Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that moves individual hair follicles from a part of the body called the 'donor site' to bald or balding part of the body known as the 'recipient site'. It is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. In this minimally invasive procedure, grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding are transplanted to the bald scalp.It can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest hair, pubic hair, and to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery such as face-lifts and previous hair transplants. Hair transplantation differs from skin grafting in that grafts contain almost all of the epidermis and dermis surrounding the hair follicle, and many tiny grafts are transplanted rather than a single strip of skin.
Since hair naturally grows in groupings of 1 to 4 hairs, today’s most advanced techniques, harvest and transplant these naturally occurring 1–4 hair "follicular units" in their natural groupings. Thus, modern hair transplantation can achieve a natural appearance by mimicking nature hair for hair. This hair transplant procedure is called Follicular unit transplantation (FUT). Donor hair can be harvested two different ways: strip harvesting, and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
Hair transplantation is surgery that involves removing a narrow strip of hair-bearing scalp from the back of the head and using it to fill an area with thin or no hair.
Most hair transplants are performed in the doctor's office under local anesthesia.
To transplant hair, the surgeon first cleans the scalp, then injects an anesthetic to numb the area where a 3- to 4-inch strip of scalp will be removed. After removing the strip of scalp with a scalpel, the surgeon sets it aside and sews the scalp closed. This area is immediately hidden by the hair around it.
Next, the surgeon divides the strip of removing the scalp into approximately 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts containing an individual hair or just a few hairs each. The number and type of graft used depends on the hair type, quality, and color as well as the size of the area where it will be transplanted.
After the grafts are prepared, the surgeon cleans and numbs the area where the hair will be placed, creates holes or slits with a scalpel or needle, and delicately places each graft in one of the holes.
Depending on the extent of the procedure, the transplant will take approximately four to eight hours. Sometimes additional sessions are needed if you continue to lose hair or decide you want thicker hair.
After hair transplant surgery, your scalp may be very tender. You may need to take pain medications for several days. Your surgeon will have you wear a surgical dressing over the scalp for at least a day or two. Your surgeon may also prescribe an antibiotic and/or anti-inflammatory drug to be taken for several days following surgery. Most people are able to return to work two to five days after surgery.
Within two to three weeks after surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out, but you should start to notice new growth within a few months. Most people will have attained 60% of new hair growth after six to nine months. Some surgeons prescribe the hair-growing drug minoxidil (Rogaine) to improve hair growth following transplantation, but it is not known how effective this is.
The cost of hair transplantation will depend largely on the amount of hair to be transplanted, but it generally ranges from Rs.1,50,000 to 7,50,000. The procedure is rarely covered by insurance.
As with any surgical procedure, hair transplantation carries risks, including bleeding and infection. Other risks that can occur with hair transplants include scarring and unnatural-looking new hair growth.
Around the time new hair growth starts, some people experience inflammation or infection of the hair follicles, called Folliculitis. This can be relieved with antibiotics and compresses. Another potential risk is the sudden loss of transplanted hair, called shock loss. Fortunately, this hair loss is rarely permanent.
If you are bothered by thinning hair or balding, hair transplantation can significantly improve your appearance and self-confidence. However, it is important to understand that hair transplantation is just that -- transplantation of hair you already have to a place where it is more visible. It does not create new hair.
To minimize the risks and improve the success of surgery, it is important to undergo hair transplantation only if you are healthy.