In this era of modernization, we all want to hide our maturing hairlines and look prettier than the rest of the world. In recent times, it was thought that if you are losing hair, no matter due to dandruff, smoking, or having some illness, it is normal, and you have to wait till you look bald.
However, these days trends have been changed entirely, and now science has developed different techniques and procedures to cope with baldness.
What is Hair Transplantation?
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Hair transplantation is a procedure in which one’s hair is implanted in the bald area. It is a common practice these days. A plastic surgeon or a dermatologist usually performs it following strict measures to prevent cross-infection.
Back in the history of hair transplantation, the first hair transplant was done in 1952. Initially, people experience too many complications after the procedure. However, with the advancement of the technique and research, it is now safe and easy to do the procedure with fewer compilations.
Who is Eligible for Hair Transplantation?
Hair transplantation is usually done after the proper evaluation of the patient. We typically order a screening test in which blood evaluation is done. If all went right, we analyze the patient whether they are a candidate for it or not. Only people with hair thinning problems, scalp burn injuries, and baldness are eligible for this procedure.
How does Hair Transplantation Work?
The operation is generally performed in the doctor’s office. After the analysis and screening of the patient, the surgeon begins by cleaning your scalp and injecting a numbing agent into the back of your skull.
The surgeon has two options for the patient:
- Follicular Unit Extraction.
- Follicular Strip Extraction
Follicular Unit Extraction:
In follicular unit extraction, the following steps are followed:
- The surgeon’s staff will shave the back of the patient’s scalp.
- Numb the skin where the procedure is being performed.
- The doctor will next remove the hair follicles one by one. Small spots heal the region, which the patient’s current hair will conceal.
- The surgeon cleans and numbs the region where the hair will go.
- Holes or slits with a scalpel or needle are made.
- Each transplant is carefully put in one of the holes after preparing the grafts. Other team members will most likely assist them in planting the grafts.
The procedure will take between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the amount of the transplant. It is an easy procedure and carries fewer complications than the other procedures. Most of the time, the dermatologist preserves the extracted hair follicles and uses them when needed. The patient is usually called on different days for the procedure. If they continue to lose hair or decide to get thicker hair, they may require another treatment.
Follicular Strip Extraction (Follicular Hair Transplant):
In the follicular strip extraction, we usually place the strip of hair in the bald area. It is a complicated procedure. It demands a lot of care and proper technique. In this procedure following steps are involved:
- A 6- to 10-inch piece of skin from the back of your skull is removed.
- They put it on the shelf and stitch the scalp with a high-quality suture. The hair around it instantly hides this region.
- Next, the surgeon’s team separates the excised scalp strip into 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts, each containing one or a few hairs.
- The area where there is significant baldness will be selected, and that strip is then sutured here again.
What Treatment is Recommended After the Procedure?
We usually commence the treatment regimen to cope with inflammation, swelling, and risk of infection. Following medications should be started in the patient.
- The scalp may be quite painful after surgery. You might have to use pain relievers for many days. Powerful painkillers are prescribed. Usually, your dermatologist will prescribe you Tramadol to cope with the excruciating pain.
- Antibiotics should be started right after the procedure as it is a high-risk procedure, and there are chances that you can get the infection from the hospital and through the environment. The majority of people can return to work 2 to 5 days after surgery.
- Corticosteroids are generally commenced to the patients to cope with the inflammation at swelling at the scalp.
Post-Transplantation Hair Loss is Common
After the procedure, it is usual that you can lose all of your hair. The new hairs will grow in three to six months. The transplanted hair will fall out two to three weeks following surgery, but new growth should appear within a few months. After 6 to 9 months, most people will experience 60% new hair growth.
Some surgeons prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine), a hair-growth medication, to help with hair growth following transplantation, although it’s unclear how effective it is.
How Much Does Hair Transplantation Cost?
In the United States of America, starting from scratch, this procedure usually costs around four thousand dollars to fifteen thousand dollars. Still, there are variations according to the area and services provided. Most insurance policies do not cover it.
What Complications You Might Experience?
As it is a surgical intervention and complications are shared with this procedure. Following are the common complications encountered by the patients.
- Tenderness is the most common problem faced by people after the procedure. There is nothing to be overly worried about. It can be settled in a few days with regular painkillers.
- As it is a surgical procedure, bleeding is a complication that can occur.
- Bacterial infection is a serious problem that needs to be coped with the commencement of antibiotics.
- Swelling in the tissue is also a significant complication. It occurs because we place a foreign body into the scalp. It is usually coped with the commencement of steroids.
- Transplant rejection is the most serious and highly dangerous complication. It stops the growth of transplanted hair and causes a lot of damage to our scalp.
- Scarring and unnatural-looking new hair growth are also possible.
New Technological Advancements in Hair Transplantation
From 1950, researches have been done to bring advancement in the field of hair transplantation. The latest advancement is Neo-Graft Hair Transplantation. In the past, the surgeon used to give long incisions for hair grafting. In contrast, this new technique does not require any incisions.
In this procedure, we use a special instrument called Wand which helps in removing the hair follicle and then grafting it into the bald side. It is the latest known technique. It has the least complications as we don’t give incisions in it. Furthermore, it is safe, fast, and easily performed.
A research carried out in the United States of America revealed that it also prevents the deleterious damage done to hair follicles.
What Alternatives do You Have?
There are different treatment options available to cope with hair fall and baldness depending upon the extent and severity of the condition. In the earlier stages, we usually prescribe the products that strengthen your hair.
These include prescribing oil-enriched shampoos, minoxidil and asking the patient to increase nutrient-rich diet. However, once the patient loses the hair follicles and becomes permanent, we have only one option left: Hair transplantation.
Hair transplantation is a common procedure these days run in most dermatologists’ clinics to cope with baldness. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of baldness. It can be caused by a multitude of reasons, even unexpected ones such as hormone changes and menopause.
Everyone has the right to look prettier with long thick hair. Consult your doctor or dermatologist if you’re worried about baldness. They may be able to prescribe medicines or treatments to correct or slow down your hair loss, depending on the cause.
It is essential to get yourself appropriately analyzed before heading towards the procedure. Complications after the procedure can occur. In case of any side effects, immediately contact your health care practitioner to prevent any serious disaster.