Hair transplantation shares a chequered history with significant ups and downs. Users can overview the periods of punch grafting to the modern techniques of follicular unit extraction. Various advances have been made in the industry. Some developments are reviewed here.
Hair loss due to diseased conditions like scarring, particularly androgenetic alopecia, is extremely troubling. This led to the discovery of various methods to restore lost hair. Many of the advances include using the expanding needle concept and use of hair from the area of denser growth. These methods have been pioneered and shared by doctors with the candidates across the world. Clinics, patients and transplantation surgeries have been telecasted many a time on national television on news channels.
Some questions have been detailed here to help those who know little or nothing about the technology and its effectiveness:
Growth of the transplanted hair and the growth rate
First 2 to 6 weeks after the procedure has been performed, the transplanted hair sheds & the roots undergo resting phase. Between 3 to 8 months, transplanted grafts sprout hair. It generally takes around 10 to 12 months for the hair to grow completely and achieve full density. As the time slip by, hair continues to grow, mature and thicken. Surgeons usually suggest using hair strengthening products such as Keratene – a round two to three weeks before the surgery and from the next week of transplant to fast up the re-growth of hair transplanted recently. Using this product also reduces further hair fall. Once the growth starts, hair continues to grow for the lifetime offering a permanent solution from the hair loss.
Can it help those wearing hair weave and promote hair growth that looks natural?
Of course, it does. Surgeons have successfully handled numerous cases of baldness. But, beforehand, they plan a meeting with the patient to have a better evaluation of the case and devise the best strategy. Modern systems have helped many bald people to get rid of their wig and sport a hairline that suits their face. This transplantation offering successful transition from wig to full hair growth usually demands for a more personalised attention.
Is the procedure painful?
Modern transplant surgeries are much less painful. Earlier, it required to make larger scalp excisions that made the procedure painful. Nevertheless, the older methods of scalp reduction and flap transfer have been replaced by modern methods of transplant like follicular unit extraction. The use of local anaesthesia makes it nearly pain-less. In fact, the patient can be allowed to go home the same day. If the method is follicular unit hair transplant, surgeons may suggest taking painkillers for 5 to 6 days to soothe pain due to stitches in the scalp. With more advanced follicular unit hair transplant, the surgery may be stitch-less. In this process, local anaesthesia is applied and hair roots are virtually plucked out. Not even a single cut is made so the pain is not felt even after the effect of anaesthesia fades away.
What if the loss is from both sides of the head?
This happens in the case of pattern baldness. Surgeons would suggest using natural products like Keratene as a medical measure to slow down the loss. Once the fall reduces, patients can undergo transplant surgery to restore hair. The duration of surgery generally depends on the number of grafts transplanted – though it can take just a day to complete the procedure.
Understand the surgeon’s role
In every hair restoration surgery performed, it is crucial to understand that the skill of the surgeon is equally important that of using the precise surgical method. A knowledgeable and veteran surgeon anticipates the physiological and cosmetic nuisances even before they appear, and hence they take necessary steps to avoid them. With the level of technicality involved, it can be said that the transplant surgery is as much an art as a science. Surgeons who forget this fact in a rush to make money generally bring up a big disappointment.
The technique involved in grafting follicular units is above all the procedures performed. It involves careful dissection under the stereoscopic microscopes. In fact, the top surgeons find it difficult to see this method being outdated even after many decades. It is essential that the surgeon is aware of the patient’s sensitivity and their requirements. The surgeons should not just regard them “the next client” using a semi-automated surgical technique.
The future predictions
An unlimited supply of cloned hair follicles is expected in the future. Hair transplantation is already witnessing significant success with a new entry in the drug line – finasteride. This has ensured a major transformation in the approach to treat hair loss, basically in the early stage. It is also expected that the genetic and chemical fix of baldness will eventually avoid the need for surgical hair transplant.