Are you or someone you know considering getting hair transplant surgery? If so, you might be wondering exactly how the procedure is carried out or what the timeline looks like for recovery. You also might be curious to know how long it will take before you can finally show off your new, more youthful appearance!
Luckily for those of us who might need the extra help, the process of hair transplantation is very simple. Doctors have been performing hair transplant surgeries since the 1930s! That’s 90 years of experience and knowledge accumulated on hair transplantation! Needless to say, procedures have evolved tremendously. With more public figures confessing to hair transplantation, it has become an increasingly popular and viable option to help men combat male pattern baldness.
Preparing for Surgery
Although there are various types and variations of the surgery itself, the procedure follows a basic pattern. Firstly, the scalp will be prepared for treatment. In some cases the patient, or in other cases the doctor will shampoo the scalp with a surgical scrub prior to surgery. The hair transplant surgeon will use one of two methods for transplantation based on the patients individual needs; FUSS or FUE.
Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS)
Follicular unit strip surgery (also known as follicular unit transplantation or FUT) is the hair grafting technique where a unit of hair is removed from the donor area (usually the back of the head where hair growth is healthy). The unit of hair is then divided into follicular units and grafted into the problem area. Each follicular unit is individually implanted into the problem area through millimetre wide incisions to avoid visible scarring. A doctor would prefer this method of treatment if the patient has sufficiently healthy hair follicles in the donor zone. The process may take a few hours to complete as the procedure requires a detailed eye and a steady hand.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction involves the removal of individual follicular units from various locations on the patient’s scalp. Each hair follicle is carefully prepared and placed individually into the problem area. The placement can be done by very small needles to properly and safely accommodate the follicular units. This is the method of choice for patients who lack a complete donor zone to utilize for the procedure. Although the procedure is more time consuming, patients will be under local anesthesia so they won’t experience any discomfort during the procedure itself.
Following a hair transplant surgery, it will be imperative for the patient to rest as much as possible. It is important for the patient to sleep with their head elevated at a 45-degree angle for 1-3 nights following the procedure in order to decrease swelling. Certain pain medications may be prescribed such as Tylenol #3, Vicodin or Percocet and these should be used as directed and when needed. Many people require medication for the first 1-2 nights following the procedure. Each hair transplant center will have detailed instructions for patient after-care procedures as well.
Time to show off your new hair!
It is to be expected that approximately 2-3 weeks after the procedure has taken place, the grafted hairs will fall out. This may appear alarming however it’s a natural part of the process. New healthy hair growth will begin within a few months. In fact, 60% of new healthy hair growth will have set in by the 6-9 month mark. Given that the average lifespan for a man is now a whopping 80 years, a 6-9 month investment into a man’s physical appearance and self-confidence is a very small price to pay.
Be sure to choose a well-acclaimed board-certified hair transplant surgeon such as Dr. Robert Jones (who is based out of Toronto, Ontario) before going ahead with hair transplant surgery to be confident that you are in the care of a highly-trained surgeon that you can trust.