Hair Transplant at a Glance
In general, both male patterned baldness and female patterned baldness start once the hair shafts begin to thin due to a process known as hair miniaturization. This process causes the majority of the hair to become invisible with the loss obvious to others. After this happens, the next best step is to schedule a consultation appointment with a doctor to discuss a hair transplant.
How Does It Work?
A hair transplant is when hair follicles are harvested in their naturally occurring units of 1-4 hair follicles. They are taken from donor areas on the body that typically do not see baldness. These areas include the sides and back of the head although other areas of the body can also provide hair. There are two main types of hair transplant techniques:
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)– This technique is when follicular units or individual hair grafts are harvested from the donor area thanks to microscopic techniques. It is a rather popular method since there is no linear scar that results from the harvesting as well as no need to cut or suture the scalp. The main disadvantage of FUE is that an overall smaller number of grafts are able to be harvested in each session.
- Strip (Follicular Unit Transplant)– This is when the follicular units are transplanted by use of a strip method. The doctor takes a skin strip from the donor area and harvests hair grafts from the strip in their natural direction in order to transplant them.
How are They Placed?
The surgeon makes tiny incisions in the area where the follicular units are going to be placed in the balding area. Once they have been harvested, they are placed in the incisions and distributed in order to create the appearance of a natural looking hairline.
Once the grafts are placed in the incisions in the scalp, there will be some scabbing and stubble that quickly resolves itself. The transplanted hair will then fall out after a few weeks as the hair enters its resting phase. Several months later, the follicles enter their growth phase and begin to grow into normal mature hair that grows as normally as it did in the donor area.
Recovery and Results
The timeline for a complete recovery from both FUT and FUE is 12-18 months. One a patient fully heals from the surgery, the natural looking results should last a lifetime.