According to a study performed by the Cleveland Clinic, most cases of baldness, or alopecia, are caused by genetics. In rest of the cases, hair loss may be caused by many factors, including but not limited to diet, illness, stress, sleeping habits, lifestyle, and side-effects of medication. Advances in modern medicine have provided hair loss patients with a variety of options to deal with hair loss, and hair transplant procedure is the most prevalent of them. If you’re suffering from hair loss and are thinking of getting a hair restoration treatment, here is all you need to know about the procedure:
What is hair transplant:
Hair transplant is a procedure in which a surgeon transplants hair from the back or side of the head to the bald regions of the scalp. The part of the scalp from where the hair is harvested is called the donor site, whereas the part of the scalp where hair is transplanted is named the recipient site. It is a minimally invasive procedure and is typically done within a day under local anaesthesia. Hair transplant procedures can be widely divided into two categories: slit grafts and micro-grafts. A slit graft hair transplant is performed using four to ten strands of donor hair per graft, while a micro-graft contains one or two hair strands per graft, as per the amount of required coverage. The micro-graft hair transplant is further divided into two basic procedures:
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT): In this method, individual follicular units are obtained from the back of the head, and the follicular units are cut by using tiny micro-blades. This is a time-consuming procedure and may take several sittings.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE): In this method, skin strips of donor hair are removed from the back of the head and are planted into the balding area. This is the preferred method for doctors offering hair transplant in Kolkata and other metropolitan cities as it consumes less time and is relatively time efficient. The FUE is further improved by methods like Aesthetic Hair Implants (AHI) and Robotic Hair Implantation, which involve zero scarring and are relatively less painful.
Who can get a hair transplant?
A successful hair transplant procedure can work wonders in improving the appearance and self-confidence of an individual. However, there’s also a limit on what kind of cases can derive tangible benefits from this procedure. Since this procedure harvests donor areas from the patient’s scalp, therefore, some amount of natural hair are necessary for the hair transplant to be successful. For this reason, the ideal candidates for this procedure include men with male-pattern baldness, women with thinning hair, and anyone who has faced hair loss due to a burn or scalp injury. Similarly, hair restoration therapy will not yield good results for women with a widespread pattern of hair loss throughout the scalp, people who form thick, fibrous scars (called keloid scars) after injury or surgery, people who don’t have enough donor hair sites for hair follicle harvesting, and people whose hair loss is due to medication or therapy.
Hair Transplant Procedure:
The hair transplant procedure is relatively simple and can be typically performed in a single day. The scalp is first thoroughly cleaned by the hair transplant surgeon, and an area of the head is numbed with local anaesthesia. Next, a scalpel is used to remove a round section of the scalp covered with hair, following which the scalp is sewed closed. The removed portion of the scalp is then separated into small sections with the use of a magnifying lens and sharp surgical knife.
Tiny holes are then made with a needle in the area of the scalp which is supposed to receive the hair transplant. The donor hairs are then gently placed in these holes. Depending on the extent of baldness, a surgeon may transplant hundreds or thousands of such hairs during one treatment session.
In the AHI method, however, the extraction of hair strands and their subsequent implantation is made using a specially designed AHI pen. The dimensions of this pen are as minute as the hair follicle, thus negating the need to make any defined cuts. The entire procedure is minimally invasive as there is no use of scalpels, sutures, or any other similar surgical equipment.
Hair Transplant Post-treatment:
After the surgical operation, the scalp is covered with gauze or bandages for a few days to ensure uninterrupted healing of the wounds. The stitches are removed about ten days after the surgery, and some patients may even need three to four sessions to achieve a full head of hair. However, sessions are scheduled several months apart to ensure that each transplant makes full recovery.
Post-treatment care for the AHI procedure is decidedly minimal as there are no sutures involved. However, depending on the intensity of the implantation, patients may be advised to wear loose clothing and avoid actions that might disturb the scalp so as to make sure that the implants do not suffer shock.
There are only minor side effects associated with a hair transplant, if any, and they usually clear up within a couple of days. These include bleeding, skin infection, swelling of the scalp, bruising around the eyes, itching, numbness in the treated areas of the scalp (folliculitis), a formation of crust on the areas of the scalp where hair was removed or implanted, shock loss ( initial loss of transplanted hair), and unnatural-looking tufts of hair.
Post a hair transplant surgery, the patient may experience a sore scalp because of the grafts and subsequent implantations, and would need to take pain medications. There’s some risk of skin infection, and hence the doctor would also prescribe a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammation medications to keep swelling at bay. However, the healing is quick, and most patients can resume their daily routine three to four days after the surgery.
After a successful hair transplant procedure, the hair will continue to grow naturally in the transplanted areas of the scalp and will follow their natural lifecycle. There are some chances that the new hair may appear more or less dense depending on factors like how loose the scalp skin is (scalp laxity), the density of follicles in the transplanted zone, hair calibre, natural curl of hair etc.
Several people all over the world are opting for hair transplant treatments to return to a life of confidence. However, whether going for a hair transplant in Kolkata, or any other city, it is essential for patients to acquaint themselves with what the procedure entails, and the possible side-effects associated with the treatment. So, plan your surgery wisely and refer to a licensed professional before going ahead with the procedure.