Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that moves hair from a part of your scalp with plenty of hair, most commonly the back or sides of your scalp ("donor site"), to a bald or balding part, most commonly the front or top of your head ("recipient site"). It is an effective, permanent treatment for hair loss and balding that occurs with age in both men and women. It can also be used to treat bald areas of the scalp that result for scarring after injury or burns.
Hair transplant is not suitable for:
Hair transplantation can be performed under local anaesthesia in a day surgery setting. If your surgeon plans for transplantation of a large number of follicles, this can take the whole day and general anaesthesia may be offered as an option for your comfort.
Hair follicles will be harvested from the donor site either as a long strip of scalp skin, or through hundreds to thousands of tiny punch incisions. With the former technique, the donor site wound will be closed with stitches. The hair follicles will be carefully prepared and implanted in small groups into hundreds to thousands of tiny holes at the recipient area.
It takes a lot of time and attention to transfer over enough follicles for the desired effect. You may require several sessions to achieve the full head of hair that you desire.
After the Surgery
The treated areas will covered with bandages for several days. Painkillers and antibiotics will be prescribed to help to control the pain and prevent infection. Your surgeon will review your grafts and wounds in clinic and advise you when you can start gently washing your hair again.
During your recovery period, be careful to avoid pressure or trauma to the treated areas, chemicals such as styling sprays or dyes, strenuous activities, and swimming. You should be able to return to normal activities after 2 weeks.
It is expected that the transplanted hair will fall out two to three weeks after the procedure. New hair will usually start re-growing from the 4th month onwards, growing denser over the months. The final result can usually be seen by the 1 year mark.
If you require more than one session of treatment, the next session will be planned several months later to allow the transferred hairs to survive and grow first.
Understanding the Risks
Hair transplantation is a minimally-invasive procedure without major side effects. Risks include:
Continued hair loss may still occur over time, and you may need to repeat the procedure in 5 to 10 years time, depending on whether you have enough hair remaining at the donor scalp areas.
The subject of risks, as well as potential complications of surgery are best discussed on a personal basis between you and your plastic surgeon.
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