Hair Transplants

A traditional hair transplant is when a strip of hair is taken from the back of the head and transplanted to an area of the scalp that is going or is bald. Hair at the back of the head is usually genetically programmed not to be lost. The hair then continues to grow naturally in this area, however this type of hair transplant can leave scarring where the graft of skin has been taken.

New types of hair transplant consist of the surgeon taking hair follicles out of the scalp which is called a follicular transfer. This type of procedure aims to put the hair back in a more natural way so that the hair continues to grow as natural hair would on that area of the scalp. The surgeon can then pick individual follicular pieces from the donor area and re-applies them in the balding area. Advantages to this method means there is no scarring and the patient will end up with natural looking results.

How Is This Performed?

Follicular transfer and grafting transfer is usually done under a local anaesthetic. Men and women can both undergo these types of procedures and results are instant and permanent. A good candidate for a hair transplant should be over eighteen years of age and the patient should have tried other medical ways of treating the problem. Patients should not smoke or drink for two weeks before the procedure takes place.

Hair transplant illustration.

A strip is removed from donor area, which is then sutured back together - Donor strip is then divided into follicular unit grafts and possibly larger micro and maxi grafts - Hair grafts are then implanted into recipient incisions in the hair loss affected area - After 10-14 days, newly implemented grafts will scab as they heal and then fall out - New hair will start to grow where the grafts were implanted in 3-6 months .

"Hair Transplant is one of the simplest operation in cosmetic surgery. The principle is that you take hair follicles from the permanent zone on the back of one's head, make a tiny incision where the patient wants it (guided by the surgeon) and then put the follicle in this incision. The transplanted hair in the follicles falls initially only to return a few months later. The hair then continues to grow like any other hair, which will need cutting and trimming like any other hair does. This hair is permanent and doesn't fall unless traumatised"

Dr Harris Haseeb at Moorgate Aesthetics

How Much Does It Cost?

The exact cost of a hair transplant in the UK can vary largely. It will depend on which clinic you choose, which surgeon you choose and most importantly, how much work needs to be carried out. With hair transplant with skin graft transfers the charge usually applies to how many grafts you will need. A consultation is recommended at a clinic and then the surgeon can give you a rough guide to how much it will cost based on your individual needs. In the UK the cost can vary between £2,000-£30,000.

What's The Recovery Period?

While hair transplantation is considered less invasive than many other forms of cosmetic surgery, the recovery process should be taken seriously. Recovery time varies according to the type of hair transplant you have, but most patients are back to work and other daily activities within a week. After your operation your clinic will go through important postoperative steps, which need to be taken to ensure a speedy recovery and to reduce the risk of damage. Most patients are able to return home on the same day, however you should arrange for someone else to drive you home from the surgical facility since the anesthesia may not have fully worn off by this time. Spend the first few days resting at home while concentrating on following the post-op instructions, some helpful tips include:

* The hair follicles are extremely delicate when initially transplanted, therefore avoid tugging, pulling or irritating the scalp during the recovery period

* Do not pick scabs if they form as this may cause permanent damage to the newly transplanted hair follicles. Any cysts, pimples or ingrown hairs that may appear tend to resolve on their own in a few days

* During the recovery period sleep with your head and neck elevated. Also try to avoid activities that may irritate the healing, such as styling, drying or brushing the hair. You may also be asked by the surgeon to avoid washing your hair for a short period

* Your surgeon may also suggest avoiding direct sunlight for a certain period

Is It Safe?

Both methods of hair transplants are safe procedures. There is a small risk that a number of patients will have an allergic reaction to the local anaesthetic. Pain and swelling are common after the procedure but these usually disappear within a few days and are easily managed with painkillers. With graft transfers there is a risk of unsightly scarring. A small number of patients may have an infection after surgery but this is usually down to cleanliness within the clinic environment. For this reason it is important to pick your clinic and surgeon with care and remember that the cheapest quote you receive will not always be the best one. The clinic should be long standing with a good reputation and the surgeon should have a wealth of experience with this sort of procedure.

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Types Of Hair Transplant Available

Scalp Reduction

There are several types of hair transplantation methods for those suffering from hair loss and one such treatment is scalp reduction. This process involves the complete surgical removal of the problematic area of scalp and the region of scalp which maintains hair growth is then pulled over the exposed area. This is the most expensive surgical hair transplant procedure and does carry a couple of draw backs. Because of the reduced area of scalp this may result in increased tightening which can, in turn, cause further hair loss resulting in both wasted time and money.

Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS)

This particular method of hair transplantation involves the removal of a strip of hair from one of the donor regions. The donor regions are generally at the side of the head and the back of the head. The removed strip is then implanted onto the problematic area. Several strips can be implanted during this procedure and each implant is sutured in to place and will take several days to heal.

Follicular Unit Transplants (FUT)

This surgical procedure involves moving healthy hair follicles from a donor region and implanting them into the problematic area. The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and the entire process takes around 4 hours. During this surgical procedure a very thin portion of hair is removed from the base of the skull which is then divided into small, follicular groups each containing between 1 and 4 hairs. These tiny hair groups are then inserted into microscopic incisions made in the scalp. The miniature grafts will start to take almost immediately and normal hair growth should be seen at around 8 to 12 weeks after surgery.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

This hair transplant procedure involves groups of hair being taken from the donor areas i.e. the sides and back of the head which are then transplanted onto the balding regions. This procedure is far less invasive than some other hair transplantation procedures, leaving less scaring and the recovery time is much quicker.

However, it is a good idea to thoroughly research all methods of hair transplantation and look into every option before deciding on which method is the best choice for you. None of these procedures can give a 100% guarantee of success and, as with all other types of surgical procedures, there is always the chance of unwanted side effects.

N.B. content on this site is only for informational purposes only. It is not suitable for medical advice. For medical advice, diagnosis or treatment seek help from a qualified healthcare provider.

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