUE, Follicular Unit Extraction, they differ in how the hair is removed, the rest of the procedure is the same. FUT is a one-day procedure, with the removal of a thin strip from around the back and sides of your head. FUE a micro tool punches each group of hairs one by one, it can be a longer procedure and sometimes performed over two days.
Most patients today elect to have the mixed grafting technique performed, either initially or as their hair loss progresses. This enables them to enjoy the benefits of both techniques and gain the optimum graft numbers over time.
The Best Hair Transplant Technique To Use
There are many aspects to consider when deciding which hair transplant technique to use; some examples maybe not wanting a linear scar, money, hairstyle, no obvious signs of surgery to name a few. Another aspect to consider, more from a technical side, is your starting donor density and natural hair characteristics, your age and hair loss pattern as well as the potential for future hair loss.
Each technique has pros and cons, it is important to have the opinions of varies doctors, ideally those that offer both techniques to ensure a balanced argument for and against each technique.
Assessment Of The Graft Numbers Available
Regardless of the technique, an initial estimation can only be considered a guideline as factors such as healing of the donor can influence long-term measurements of donor capacity. The graft numbers are determined by assessing the area to be covered, any native hair still apparent in the area and to a large degree the hair characteristics of the individual.
The potential number of grafts on an average scalp that can be harvested can be around 7000, dependent on the techniques used, to harvest these numbers in one procedure is generally unethical, usually not possible or wise due to donor and scalp limitations.
More procedures can be carried out at a later date if the person loses more native hair or wishes more coverage. Donor management allows the sensible and ethical distribution of hair to gain the maximum result for the patient.
Factors such as age, Norwood Class and progression of hair loss will help to answer this question; but in most cases, a person will certainly undergo more than one procedure; even if there may be many years in between each. With the use of both FUT and FUE techniques, it is now possible to widen the harvest area and increase the overall graft number potential.
Supply And Demand
Your goals may be achievable today but if your objectives change or your hair loss progresses in the future these aspects must be anticipated as after each operation the donor capacity is diminished and be insufficient to meet the demands thus limiting the ability of the doctor to complete your goals.
It is not practical or possible to place like for like hair density as before hair loss, therefore, some of the art of a good hair transplant is to give the cosmetic effect or the illusion of a full hair density.
If we had to place like for like this would make anything like total restoration impossible, but by blocking the reflection of light makes a hair transplant a viable option in regaining the look a good head of hair simply because a lower density can be placed and give a realistic effect of fullness. Some will have to be satisfied with less coverage but decent hair density rather than spreading the hair over the entire head area and having a low density, which may look unnatural or not reach the expectations of the patient.
The donor supply coupled with the extent of hair loss at the time but also the potential for hair loss in the future must be equated as best as possible. Obviously, this is harder to determine in the early stages of hair loss, so any design must be in keeping with the limitations of the donor supply and thinking of the future. Some candidates, a few very lucky people have “home run” donor supply, meaning they can treat almost any degree of hair loss, but these candidates should not be seen as average or even very good but the exception to the rule.
Your Expectations And Goals
An important aspect of whether a person is a good candidate for surgical hair restoration is ultimately will they be happy and can that person´s expectations and goals be met, short and long-term. Hair loss is an emotive issue that touches people of all ages, there are no boundaries for hair loss, and wanting to regain a good head of hair, it crosses age, wealth, and lifestyle. The temptation is to want to return to a stage before hair loss can be strong, but this is generally not feasible.
The candidate must first have a good understanding as to the pros and cons of a hair transplant, understand their own head of hair and appreciate that sometimes their expectations may have to be diluted a little to what is realistically achievable. This is an important aspect of making a happy hair transplant patient, one who understands the procedure will ultimately be happier and have no regrets with the final result. Those who do not understand can find themselves being unhappy long term because their initial goals cannot be met and either they did not listen to the education they were given or did not receive the information in the first place.
Advances have been made in hair loss medications, research is providing hope for many if not all hair loss sufferers that a “miracle cure” maybe around the corner, but until either of these become mainstream and viable options it really leaves a hair transplant to provide growing hair in areas that have lost in the past.