Hair transplantation involves removing small pieces of hair-bearing scalp grafts from a donor site and relocating them to a bald or thinning area. If you and your doctor have determined that hair transplants are the best option, you can be comfortable knowing that board-certified plastic surgeons have been successfully performing this procedure for more than 30 years.
Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. It’s important to understand that all hair replacement techniques use your existing hair. The goal of surgery is to find the most efficient uses for existing hair.
Hair transplantation techniques, such as punch grafts, mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts and strip grafts are generally performed on patients who desire a more modest change in hair fullness. Flaps, tissue-expansion and scalp-reduction are procedures that are usually more appropriate for patients who desire a more dramatic change. Remember, there are limits to what can be accomplished. An individual with very little hair might not be advised to undergo hair replacement surgery.
HAIR LOSS IN MEN
It is estimated that one in five men experience some degree of hair loss, usually caused by aging, illness, or hormonal changes after menopause. Men tend to experience a subtle thinning all over the scalp rather than losing hair in patches as is common among men. To correct the problem, many men choose to wear a wig or hair extensions. Others have had some success using a topical prescriptive drugs. The effectiveness of such drugs varies, and they prevent further hair loss without stimulating any appreciable new growth.
Hair replacement surgery may be the answer for those who feel uncomfortable with either of these options. Because mini-grafts are usually the surgical treatment of choice for filling-in thinning areas, good candidates for this procedure should have dense hair growth at the back of the head. Mini-grafts are harvested from this dense area and replanted in thinning areas to create a fuller look. Occasionally flap and tissue expansion procedures may be used if the individual is judged to be a good candidate. If you’re considering a hair replacement procedure, it’s important to understand that you will never have the coverage you had prior to your hair loss, but surgery may camouflage the thin areas and give you more fullness.
RESUMPTION OF NORMAL ACTIVITIES
How soon you resume your normal routine depends on the length, complexity and type of surgery you’ve had. You may feel well enough to go back to work and resume normal, light activity after several days. Many patients who have had transplants (plugs or other grafts) are dismayed to find that their “new” hair falls out within six weeks after surgery. Remember, this condition is normal and almost always temporary. After hair falls out, it will take another five to six weeks before hair growth resumes. You can expect about half-an-nch of growth per month.