Hair transplant is a surgical technique which aims to craft hair follicles on bald area, Usually this surgery is performed by dermatological surgeon to treat male pattern baldness.
Dermatological surgeon take out the healthy hair follicles from one part of the body & craft it on bald or balding part of the body.
Hair loss or baldness is a common problem in a modern era, all around the world it affects total of 85% of males and 40% of females, also incidence of baldness increases with age for both sexes.
There are many causes of hair loss but by far the most common cause is androgenic alopecia (AGA), an androgen-sensitive pattern baldness which affects both men and women. (Reference)
Indeed, There are non-surgical medication available which may stop the progression of alopecia & even promote the growth of new hairs (minoxidil, finasteride, dutasteride) but they usually take longer time to show a satisfactory effect or sometimes they don’t work.
On other hand, Recent advances in surgical hair transplantation have made it effectively safe and reliable solution for alopecia/pattern baldness. Hair crafted with hair transplantation looks natural & youthful in appearance.
What Are Donor Sites For Hair Transplant?
Before you go for hair transplant there are some basic things which you should understand and ‘Donor sites’ is one the terminology which you should be aware of before undergoing hair transplant.
Donor site is a site from which the hair follicles are taken out to implant them in alopecic (bald) areas.
Usually non-alopecic area (the area which is not influenced to any baldness condition) is chosen as a donor site and their terminal hairs are harvested.
The Safe & Most Common Donor Site For Hair Transplant
Mid-occipital region between the upper and lower occipital protuberances is most common & safe donor site is for hair transplant.
In general, there are 65 to 85 follicular units per square centimeter (cm) in the occipital donor scalp.
Follicular Units are a naturally occurring and healthy group of hairs of the scalp, which consist of a sebaceous gland and duct, and an arrector pili muscle with surrounding of perifolliculum (collagen band)
What are types of hair transplants?
There are mainly two types of hair transplantation techniques are being practiced, which includes follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
FUE refers to follicular unit extraction in which individual follicular units are extracted using a punch device. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a suitable option for majority of hair loss patients or men with advanced baldness.
Hairs naturally grow in cluster of one, two, three, or sometimes four, these clusters are called as follicular hair units. In FUE technique follicles are taken out from most permanent site i.e. the sides and lower back of the head and transferred into scalp area affected by baldness.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
In Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT/Strip), surgeons with help of stereo-microscopic dissection cut out small strip of scalp skin from donor site & implant it into recipient area. With this technique scars are minimal to nothing as compared to FUE technique.
Complications of hair transplant
Despite hair transplant is highly successful surgery it may not be suitable for some of people. During preoperative consultation the surgeon should consider following information to identify patients who may not respond positively to hair transplant surgery.
Complications with Medications: Several medicines/drugs like propranolol, coumadin, amphetamines might affect growth of hairs. Such medication should be stopped before hair transplant surgery otherwise patient may not respond fully to surgery.
Bleeding Complication: it is normal to bleed post hair transplant but if you are on antiplatelet and anticoagulation medications (eg, aspirin, cangrelor, cilostazol, clopidogrel, dipyridamole, prasugrel, ticlopidine, ticagrelor) should be stopped to mitigate bleeding risk.
Medical History of patient should be considered, conditions such as diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, systemic infections like HIV, tuberculosis, syphilis, chemotherapy and/or radiation exposure, malnutrition and/or vitamin and mineral (iron) deficiency, recent childbirth may cause hair loss & such people should not go for Hair Transplant. Instead, they should first treat their underlying cause & then go for Hair Transplant.
Psychiatric History also contribute to hair loss, Hence one should not consider Hair Transplant in condition like:
- Emotional Trauma
- Eating Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Exclusionary criteria, or “red flags” for Hair Transplant
- Unrealistic expectations
- Mental illness
- Donor site miniaturization
- Unusual hair loss pattern
- Many broken hairs
- Excessive shedding
- Scalp inflammation
- Unexplained scarring
- Scalp or skin pain, burning, pruritus
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Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Procedure
Total required grafts is calculated by multiplying the recipient area by the desired graft density. In case of Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) strip of around 1 to 1.5 cm wide will be chosen.
- Anxiolytics drugs may be given preoperatively.
- Antibiotics are administered in order to avoid any kind of infection post surgery.
- All the recipient area is completely marked, including proposed hairline.
- Donor site is shaved & prepared for taking out grafts.
- Local anaesthetic are given, usually combination of local injections and regional nerve blocks is given. (supraorbital, supratrochlear, zygomaticofrontal, and occipital are the drugs used).
- The donor strip is dissected with lateral retraction around the periphery using sharp skin hooks.
- The donor strip gets prepared by removing excess subcutaneous tissue, with care to leave 2 mm of fat beneath the FU to avoid damage to the follicle.
- Individual Follicular units are then separated & placed immediately into a holding medium of chilled saline.
- The donor strip is then closed with two-layer closure using sutures and/or staples as per surgeon preference.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Procedure
- The donor site is shaved to 2 mm to get the angle of the follicles.
- Local anesthesia is given into a donor site.
- Follicular Units are taken out with delicate forceps in an atraumatic fashion & placed into the recipient area or holding medium of chilled sterile saline.
- Graft is gently placed into the recipient area & then light pressure applied with cotton tip applicator for few minutes.
- An antibiotic ointments or a non-adhesive bandages are placed gently across the recipient & donor sites.
Complications 0f Hair Transplant
In general hair transplant is very safe & post-surgery complications are very rare but still following complications may occur:
- Telogen effluvium
- Epidermal cysts and Ingrown Hair
- Telogen effluvium
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Hair Transplant Cost Around The World
|Country||Average Hair Transplant Cost||Average Cost Per Graft|
|Hair Transplant Cost in India||$3,050||$1.50 – $7.00|
|Hair Transplant Cost in Hungary||$3,600||$1.80 – $7.20|
|Hair Transplant Cost in Mexico||$4,500||$2.25 – $8.50|
|Hair Transplant Cost in Thailand||$5,200||$2.60 – $8.00|
|Hair Transplant Cost in Malaysia||$5,000||$3.50 – $7.00|
|Hair Transplant Cost in Turkey||$3,050||$1.50 – $7.00|
|Hair Transplant Cost in Australia||$15,000||$7.50 – $13.50|
|Hair Transplant Cost in USA||$16,000||$7.50 – $13.50|
|Hair Transplant Cost in UK||$7,000||$3.50 – $7.50|
What Care Should Be Taken Post Hair Transplant Procedure
- Swelling around the Donor Area & Recipient Area Is Common problem after hair transplant, it is advised to patient that for three days after hair transplant he/she should sleep with his head elevated in 45 degrees.
- Also note, one should not eat ice cream or aspirin & should also avoid alcoholic drinks for 3 to 5 days after the procedure.
- You can use icepacks or snow to avoid swelling for 15 minutes
- For Pain, usually surgeon will prescribe pain killers. Initially for two days.
- Infections: avoid any kind of dirt & bacteria’s during daily routine for at least two weeks post hair transplant.
- Do not exercise or workout for one week post hair transplant.
- Avoid steam bath & sun bath for at least two weeks. Also avoid sexual activities for at least one week.