Hair loss occurs due to several factors such as genetics, nutritional deficiencies, stress, pollution and medical problems like thyroid disorder, diabetes mellitus and polycystic ovarian syndrome (in females). etc. Hair transplantation is a very reassuring surgical method of treating baldness or pattern baldness. It is a continuously evolving art that has several advances, paving the way for more natural results. In this surgery, hair follicles from the back of the head or on the body(donor site) are removed and implanted in the required (recipient site) area.
In a nutshell, it is a process of relocating the hair from the areas where it is present to the areas where it is not. This results in the natural growth of hair in the transplanted areas.
Types of Hair Transplantation:
FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation)
A specific site from the donor is selected and a strip of hair is removed which is divided micro-surgically. The extracted grafts from the follicles are then placed on the targeted area. About 4000 grafts can be placed in one go. This treatment is effective, well known and popular too.
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)
This treatment is suggested in tight scalps where the requirements of grafts are comparatively low. Similar to FUT, grafts are taken with punches from the non-targeted area and placed in the targeted area. Treatment is safe, quick and reliable with the natural growth of the transplanted hair.
Regardless of the harvesting technique (a technique for removal of the hair follicles from the donor area) being used for hair transplantation, what matters most is the proper extraction of the hair follicles. Since the hair follicles grow at an angle to the surface, the transplanted hair must also be removed corresponding to that angle. It is because of this reason that getting the hair transplant done by an expert is of paramount importance for the success of the process.
Though FUE is comparatively expensive and time-consuming as compared to FUT yet it is preferred because first, unlike FUT, no-stitch mark or long scar is left on the scalp as no skin is removed per se. Also, the results obtained are more natural and the postoperative recovery is usually faster.
This is another new and advanced technique for hair implantation. For the Micro FUE tiny punches are used for the removal which is of diameter 0.6mm to 1mm. The advantage that this technique has over the other two is that it requires a maximum of 4-5 hours to complete the procedure and the scars are very minimal.
The sittings and the duration of the procedure for either of the three techniques depend on the extent of baldness or hair thinning on the affected area.
After the treatment the patient can expect to see results in 3 phases:
a) Growth phase wherein the hair grows about 1-2 cms for the first 4 – 6 weeks. b) The temporary shedding phase is a phase in which the grown implanted hair starts falling. This happens for about 3 months, however, the patients are advised to stay calm, the hair will come back. c) Permanent growth phase where the patient observes natural hair growth with normal characteristics. This happens usually in 8-10 months. However, in patients with thick skin and patients who have used a wig for a long time, the growth period may vary.
The patient suffers from no or minimal side effects. We advise you to continue with your normal activities within no time. There is no need to take special rest post the treatment. The patient can wear a cap to feel more secure. Medications are provided by the doctor once the treatment is done.
- Fewer grafts being grafted resulting in poor density.
- Poor donor hair.
- Loss of existing hair leading to thinning again.
- Exaggerated promises made by the surgeon.
- The patient will have to get a series of blood investigations with documentation of their baseline blood pressure.
- Blood-thinning medications must be stopped prior to the procedure with the consent of their treating physician.
- There should not be local infections at the donor or recipient site.
Temporary thinning of permanent hair:
Within 2 to 3 weeks of the transplant, the transplanted hair will fall out. But this is completely natural and the re-growth starts immediately. Almost 60% of them grow back within the next 6 to 9 months. Similarly, there can be increased hair fall from the donor site near the suture line in cases of FUT. Commonly referred to as donor shock loss, this is usually temporary and the hair grows back in 3-4 months.
Pain is usually minimal and most patients do not require any medication. However, for the few who experience any kind of pain, regular pain medications are sufficient.
The scalp is tender after the transplant and some amount of itching is common but it usually lasts for not more than a week. Shampooing regularly can help contain it.
There is rarely any swelling but some patients complain of mild swelling for the initial 3 - 5 days which subsides on its own.
Though not more than 2 or 3 mm in size, some patients experience cyst development due to transplantation of several grafts at a single location. The cysts also like all other symptoms subside on their own within a few days.
It can occur as a result of failure to maintain hygiene or because of some preexisting skin disorder. Treatment with topical and oral antibiotics is required for the same.
Donor site depletion:
Aggressive nonuniform harvesting of donor site results in depletion of hair from the donor region. This can only be avoided inexperienced hands of a dermatosurgeon.
Visible scarring is more common in FUT procedure than micro FUE.