The first written record of successful hair transplantation to treat baldness in humans was published in 1822 in Wurzburg, Germany-181 years ago.
Far different than hair removal, hair transplant surgery will move the hair that you have already so that it can fill in areas that are thinning or bald. This type of procedure has been done in the United States since the 1950s but the techniques have evolved.
Usually the procedure is done in a doctor’s office. Here are the steps that are done:
- Surgeon will clean your scalp and inject medicine for numbing your head’s back
- Surgeon will use one of two methods for transplanting hair – FUSS or FUE.
The surgeon will remove a skin strip of 6-10 inches from your head’s back. This is set aside and your scalp will be sewn closed. The area then is hidden immediately by that hair that is around it.
Then the surgical team will divide the strip into 500-2,000 miniscule grafts. Each graft has one or a few hairs. The type and number of grafts you’ll get will depend on the quality, type, area size and color.
The surgical team will shave your scalp’s back. Then the doctor is going to remove the follicles individually. Your area’s going to heal with small dots, and the hair will cover these.
Once the initial procedures are done, they are alike. Once he has prepared your grafts, your surgeon will clean and numb that area where your hair is going to go, create slits or holes using a needle or scalpel, and then place the grafts individually in the holes. Chances are that he’ll have help from members of his surgical team.
Based on your transplant size you are getting this process is going to take anywhere from 4-8 hours. It’s possible you’re going to need a second procedure down the road if you’d like your hair to be thicker or if your hair continues to fall out.
Expectations & Recovery
Following your surgery, it’s possible your scalp might be really tender. It’s possible you’re going to take something for pain for a few days. You also might be instructed to wear some bandages over the surgical site for 1-2 das. It’s also possible that he’ll prescribe an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic for a few days. The majority of people can go back to work 2-5 days following their surgery.
In 2-3 weeks following your surgery, the hair that’s been transplanted is going to fall out. However, you should start seeing new growth in 2-3 months. The majority of people are going to see 60% new growth of hair after 6-9 months. Sometimes a surgeon will prescribe Rogaine for improving the growth of hair following a transplant. But it isn’t very clear how well it will work.
Treatment Risks & Costs
Hair transplant prices are going to largely depend on how much hair is being moved, but it will generally range anywhere from $4,000-$15,000. It’s not usually covered by insurance.
Just like with any type of surgery, there are some risks to transplants, including infection and bleeding. There also is a chance for new growth of hair that doesn’t look natural and scarring.
Around that time that hair starts growing, there are some people who have folliculitis, which is a hair follicle infection or inflammation. Compresses and antibiotics are able to help with relieving those problems. It is also possible that you suddenly lose some of that original hair where you’re getting new strands. This is known as shock loss, and it’s usually not permanent.
Alternatives to Hair Transplants
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy can be used as a therapeutic option for men and women who experience hair loss or thinning hair. With this cutting-edge hair loss solution, a highly concentrated, platelet-rich solution of your own blood is injected into the scalp to stimulate tissue growth, which will then promote hair growth. The end result of PRP is a fuller, healthier looking head of hair.
Speak with your doctor regarding the risks and the amount of improvement you will likely get when you have the surgery. They’ll help you with deciding if having a hair transplant’s best for you.