Hair has always been a symbol of beauty and an important part of visual appearance of each person. Thinning or even lost of hair can play a very frustrating psychological role. Aesthetic surgery can successfully deal with this problem by hair transplantation.
In most cases, transplantation of own hair grafts or micro-grafts is used to fill places with missing or thin hair. The treatment is best for men with conventional hair loss after the reduction and stabilization of the loosing process. The loss is influenced above all by ageing, changes in hormonal processes and hereditary predisposition.
Hair loss can be also caused by burns or traumas, in such cases the treatment is considered to be reconstructive and therefore is paid by the insurance company.
If you have agreed with your surgeon on hair transplantation as the best solution, your feeling of safety can be increased by the fact that this operation has been done for more than 30 years. If you are considering this treatment, following text can help you to understand the operational procedure, provides you information about preparation for the operation and its results. However it is not possible to answer all questions concerning hair transplantation because many facts are highly individual. If you do not understand something, ask your surgeon.
Some doctors estimate that every fifth woman experiences some extent of hair loss, usually caused by ageing process, illness or hormonal change during climacterium. Women´s hair mostly thins slightly all over the head and does not disappear completely at one place as is common in case of men. Because this thinning is diffused all over the head, transplantation is mostly impossible and some medication can be useful. The efficiency of those medicaments can be different for different clients, but basically, they prevent from further hair loss but can not cause new hair to grow.
If you are considering hair transplantation, it is necessary to realize that it is impossible to achieve the same hair density as before the loss. It can however cover thin places and fill empty ones.
The treatment is done under local anesthesia and is relatively time consuming. It mostly lasts more hours, but naturally, it depends on the area which should be transplanted. The operation begins with cut of hair graft with good hair cover from the nape area. The size of this graft depends on the size of bald place which should be planted. Usually it is 1,5 x 10 cm. Immediately before the surgery, just the hair in the place of hair graft is cut to the length of approximately 2mm. It is not necessary to cut other hair. The edges of the place of hair graft are subsequently stitched together and only a discrete scar remains on the nape.
In the next phase, the skin graft with quality hair is divided by a scalpel into small grafts containing either 1 – 3 (micro-grafts) or 3 – 6 (mini-grafts) hair roots. Micro-grafts are used to treat the future front hairline, it helps to gain a natural look. The formerly used grafts containing more hair roots caused unnatural look of new hair cover. It could be compared to hair of a doll, because more hair grew from one point and between these bunches there were places without hair.
During the common method of transplantation which is used nowadays, the grafts with hair roots are inserted with the help of a micro-forceps to incisions in the bald area of transplantation. These cuts are mostly done with a special scalpel and their size should correspond to the size of grafts to be inserted. In the new area, the inserted transplanted hair has the same characteristics as in the original place of hair graft. It grows naturally, can be cut, dyed etc. It is however necessary to notice that the real growth begins later after the treatment and the results of transplantation can not be assessed sooner than after 5 – 6 months after the treatment.
It is possible to use laser to make incisions for inserting the hair grafts. Laser is used to create these incisions (in this case small openings) in the area to be transplanted. However only the most efficient laser device can produce rays with high energy and very short time of impact, made up from different pulses. This is necessary to evaporate the tissue in the impact point of the laser but leave other tissue unaffected by the temperature. There are very important advantages of this method compared to traditional procedure – the incisions do not bleed, which makes the transplantation faster and much easier. On the contrary, interstitial fluid infiltrates into the incisions, “glues” the inserted graft into the incision and therefore fixes it firmly into this gap. The size of the gap corresponds to the size (diameter and depth) of the graft, therefore surrounding tissue can not oppress the graft. These grafts are not pushed out from the incisions when new grafts are being inserted. In addition to this, because the grafts are not pressed, hair which is contained in them does not loose its distances during the healing process. Therefore the hair cover looks much more natural.
There is another advantage, the laser device is controlled by a computer and can make more regular gaps with higher density of precise depth, diameter and angle which is natural for subsequent growth of transplanted hair. The equipment of the device enables the surgeon to define the size (diameter) of the gap to correspond precisely with the size of inserted grafts. And one equally important advantage – the duration of the surgery is reduced up to two thirds compared to common method.
In most cases, if the client is healthy, there is no need of special examination before the treatment. The transplantation is done in sitting or lying position, which is more comfortable for the client during treatment which lasts several hours.
After the end of the operation, a sterile elastic bandage is put on, it not only protects the stitched incision at the original place of hair graft in the nape area and inserted grafts, but prevents bigger swelling at the place of transplantation. The bandage is removed usually the second or third day after the treatment and the patient can wash his/her hair. Small crusts appear at the place of hair grafts, they fall off naturally after 14 days. The patient stays out of normal life for about five days. The sutures in the nape area are removed approximately after two weeks.
When the crusts fall off, the small grafts have slightly pink colour, similarly to all other scars. This colour however returns to the normal skin tone after few weeks. A big part of hair from the inserted grafts can get lost after the treatment, but hair roots regenerate subsequently and the hair starts to grow. That is why it is possible to assess the result of the transplantation no sooner as after a longer time when the growth has really started (after 5 – 6 months). Because it is necessary to leave some space between the gaps for hair grafts (approximately 2 – 3 mm) to keep the skin well perfused and help the grafts to take, many patients come to have their new hair cover densified. Densification is not always necessary and depends on the decision of the patient.