Hair Loss - Hair Transplant Surgery - Hair Restoration
Hair Loss - a common, but curable condition
Contrary to popular belief, hair loss is just as common in men as it is in women, but the pattern of hair loss is different. Men tend to have receding hair at the temples and balding at the crown, whereas the hair loss women experience is a more general thinning over the whole area, and is therefore less noticeable.
Balding and thinning can occur because of stress, genes, changes in nutritional intake, hormonal imbalance, medication or illness. In addition, growth may stop because of direct physical stress on the follicle, as amongst those who suffer from pulling their hair, which is also known as trichotillomania.
What causes it?
There are many different causes of hair loss; besides pattern baldness, more common to men, there are a number of different reasons that can trigger hair loss;
- Some may experience hair loss following major illness or surgery. Such hair loss is directly associated with stress and is only a temporary hair loss.
- Hormonal Imbalance caused by an under or overactive thyroid is yet another cause of hair loss. Women may experience hair loss usually around three months after the birth of their child. This is only temporary hair loss and most women find their hair growth return to normal after some time.
- Occasionally causes of hair loss can be due to an underlying disease, such as diabetes or lupus. This is why it is important to seek medical advice if you notice any unexplained excessive hair loss.
- Sometimes, hair loss may also occur if there are dental problems. It is temporary and hair tends to grow back once dental treatment has been performed.
Hair Transplant - the cure
Thanks to advances in surgical methods, those suffering from hair loss often seek out information about hair transplants, a solution that can be used for many causes of hair loss experienced by men and women. Hair transplants are often carried out in conjunction with other hair restoration techniques such as medication and cosmetic applications.
This type of surgery is not only able to treat thinning or balding on the head, it can also be applied to other areas where a patient is suffering from hair loss. This includes the eyebrows, the beard or chest. The precise techniques used for hair transplants can replicate the angle and direction of hair growth from individual follicles to provide the most natural solution for the area where the hair is being replaced.
Eyebrow transplants are aimed mostly at a female clientele and provide results that are far more natural than other methods such as permanent make-up, tattoos or application of an eyebrow pencil. This is a new technique and a growing trend with little to fear as it is non-surgical procedure and minimally invasive.
Follicular Unit Graft Transplantation - a modern restoration technique
Modern techniques of surgical hair transplantation can restore hair to replace or re-shape your hairline with your own natural, growing hair. The transplanted hair is your own hair, growing in a different area that needs washing, styling and grooming just as you have been used doing and no more. Transplantation can be done today so well that often a barber or stylist cannot even tell that grafts have been placed.
Hair transplantation involves removing permanent hair-bearing skin from the back and/or sides of the scalp (donor area). Then, using magnification, the tissue is dissected into follicular unit grafts (containing 1-4 hairs) and multi-follicular unit grafts (containing 3-6 hairs each). These small grafts are then meticulously planted into the bald or thinning area of the scalp (recipient area) so as not to injure any follicles already existing in the area and at the same exact angle as the other hairs present. The creation of very small follicular unit grafts enables the hair surgeon to create very natural hairline, which do not have the abrupt, "paddy-field look" that was commonly seen in hair transplants in years past gone by. The arrangement of the transplants is a combination of follicular and multi-follicular unit grafts to better create central density and a more natural appearance in the frontal, mid-scalp, and vertex (crown) areas.
Hair transplant surgery today is remarkably well tolerated. Within 24 hours small crusts will form on each graft, which are then shed in approximately 4 to 14 days. The transplanted hair will often start to grow between 10 and 16 weeks after the procedure and will continue to grow for most, if not all, of the patients’ life. As we age, there is a slight loss of hair density, in both men and women, and the transplanted hair is just as affected by this phenomenon.
Hair Transplantation - benefits most men and women
Anyone who has experienced permanent hair loss may be a candidate for hair restoration surgery. Most common conditions which indicate benefit from hair transplant surgery include:
• Men and women with pattern baldness affecting each of the sexes.
• Those who wish to restore their hairline or have it reshaped after significant hair loss.
• To conceal scarring from injury or skin disease.
• People who want to thicken or restore eyebrows, eyelashes, and patches in beards
Hair Transplant Surgery – the procedure explained
Hair transplantation surgery is considered to be "minor surgery" and may take between 2 and 4 hours and is performed using local anaesthesia on an out-patient basis.
The donor area and the recipient area are anesthetised by injecting a local anaesthetic with a very small gauge needle that is about the size of an acupuncture needle. Anesthetising the area is the only uncomfortable part of the session
Hair in the donor area is clipped to a 2mm length. If the hair in the donor area is left 1.5 - 2" long, the hair above the donor site can be combed over and completely camouflages these areas immediately after the procedure.
After the local anaesthetic has taken effect, a scalpel is used to cut narrow strips from the donor areas and the wound is closed with sutures. (A similar method can also be used to remove scars in the donor area). This tissue it then divided in to a number of graft sizes.
The donor area, where the grafts are harvested from, is closed with sutures, which are usually removed in 7 to 14 days. During this closure, assistants are busy harvesting follicular grafts and separating them according to the number of hair in each. These grafts are then placed through small perforations n the skin of the scalp. At the end of the procedure, a light dressing is applied, the surgeon will check the final placement of the grafts and the patient is moved to the recovery room. Later, an assistant explains the postoperative care instructions, which are also supplied in writing.
Hair Transplant Surgery – post procedure recovery
Hair transplantation is a very safe, relatively minor surgical procedure. There is usually little or no discomfort in the grafted area. Most patients feel some "tightness" in the donor area for 1-2 days and are prescribed a mild analgesic to help cope with this. Patients may be asked to use moist compresses or sprays and to sleep in a semi-upright position for 2-3 days following the procedure to minimize swelling and bruising. Medication is prescribed to make the post procedure recovery as comfortable as possible and to contain the degree of swelling that results after the procedure. Small crusts may form on each graft, and these can usually be camouflaged by any existing hair that can be combed over the recipient area. Numbness that may occur in the donor or recipient area usually disappears within 2-8 months following surgery.
Risks and Complications - its good to be aware of them
Complications are rare. Minor inflammation can occasionally occur around a newly transplanted hair follicle, similar to an infected ingrown hair or pimple, and usually responds to simple warm compresses. The scar that occurs in the donor scalp as a result of the removal of donor skin is usually quite narrow and can be easily hidden by the surrounding hair. The graft sites in the recipient frontal area heal with almost no visible scarring and are covered by the transplanted hair. A minority of patients may experience mild swelling in the forehead area for a few days following surgery. It typically appears around the 3rd post-op day and goes away after 3-4 days.
However, as with every surgery, there are complications associated with hair transplant surgery as well, which may include;
• Infection, Itching or Swelling
• Poor growth
• Poor scarring in the donor site
• Paraesthesia - an unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensation on the skin)
• Cysts, Papules (a small hard round protuberance on the skin) and Pustules (pimples, boils or abcscess)
• Ingrown hairs
Hair Transplantation - how soon may one have the procedure
The Hair Transplant may become an option once there has been significant hair loss and pattern has been established. In men, this may be by the mid-twenties, although some may be affected more acutely much earlier. The decision for every patient will depend upon their individual circumstances, congenital factors, general state of health and reasons for hair loss. The vast majority of patients have their first procedure while they are not yet completely bald. We will work with you to design a plan that best suits your needs.