Hair loss cuts across all boundaries possible. No one is immune to the possibility of suffering some degree of hair loss at some point in their lives. Hair loss has no care for genetic backgrounds or genres, social class or gender. With more hair transplants being performed worldwide than ever before how much is a myth? This surgical procedure promises to restore lost hairlines and increase coverage and hair density once again. How do hair transplants work? Is it possible for anyone to use this hair restoration method to regain their youthful looks once again?
DHT and progressive hair loss
The most common hair loss condition is androgenic alopecia. Hair loss is generally slow and progressive. Also known as male pattern baldness, a genetic condition. Looking at male family members can give an indication of the long-term hair loss pattern. Male pattern baldness affects the hair over the top of the head. The hair around the back and sides is immune from the hair loss gene. The trigger, a testosterone by-product called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT cannot connect to these hair follicles.
These hair follicles are free to shed and regrow hairs naturally over the life of the individual. As a result, in respect to how hair transplants work some of these hairs can be removed and used to cover areas of hair loss over the top of the head. Because the hair follicles retain their genetic properties after a period of adjustment they continue to grow permanently in the new area.
The “donor/safe zone”
For the hair transplant to be successful and to ensure natural-looking hair coverage is achieved, the donor area/zone must be able to provide enough hair follicles to treat the area of hair loss over time. Importantly, without leaving any obvious or unsightly signs hair has been removed from the donor area. The donor/safe zone can reduce in size as hair loss progresses. Planning is therefore important to measure the safe zone. An ethical hair restoration Doctor will take the time to isolate the safe zone. Without due care your hair transplant can fall out in later years, at best leaving little hair growth, at worst leaving an unnatural pattern of hair growth. It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone makes a good hair transplant candidate.
On a good hair transplant candidate, it can be possible to remove anything from 6-8000 hair follicles over time. Hair Doctors use two recognised donor-management techniques today. The Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) methods. FUT removes the hair follicles intact within a single strip and FUE removes the hair follicles individually. FUE is also used to remove body hair grafts from areas such as the chest and beard. Some candidates can choose their desired donor extraction technique, others will be more suitable for one over the other. As a result, the choice of technique can impact greatly on how hair transplants work.
Surgical and artistic skills
An International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS) article reported the worldwide volume of hair transplant procedures performed over a two year period rose 60 per cent. Two important considerations for performing a hair transplant are the surgical and artistic skills of the Doctor and their team. A hair transplant may grow but the hair growth must mimic natural hair growth in respect to angles, coverage and hair density.
Hair grows naturally in groups of 1 to 4 hair follicles. The survival and growth rate is higher if the grafts remain in their natural growing state of 1 to 4 follicles. Over 90% of the transplanted follicles survive when handled by an experienced technical team. The surgeon takes great care in making the sites for the hairs to be placed into. This is to ensure that the grafts will grow out in a natural direction, angle, orientation and pattern. The difference between average/satisfactory results and completely undetectable results is artistry in angles. This means that a truly fine hair replacement requires skill and art and perfectly mimics nature.
Successfully treat advanced hair loss
A surgeon will place the transplanted hair at the appropriate angle. To give a natural, correct look that is most desirable. When the transplanted hair is skillfully and artistically placed at the proper angle the appearance is more aesthetically pleasing. Beyond the fullness of your hair, there is symmetry or a pattern to hair. Angling the follicles in a manner that mimics the way individual strands fall in-line with their neighbouring hairs is very important.
A hair transplant can’t replace like for like hair lost or match the same hair density as a natural full head of hair. The artistic and surgical skills allow for a relatively small number of hair follicles to cover an area once populated by many more. This illustrates how hair transplants work and able to cover advanced hair loss stages. With the appearance of a natural coverage and hair density. Using natural hair characteristics to enhance the look of fullness.
There is a wide range of “tricks” an experienced and skilled hair transplant Doctor will use. The hair distribution and placement patterns will be custom-designed to individuals’ hair restoration needs. Making the most of natural factors and considerations, such as the size of the grafts, the amount of existing hair on the scalp, the colour contrast between skin and hair.
How hair transplants work vs expectations
An anomaly to how hair transplants work can be the unexpected goals and expectations of the candidate. The consultation helps both the patient and the doctor; both work together in tandem to ensure the patient and the doctor agrees in assessing the suitability for hair transplant restoration.
This will include an assessment of the hair loss stage – technically the Norwood scale for men or the Ludwig scale for women – to measure the donor hair density against surface area to cover. With focus on the recipient area, specifically the hairline design verses natural proportions, hair loss stage and age.
Part of the consultation process is to look into the future and to assess whether the goals set out today will work with the potential for hair loss in the future. Your goals may be achievable today, but if your objectives change or your hair loss progresses the donor capacity is diminished. As a result they may be insufficient to meet the hair restoration demands. Thus it is important to discuss all your goals with an experienced and skilled hair restoration specialist.