The reason hair transplantation procedure has seen a great deal of popularity is the increasing worries of hair loss irrespective of gender and age. To begin with the discussion over this topic, first, we need to know what is hair transplant.
It is a medical procedure in which the genetically resistant hair follicles (usually from the back of the head) to balding are removed from one part of the body with dense growth and then grafted by surgical means on the balding regions. The area of extraction is called the ‘donor site’ and the area receiving the transplant is called the ‘recipient site’.
Initially, this procedure was a stereotype remedy for treating male pattern baldness, but now, it has a broader range of aspects like eyelashes, eyebrows, beard, chest hair etc. It is often used for covering up scars as well. Hence it can easily be said that this is not only chosen by people suffering from balding but also by people who have specific cosmetic and aesthetic needs to be fulfilled. With demands coming from such vast and diverse fields, the number of hair transplant clinics has seen enormous growth.
Hair transplant is mostly performed on an outpatient basis. Since it is a surgical procedure, local anaesthesia is preferred for the patient, but before any other step, the scalp is first shampooed and then treated with some antibacterial agent.
Now, the advancement of technology has brought up several methods for harvesting hair follicles, each with their own set of pros and cons. But, the two most widely used procedures are FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) that has proved to be the most effective and efficient hair restoration procedure.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
In this process, hair follicle units are extracted individually from the patient’s donor site. Circular incisions are made at the back or the sides of the head to remove individual follicle units containing 1-4 hairs per unit. However, this is a time-consuming procedure and is pretty expensive. Follicular Unit Extraction can also be used to extract body hair and plant them on the scalp.
This is known to have the least postoperative discomfort as it heals fast. Also, the risk of long term nerve damage or chronic numbness is reduced significantly in this procedure as compared to FUT.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
FUT is often referred to as strip harvesting procedure, as it involves removing a strip of scalp skin from the donor site which should not be not more than 1-1.5 cm in length and 0.4-0.5 inches in width. Once the hair follicles are plucked from the strip, they are re-inserted into your scalp. The size of the piece usually depends upon the total number of required follicles to cover up the balding area. It can be done a lot faster than FUE. Thousands of grafts can be successfully performed in one session, which lasts 5-8 hours. If done right, the result of this process perfectly mimics the natural growth of your hair, and one cannot easily detect it as a transplant.
Who can opt for hair transplantation?
Generally speaking, there are three leading causes in which one can go for hair transplant surgery:
- Men suffering from pattern-baldness
- Women suffering from thinning of hair
- People who have specific cosmetic needs to be fulfilled and also want to cover up scars from injuries.
The surgery may have caused a great deal of trauma to your scalp for which your scalp may feel sore. In such cases, the doctor might prescribe certain medications like:
- Anti-biotic pills
- Anti-inflammatory pills
There can also be a few side effects along with the soreness. But, this is normal and usually clear up within two weeks. You may notice the following:
- Bleeding from the donor site
- Inflammation of the skin or hair follicles
- Itching sensation on the donor and recipient sites (which you absolutely shouldn’t touch, no matter what!)
- Scalp numbness
- Crust and scab formation
- Shock loss of hair
- Unnatural looking clusters of hair
Always remember, however comfortable and cost-effective it may sound, consulting an expert like Dr Sunil Arora from ALCS, Jaipur who has sufficient duration of experience in the field is essential. Because, if these procedures go wrong, then you might suffer from a great deal of discomfort and the most undesired result.