Hair Transplant Results

Considering A Hair Transplant?

Although hair transplants have been popular with celebrities for many years, this particular cosmetic procedure is only now reaching the UK masses. This is possibly due to the latest technologies which claim to produce pain free and scar free surgeries, and possibly due to the fact that it is becoming more and more acceptable for men to take an interest in their physical appearance.

As more information about hair transplants becomes available, and as more and more men and women undergo these treatments, the surgery is at risk of becoming trivialised, much like laser eye surgery, breast augmentation, and liposuction. However, regardless of its excellent safety and success rates, it is important that potential patients remember that hair transplantation is a surgical treatment, and the full details of the procedure should be examined and considered before making a definitive choice.

Clinic & Surgeon Research

The first step towards a successful hair transplant is finding the right clinic and surgeon to perform the procedure. It's well worth asking around locally for recommendations, perhaps even checking with GP surgeries and private clinics to see if they have lists of nearby clinics that have adequate accreditation. All clinics that perform surgical procedures, including hair transplants, should be approved by the Healthcare Commission, and all surgeons should be current members of the General Medical Council. Patients can confirm these details by contacting these governing bodies directly, or asking to see clinical records.

When choosing a clinic, it's also important to be familiar with the different types of hair transplantation available in the UK, such as strip harvesting, FUE or DHI, and BHFUE. While some clinics will offer all three procedures, others may only offer strip harvesting due to the newer technologies needed to perform DHI, and more experienced surgical teams. If DHI or FUE is desired, it's important to find a clinic offering these advanced services.

Initial Consultation

Some clinics may offer just a single consultation, while others offer two. In cases where two consultations are offered, the initial one may not be as in depth or descriptive as potential patients would wish, but that's nothing to worry about. In many situations, the initial consultation is merely used as a means of determining whether a patient is suitable for the surgery they require.

Who Might Not Be Suitable?

Fortunately, many potential patients are perfect candidates, but there are some exceptions. Those under 25 years of age may be advised by some surgeons to delay surgery until their late 20s or early 30s, especially in cases of genetic male and female pattern baldness. This is because the condition usually appears in the early 20s, and any transplantation performed at this time may not be effective. Alopecia sufferers may be advised to try alternative treatments, often in the form of medication, as the follicles may not be strong enough to grow effectively. Also those suffering with haemophilia are generally not approved for DHI or FUE as the body would be unable to cope with the healing process for so many tiny incisions.

Follow Up Consultation

If a patient has been deemed suitable for a hair transplant, a second, more involved consultation will usually be offered with includes undergoing a range of tests to ensure suitability and minimise risk.

Firstly, many clinics offer an alopecia test which will determine the degree of alopecia and whether this is likely to affect the regrowth of the follicles after the procedure. If it is found that the degree of alopecia is severe, the hair follicles may be limited in their growth, reducing the effectiveness of the treatment. In this situation, alternative treatments may be discussed, such as medications or eligibility for wigs.

Skin tests are also usually offered to ensure that both the donor site and recipient site can withstand the procedure, and that the donor follicles are healthy enough to be transplanted. If there is any problem with the donor site, the surgeon may suggest BHFUE rather than FUE or DHI. This is a similar procedure where the hair is taken from the body, instead of the head. Body hair is usually much thicker, giving better coverage, but also has the disadvantage that it may look unnatural against the original head hair. Any concerns of this nature can be discussed during the consultation.

The Transplant Process

The transplant process itself with vary depending upon the type of treatment that is chosen.

Strip harvesting is one of the oldest and most involved techniques. After receiving a local anaesthetic, patients will have a narrow strip of skin and follicles removed from the back of the head in a procedure that takes around 30 minutes in total. The donor area will be finished with dissolvable stitches, often with a trichophytic closure that allows the hair to regrow through the scar, leaving it barely noticeable. Meanwhile, the follicles are carefully removed from the skin strip, and are implanted into the thinning or balding area at the top of the head, or around the temples using a small, pen-like device.

The procedure for DHI is quite different. A hole punch-like device is used to create a large number of tiny holes in the scalp, allowing for the follicles to be removed either individually or in a group, before being implanted by the same device. Although the procedure does take much longer, between three and seven hours depending upon the size of the area to be treated and the desired thickness of the transplanted hair, it is also much more effective as the follicles remain in a more natural, healthy state as they are not physically handled, and they are only separated from a blood supply for a matter of seconds.

The Recovery Period

The recovery period for DHI is very short. In fact, assuming there have been no complications, patients are often able to resume their normal activities the following day. The recovery period for strip harvesting, on the other hand, may be somewhat slower, with the patient experiencing mild to moderate discomfort as the wound heals.

During recovery, it is important to refrain from interfering with the scalp, partaking in strenuous activities which could cause the scalp to sweat, or exposing the scalp to direct sunlight for a period of two weeks. Some clinics may also suggest that the hair is not washed until the wounds have healed. In some cases, patients are invited back to the clinic at regular intervals for a safe hair wash. If the scalp is interfered with during the recovery process, it could cause swelling and infection, so some clinics will also prescribe medication to try and prevent infections from occurring.

