Choosing to have a hair transplant or opting for hair restoration is a big decision. Often these decisions are based on wanting more fulfilment from life and to feel better about yourself. Hair restorations and hair transplants can completely transform a person’s appearance and it’s, therefore, no wonder that these types of operations have risen more than 60% since 2014.
In this article we take a look at what exactly hair restoration is and what you should be looking our before considering getting a hair transplant.
What Is A Hair Transplant?
More than 50 million men in the United States are affected by male pattern baldness. But did you know women suffer too? In fact, the condition affects over 30 million women in the United States, and most of these cases happen after menopause.
A hair restoration procedure, or a hair transplant is a surgery that involves filling in empty areas of the scalp using your own existing hair.
To begin with, the scalp is cleaned properly and injected with a numbing anaesthetic.
There are then two methods that can be used for hair transplantation:
FUSS – follicular unit strip surgery
FUE – follicular unit extraction
FUSS is a method whereby the surgeon carefully removes a strip of skin from your scalp. The strip will be from the back of your head so it won’t be noticeable once sewn back together. The hair surrounding the scar will cover it.
This strip of hair then serves as material for your new hair growth. The strip is divided into many small clusters of follicles and these hair follicles are then placed onto the balding areas through small incisions or holes. The surgeon inserts the follicles into your scalp which will then heal and produce a fuller set of hair.
With the FUE method, your hair is shaved off and hair follicles are then harvested one by one. The same procedure follows where each hair follicle is inserted into the balding areas of the scalp through small holes.
The procedure can take anything between 4-8 hours depending on what kind of transplant you’re getting and what size.
What To Expect From A Hair Transplant
A hair transplant may be the solution you’ve been looking for but there’s always a few things to consider:
- The hair which have been transplanted will fall out naturally after a few weeks following your procedure. The follicles will then start to grow after around three months. You should therefore be patient and not expect immediate results.
- A hair transplant can only work if you have large enough areas with existing hair.
- The final result of the hair transplant will be visible within 12 to 18 months following your surgery.
- If you want a further hair transplant to increase density, you should wait at least one to two years to allow your hair and scalp to fully recover from the first surgery.
- It is also recommended that you maintain your new hair growth through over the counter products such as Rogaine or Finasteride. This is because hair loss can be stabilised by using these medications.
You should expect a tender scalp after your surgery. You may also need to take pain medication for up to a week as well as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs.
You should be able to return to work within one week after the surgery but do note that you will need to wear a bandage on your head for a day or two.
As noted above, the hair which was transplanted will begin to fall out within two to three weeks but new hair growth will start to happen within a few months.
There may be some side-affects to having a hair transplant. No procedure will ever be 100% free from risks and so this should be expected.
Scarring is the most common side effect but any scarring should be covered by existing or new hair growth. Of course, with age and as hair loss becomes inevitable, the scarring may be more noticeable.
Other potential side effects include:
- Scalp swelling or pain
- Infections or inflammation of hair follicles
- Possible bleeding
- Numbness around the surgical areas
The cost of hair restoration can be anything from $4,000 to $15,000. You also need to take into consideration costs for sick leave and aftercare medication such as pain killers.
The price of your hair transplant will vary greatly depending on the area you live in as well as the experience of your surgeon. Always do your research and follow up with any questions you may have. A great place to find resources is at www.kevinmcmullenmd.com/ who specialises in the revolutionary NeoGraft technique.
Hair transplants are of course expensive as they often produce great results. If you can’t quite afford hair restoration, there are other alternatives to look into. These alternatives won’t give you the same results but can still be effective.
Non-surgical alternatives include:
Rogaine can be bought without a prescription and is safe for both men and women to use.
Low light Laser therapy (Capillus)
Low Light Laser therapy is a non-surgical option to combat hair loss for both men and women. It uses a variety of methods such as photomedicine to treat hair loss. Capillus can be used alongside other hair loss treatments such as topical solutions or prescription medicines. It can even be used if you’ve had a hair transplant.
Finasteride is a tablet which can help treat both male and female pattern baldness if used continuously for more than three months
Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she’s always happy to recommend you her favorites.