Your hairline is an important part of your face and personality. It is to use a much clichéd expression it is the crowning Glory. For most, a receding hairline is an often embarrassing development, one that they would love to get rid of. Which is where hair restoration surgery comes in. It can improve your appearance, restore the”frame”to the face and thereby also boost your self-confidence.
Hair loss may be temporary or reversible such as following an illness. Such cases need only medical treatment. But the vast majority of baldness in men is genetic and permanent. This can only be corrected by surgery. Of course medical treatment precedes and continues during the surgery as well.
Hair transplant techniques have been evolving from the 1960′s onward. Initially punch grafts were done but today the state of the art is micro-follicular grafting [FG]. This method is very delicate and precise and uses magnification and microsurgical techniques to give predictable, natural and non-traumatic results. It takes longer and it may be a bit costlier but it gives the BEST results to date. Given below are the common questions asked and the answers. Please take a moment to read this before your consultation with the plastic surgeon.
What is the basis of hair transplantation?
Hair transplantation is a permanent method of transferring your own hair from places on the head where you still have hairto the places where you have lostthe hairs. No new hair is created;your existing hairs are redistributed. Unlike the case of organ transplants, in this you are your own donor. Success therefore depends on how good your donor areas are and how best the donor site hair can be utilized. This needs careful planning.
Typically, men lose hairs from the front, temples and vertex [top of the head] but retain hairs at the occiput [back of the head] and sides [above the ears]. The retained hairs then are the‘donor’areas. The hairs in these donor areas are different – they do not respond to male hormones. When transferred to the bald areas properly, they grow in the new”soil”but”remember”where they came from i.e they continue to grow and do not participate in the balding process.
How is this done?
Most good centers now use the latest micro-follicular grafting [FG] technique. Unlike older methods where”punches”of hair were transferred, in FG method, many hundreds or thousands of tiny, living grafts containing only one, two, three or four hairs are inserted in closely spaced fashion over the entirety of the bald and thinning areas. Randomly-spaced single hair micrografts are used in the very front of the hairline to create an especially pleasing, feathered natural hairline.
A strip of hair is taken from the ‘donor’area and is divided into individual hair roots by a delicate process under magnification. The team then transplants these hair roots to the bald areas in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Who will be doing the procedure?
The transplant team consisting of the plastic surgeon and trained nurses will be doing the procedure. A plastic surgeon brings his vast experience of tissue handling, aesthetics and microsurgery to this field and so is best equipped to perform this delicate work. It is done in an operating room with all sterile precautions.
Is it Painful? Does it need general anesthesia?
No. It is done under local anesthesia and the only pain is form the initial injections. Some mild sedation makes even this minor pain dull. In fact the person can listen to music while the transplantation is in progress. The procedure is extremely safe.
Is hospitalization needed?
Again No. The client can go home the same day. The procedure however is time consuming and may take 4-6 hours or more.
What is the after-care?
You will have a bandage around the head, which is removed after 1 day. You may have swelling in the upper face and around the eyes for 2-3 days. You will be asked to gently shampoo the scalp from the second day onwards to keep it clean from scabs. The newly planted area has to be treated gently for the first week, vigorous activity, sport and scalp massage, exposure to heat, sun, dust are forbidden. You will have to return to the clinic on days 1, 10, 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery – the first visit is important. The donor area stitches are removed on the 10thday.
Who is a good candidate?
A person with stable baldness and enough donor area is an ideal candidate. The family history and speed f progress of balding are taken into consideration is making a careful plan. Each patient is different and individualized planning is done. In hair transplantation new hair is not created;your existing hairs are redistributed. A normal head may have 80,000 to 100,000 hairs. In transplantation about 1000 hairs are transferred in each session. About 2000 is generally enough to give a good frame and coverage of the front scalp. Greater density can be produced if there is enough donor area. People with very extensive baldness and poor donor area cannot be helped.
How do doctors decide which part of my head will receive the transplanted hair?
The front and top of your head will receive transplanted hair first because these are the areas that frame your face and make the most impact on your appearance. The crown is usually the last area to receive hair (in later procedures), unless it’s your only balding area.
How many sessions are needed and how good are the results?
Depends on how much area needs covering and how much density is desired. This obviously varies from case to case. Most major baldness needs at least two sessions spaced apart by 3-4 months. More sessions may be desired by the patient to refine and improve density.
How soon does the new hair grow?
The newly planted hairs may first fall out but the follicle remains. After a resting period, the follicles will sprout new hairs. At any one time not all hairs in a human body are growing. Some are sleeping, some growing, some are in decline and some are in the process of falling off. This is known as”hair cycle”. This also applies to the new hairs.
What is the individual variation in the results due to?
People with higher density of hair in the donor site and having a flexible scalp skin achieve better results. The closer your hair color is to your skin color, the better the appearance of the new hair’s coverage. Curly hair is more challenging to transplant but gives better coverage. Less the contrast between natural hair color and skin color better is the cosmetic result for example: african hair is dark and very curly and provides the least contrast against various shades of dark skin, giving the best visual hair transplant results. From a visual point of view, people with dark, straight, thin hair and a light skin color pose the greatest challenge.
Will I need expensive maintenance for the new hair?
No. Once successful growth is established in 6-8 months the new hair can be cut, styled, colored and washed in the normal way. It is after all your own living hair unlike artificial hair weaves and bonded hairs!
How expensive is it?
Cost depends on the extent of the job needed, an average figure is 10-15 thousand dirhams. For example, if desired, a large area of coverage can be done in installments of 3-4 minor sessions thus spreading the expense over a longer time. You will be informed about the cost after consultation.
What is the preparation?
Avoid smoking for at least 2 weeks prior to and as long after the procedure as possible. Avoid Aspirin, vitamin E, Herbal supplements and minoxidil for one week prior to procedure and alcohol for 2 days. Declare all your medical history and allergies. Shampoo regularly with T Gel shampoo to clear any dandruff and do not apply oil or anything else on the scalp. You are not supposed to drive your car after surgery, arrange to be dropped to your home.