Hair Restoration

Hair Transplant

Introduction to Hair Transplant

An operation where hair is restored by transplanting hair follicles from one part of the body to another.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Manish Mittal and written by Dr. Manish Mittal 27/04/2020

What is a Hair Transplant?

A hair transplant is a procedure where an area of the body where hair has been lost, such as in male or female pattern baldness and surgical scars, is restored. This is done by transplanting hair follicles from other parts of the body, such as the back of the neck. It is a non-invasive, non surgical hair replacement procedure that really works. Doctify has access to a number of top rated hair transplant clinics and hospitals in London, who will address your individual needs. Whether its a hair loss treatment for women or a mens hair transplant that you are looking for, you can be sure to find the best hair transplant specialists in London through Doctify.

How is a Hair Transplant performed?

Pattern baldness or surgical scars are highly common ways of losing hair. For many people this can affect their self-confidence and have a real impact on their day to day life. If hair loss is affecting you then you should consider making an appointment with a hair transplant clinic in London through Doctify. As this is a cosmetic procedure, it is important that you achieve the best hair transplant results through an industry approved expert. Doctify’s top-rated experts in this field will be able to assess your need and then deliver the results to make a real difference to your life.

Before a local anaesthetic is used to numb the scalp, their hair is washed and treated with an antibacterial agent to minimise the risk of infection. Once ready hair follicles may be harvested by one of two methods: Follicular unit extraction which harvests hair in naturally occurring groups of up to four hairs, or strip harvesting which involves removing a strip of skin from an area of healthy growth.

Once hair follicles have been gathered the surgeon then implants them into the bald area, leaving a natural appearance in the donor and recipient sites.

hair transplant

How to prepare for a Hair Transplant?

It is advised that you don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take certain medications such as aspirin, anticoagulants, beta-blockers and anti-inflammatory medications. This will depend on the clinic and exact method used by the surgeon and you will be fully informed of their policy upon contacting the clinic.

What happens after a Hair Transplant?

You will probably have to take some time off work to allow your scalp to heal from the surgery. Additionally, strip harvesting may leave a tiny pencil-thin scar, though this can be hidden by hair once it regrows.

How does a hair transplant work? 

In a nutshell, hairs are taken from the back of the head and placed in areas that are being aimed to treat. It can be broken down into 3 important phases:

  1. The harvesting phase; where one hair graft is removed at a time.
  2. Creation of Recepient sites; this is where holes are made for these grafts to go in. Here direction, density and angulation are taken into deep consideration.
  3. Implantation phase; where the grafts are implanted into the premade holes.

The holes will then heal over the next 7-14 days, and the scabs will fall off. You will get a first glance at what your new hair may look like, but this is shortly followed by a shed and dormant phase – until the hairs re-enter the growth phase of the hair cycle. There will be steady growth from 3 months onwards and you can expect to see 90% of your final result between month 10-12.

Are hair transplants permanent?

In theory yes. Taking hairs from the permanent zone, which is the area at the back of the head is not susceptible to DHT (the hormone responsible for “hair loss”). As a result, expect any implanted hairs to be permanent. This can be further maintained by using non-surgical forms of treatment; typically a combination of finasteride and minoxidil, but liaise with your surgeon to discuss the importance of this.

Because the hairs implanted are considered permanent it is paramount to consider hair loss as a continuous process, and therefore your surgeon should always be planning for the future.

Are hair transplants safe?

Yes, if done correctly. It is a surgical procedure so there are some risk factors but youre surgeon should be able to minimise these through skill and meticulous attention to detail. Some of the risks you should be aware of:

  1. It is not completely scarless, there will be tiny 0.7mm pinpoint scars left on the back of the head. A good surgeon will ensure this is not noticeable
  2. Pain, bruising, swelling
  3. Allergic reactions
  4. Risks assosciated with local anaesthetic
  5. Risk of infection
  6. Risk the grafts do not take

But a good surgeon will be able to mitigate the above risks and make it on the large part a massively successful procedure with a high satisfaction rate.

What are the different methods for hair transplants?

The two most commonly known techniques are Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

FUT involves removing a 20cm strip of skin from the back of the head within the donor area. This is then stitched together and a long linear scar is formed over a period of time. This method has a lot of merit and is still an important skill set to have in a surgeons arsenal.

FUE involves a small circular punch making holes in the back of the head. These are no bigger than 0.75mm-0.85mm in diameter so tiny in nature. Again FUE has its own merits and a surgeon should know when to use one over the other or a combination of both.

Within FUE there are several methods of creating holds, from DHI, Saphire blade technique. Needles, Pre-cut blades. Speak to your surgeon on their preference and why.

Can a hair transplant look natural?

Yes, the whole idea is to create a natural result. A hairline needs to be planned. I as a surgeon have a saying, that being a patient should age into a hairline and not out of it. This is one of the key concepts. No point in having a 25-year-old’s hairline at the age of 50, it doesn’t look natural.

The way we make the incisions for the grafts to go into and then strategic placement of these grafts are so important. Take a close look at your own hairline. You’ll notice at the very front there are what looks like single hairs. Behind these soft singles there are thicker hairs, usually grown in two or three hair units. We mimic this to create a natural appearance.

Can hair transplant hair grow long?

Yes, hair that has been achieved through a hair transplant can grow long.

How many hair transplants can a person have?

We are born with 120,000 hairs on our head. The maximum number of hairs that can be extracted is in the region of 20000. On average we have 2.2 hairs per extracted graft. As a result, there is a maximum of 7500 grafts that can be taken.

It can depend on donor area density, quality, level of scarring, and whether you have and FUE or FUT first to know how many hair transplants a person can have. On average most patients can have up to 3 procedures again depending on numbers. The typical pathway is:

  • 2 FUE; usually 1st one up to 2200 grafts, any more could compromise the donor area for further treatments. A second one usually up to 1500 grafts.

These 2 can then be followed by an FUT if needed.

Some surgeons perfer for FUE before FUT, because removal of scalp tissue can change the direction of the grafts under the skin, almost rendering it impossible to safely remove grafts.

The most important thing after a transplant is to have a maintenance regime, which may include medications like finasteride and minoxidil, depending on what your surgeon says.

My personal preference is sapphire blades. They are costly but in my opinion the incisions created are cleaner and easier to implant into. This means less trauma to the grafts and ultimately improved results.

Dr. Manish Mittal
04/12/2021

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