Results

It's important not to expect to see results immediately as the transplanted follicles need time to grow. It's also important to be realistic about the changes, and the time frame. Whereas a surgeon may state that the follicles will begin to grow roughly three months following the surgery, this growth may not be noticeable until five to nine months after the treatment. At first, the hair is likely to be quite fine and very light, much like baby hair, but will start to match the existing hair after around 18 months, becoming thicker and darker if the natural hair is also dark. After this time, the hair should look and behave in the same way as it did before the transplant, and should give a very natural finish. However, this hair is not immune to the natural effects of ageing and may start to thin, along with the rest of the hair, in later years.

Male Pattern Baldness

Deciding to go for hair transplant surgery is a becoming a popular choice for men afflicted with Male Pattern Baldness. Restoring that hairline back to a thick, luxuriant and natural looking growth can make people feel younger, more confident and less inclined to worry about what others think of them. But what results can you realistically expect, and how do you take care of a hair transplant after surgery?

What Results can you expect from Hair Transplant Surgery?

Some hair follicles don't stop growing after the onset of baldness - these are removed from a donor site (often the back of the head) and transplanted to an area suffering from reduced hair growth. Today's transplantation can achieve a very convincing look, as the hair follicles are harvested and grafted while still in their natural groupings.

Surgeons pay particular attention to the direction and angle that hair grows while avoiding an obviously artificial pattern, which means that it will look very much like it did before baldness became an issue.

A single operation will restore a thinning hairline, but up to two operations may be required for areas which are completely bald.

A full head of hair does not happen immediately - it is common for the transplanted hair to fall out at first and for bald patches to occur. However, the hair root in the follicle remains healthy, and new hair will begin growing within two to sixth months of the procedure. From six to twelve months, the new growth will thicken and mature, and improvements should be noticeable for up to eighteen months following the operation.

Celebrities - A New Look

An increasing number of celebrities have been coming forward and openly admitting to having undergone hair transplant procedures.

Wayne Rooney had one of the most well publicised hair transplants at the age of 26. He was teased by his fellow players for his receding hairline, and after having the operation he famously advertised it on Twitter. Some clinics noticed a 25 percent rise in bookings following media coverage of Rooney's new hair.

Louis Walsh, the X Factor judge, said that: "With TV today, everything is in high definition, and people notice every little thing." Co-judge Simon Cowell certainly did, and it was his comments that prompted Walsh to go for the treatment in the first place. Walsh was delighted with the result.

James Nesbitt of Cold Feet admitted that his receding hairline was "practically an obsession" for him and was worried that it was affecting his career. After a lot of soul searching, he decided to go for it and said that the resulting transplant "changed his life."

Jason Gardiner, a judge on the ITV show, Dancing on Ice, had his second operation televised in order to raise awareness of hair transplants. He shaved his head for a long time, but in 2010 finally decided to go for surgery. He spent 7 months following the procedure wearing a hat in public before finally revealing his luxuriant new head of hair.

Calum Best, model and actor, blamed his hair loss on excessive use of peroxide and tightly pulled-back ponytails when he was younger. He started losing his hair at 24 and it affected his confidence at auditions, making it hard for him to concentrate. After the operation he said had reached the stage in his life where he was ""much more relaxed"" about how people viewed him.

Aftercare

The hair transplant procedure will normally take a few hours, and a patient can expect go home the same day. Aftercare advice varies lot from surgeon to surgeon. However, the following guidelines will be recommended by most clinics.

Dressings and bandages aren't needed, but the area where new hair has been grafted should be protected from the sun. Avoid touching it, and don't brush it, comb it or pull clothes over it while dressing.

In addition to temporary hair loss, immediate side effects of the operation may include small crusts or redness on the scalp, swelling on the forehead and decreased sensitivity. Medication can ease the swelling if it becomes too painful or uncomfortable. If an area starts bleeding, put a compress on it. Sensitivity will return within one year.

If the scalp starts to itch, soothe it with a moisturiser or massage shampoo. On no account scratch it or pick at the crusts; this will make the itching worse and may cause scabs that could damage the grafted hair follicles.

Hair can be washed one or two days afterwards by diluting mild shampoo and warm water and pouring this over the head, before gently rinsing it away. Letting the shower spray fall directly on the newly grafted area should be avoided, as should immersing the hair or swimming for up to two weeks. Hair should be dried carefully by patting with a towel or using the cool setting on a hairdryer.

For the first three days, sleep in a reclined position of about 45 degrees, which can be achieved with additional pillows or by sleeping on a recliner. This prevents the newly grafted follicles from being rubbed.

You can normally return to work within a few days, but if redness persists, you might like to take a week. Aerobic exercises and weight training should be avoided for about two weeks as physical activity can put strain on area the follicles were donated from. Sutures from the donor site are usually removed after about 10 days. Also limit rapid head movements, and try to avoid blowing your nose or anything which places strain on the scalp for at least a week following the operation.