Hairs on the sides and the back of the head are not affected by male pattern baldness. As a result, a hair transplant surgeon can remove donor hair follicles from the sides and back and relocate them on the top of the scalp where hair loss has occurred and the newly transplanted hair will grow exactly as it had from the donor region.
Before beginning a hair transplant Dr. Wasserbauer will review several important concerns:
- Are you in good general health?
- Do you have any bleeding or healing disorders?
- Your age and degree of hair loss.
- Have you tried medical therapy alternatives to surgery?
- The quality and quantity of your donor hair.
- What is your ultimate cosmetic goal?
These are some of the most important issues in deciding whether someone is a suitable candidate for hair transplantation.
The first step in the hair transplant process is the design of the hairline. The surgeon will sketch a suggestion for placement of the hairline. You are encouraged to participate in this decision process.
Next the donor area is prepared. In traditional FUT strip harvesting hair in the back is lifted and a narrow strip of hair is trimmed. The hair from above will cover the area.
In Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) a larger donor area is shaved so the doctor can extract individual follicular units evenly spaced to allow the tiny incisions to heal leaving only tiny white dots that are difficult to see when the scalp is healed.. Then, both the top and the back of the scalp is then anesthetized. Patients are given the option for mild sedation while the local anesthesia is applied. This is usually the only discomfort you will feel during the procedure, and lasts only one or two minutes.
With FUT a narrow strip of hair is removed from the donor area and the hair from above and below are brought back together with a simple running stitch. The stitches are covered by your hair and removed in one week to ten days, leaving a fine scar line that is concealed by your own hair. (It is important to note that if you shave your hair in the donor area after FUT the scar line may show.)
From the donor strip naturally occurring Follicular Units, usually groups of 1-3 hairs, are separated under a microscope to preserve every follicle.
The surgeon next creates the sites where the grafts will be placed. Tiny incisions are made at the hairline for the smallest 1 to 3 hair grafts. As the surgeon works back he will place gradually larger grafts containing Follicular Unit Groups. This allows your surgeon to accomplish more density without sacrificing naturalness. During the entire procedure you will be alert; watching TV and chatting with the doctor and staff. Procedure time is usually between 3 to 6 hours and you may eat or drink during the procedure.
When your hair transplant has been completed you will be provided with post-operative instructions, medicines and shampoo. You will leave the office with a little or no bandage and will be able to shampoo your hair the next day.
Most patients resume normal activity in a day or two. Tiny crusts will form where the transplants have been placed and usually shed in 4 to 7 days. The small hairs in the newly transplanted grafts normally shed within 2 to 4 weeks after the procedure, and permanent hair growth begins in 8 to 12 weeks. You should expect significant cosmetic hair growth with in 6 months and full hair growth within 9 to 12 months.
Most patient's can be satisfied with one or two procedures to treat a specific area of hair loss. If further hair loss occurs additional procedures may be required.