Like many things in our lives, our looks are often taken for granted. Some people, especially men, due to a lot of reasons tend to lose parts or all of their hair at some point in their lives.
The good news about this is that you’re not alone in this. Hair loss is a common phenomenon. There are millions of people around the world experiencing similar hair issues, especially in countries like the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France etc. While some have accepted it and reckoned it as a normal part of their lives, others haven’t and so they opt for surgical procedures like hair transplant to give their faces a fuller, richer look. But the question now is, what effects will it have on the person? Is it a lasting procedure or does it just trend for a moment and runs along?
For those of you who are lost in the clouds trying to figure out what hair transplant is, let’s go for a ride.
What is Hair Transplant?
It is a type of surgical procedure that takes hair from a particular part of the body and fills up with thin or no hair. It is also used in transplanting lashes and brows. This surgery did not just evolve. It has been around since the 1950s but things just get better with time. There are of two types- follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) and follicular unit extraction (FUE)
What’s the FUSS?
There is no fuss in here, people! Follicular Unit Strip Surgery, also known as Follicular Unit Transportation is a type of hair surgical procedure that transfers hair from the rear-end of the scalp or the areas where the hair is much, to bald or thinly laid parts. It is a hair restoration technique that allows the hair to grow in bald parts. The doctor cuts the strip of hair at the back of the scalp from the donor zone.
Then the technicians divide it into single follicular units and are chilled to maintain their structure. Receptive sites are created in the scalp with a tiny needle, thereafter the follicular units get fixed into the scalp tissue so that new hair can grow. In this method, a large number of follicles can be transplanted at once and there is a very high chance for the hair follicles to grow quickly. You may have to take a lot of headache pills though, as you may experience severe pain after the treatment.
There are several advantages that are associated with this technique:
- A large number of follicles can be transplanted at the same time: As many as 4,000 units of hair can be transplanted at once. It even allows ‘super sessions’ where as much as 5,000 units can be transplanted. This technique is perfect for patients who want to have a lot of follicles implanted to give them a full look.
- It is cost-effective: This is usually the suggested option for patients who cannot afford the high-tech FUE treatment.
- It can be done all at once: If you want to get done with your transplant in a day, then this is the best option for you. By using this technique, you do not have to make plans for multiple surgery dates. Think of the time you’d save.
- Forget the stories you have heard about poor survivability of the grafts. It is certain that the grafts last longer because of the advanced treatment, but there is also a high chance of grafts done by the FUT surviving as well.
However, the disadvantages linger in the corner:
- Takes longer recovery time: recovery time takes longer because the stitches have to be in place for about two weeks. Professional hair transplant specialists usually advise patients to stay away from any stressful activity during the recovery period.
- High risk of scarring: If you do not like the idea of having a scar or you want to hide the fact that you had a hair transplant, FUT is probably not the best option for you. It usually leaves a long linear scar where the donor strip was. Plus, the treatments used after the treatment may stretch the scalp excessively and exaggerate the appearance of the scar.
- The patient may suffer excessive pain: If you are opting for this hair transplant technique, get ready for a massive headache because of the numerous stitches, although you will be given pain medications
It is advised that people with short areas of baldness and those who are not easily affected by or scared of injury, cut or pain uses this hair technique.
What’s the FUE technique?
Also known as follicular hair excision, this is one of the newest hair restoration techniques and it is perfect for those who do not want stitches or enormous pain. This involves implanting grafted follicular units in the balding area. This gives the hair the right density and a reduced risk of getting scars. This is very useful for patients with androgenic alopecia, a sort of pattern baldness. The procedure usually starts with the administration of anaesthesia under the supervision of a professional hair transplant specialist. Then the specialists begin to extract follicular units from the donor area. They are then kept in a holding solution while the treatment area is prepared. The final stage is the implantation of these follicles in the scalp to create a hairline as directed by the patient.
There are several advantages accompanying this Hair Transplant method
- The most important one is that it restores your thinning or bald hair perfectly
- There is very little pain associated with this procedure: since there are very small punches made into the skin, the pain is usually less compared to the FUSS technique. However, specialists usually prescribe medications to ease the pain.
- Almost invisible scars: Unlike the FUSS that makes use of stitches to create incisions, FUE only takes small punches to the head. Each punch usually implants a follicular unit consisting of about three to four strands of hair, thereby creating almost invisible scars.
- Less downtime to heal: Not only does it come with minimal pain, but it takes a shorter time to heal compared to the FUSS, as no scalpels or stitches will be used.
- There will be reduced risk of complications: One of the reasons people develop complications during procedures like this is due to inaccuracy and incompetence on the part of the specialist. But with high-level technological equipment involving the use of more robots and less manual labour, the risks of developing complications during the procedure will be reduced to the barest minimum.
- Your hairline will look more natural: Don’t get me wrong! Both FUSS and FUE are very good, and they will help you create the thick and full hair you desire. But since FUE employs the use of advanced technological instruments, your hairline will look more natural and will blend better.
However, nothing with an advantage comes without a disadvantage:
- It is very expensive: You must be financially buoyant to afford this type of procedure due to the procedures and advanced, high-level equipment they use.
- It requires a large donor area: Because the surgeon needs to get the required amount of hair for his graft, the surgeon may tend to take off some of those parts that are deep into the donor area. Ensure you talk it over with your surgeon to get your options.
- You must shave it off: If you are scared of losing the small hair you have, you may have issues with this as this process requires that you shave off the entire donor area, which is the sides and back of the hair. But it usually depends. If you opt for a medium or small-sized FUE treatment, you may be allowed to keep your long prior to the time.
- The grafts are more fragile: The grafts used in FUE is more fragile as they contain less protective dermis and fat, unlike those used in FUT that are dissected by hand microscopically. The grafts include the hair follicle, small amount of tissue surrounding it, and hair bulb. Therefore a person can lose some hair in the process due to the cutting of hair above the bulb or the transaction.
- Few units of hair grafts can be transferred: unlike the FUT, FUE only allows the transplant of about 2,000 units of hair in one session, thereby increasing the time the procedure takes.
Side effects of Hair Transplant
As with all surgical procedures, this too has side effects that come along with it. Usually, hair transplant specialists inform their patients about the effects that come with these procedures before they sign a consent form. Apart from the scars that come with the FUT transplant, there are not much permanent side effects. Temporal effects are normally haemorrhage (severe bleeding) and infections due to the grafting process. Also, your transplanted hair may begin to thin out after the procedure. This is a normal effect that allows the growth of new hair. It is sometimes called shedding or shock loss. The patient may also suffer from temporal bleeding and swelling. It is very important that the specialists let their patient know the risks, as these procedures may cause severe health issues in some and little in others. But these procedures are very safe generally.
But these procedures are very safe generally.
Hair Transplant recovery time
The time varies depending on the body system and the person’s adaptability skills. Different stroke for different folks, people!
Generally, most people use about three to four days to heal and get on with their usual activities. After this period, the discomfort that came with the procedure must have lessened and the hair is already under the scalp, causing the risk of infection to below.
Caring for yourself after the Hair Transplant procedure
Hair transplant is a surgical procedure, so the patient should ensure that he/she plans some downtime to facilitate the healing process
- Ensure you take enough time to heal and rest: This is very important especially if you opted for the FUT procedure, as the pain may not allow you move around as you used to for some days. Depending on your schedule, make sure you must carve out time to heal and resuscitate yourself. Your specialist may also suggest various self-care techniques to enable you to feel good and normal after the surgery, so practice them consistently.
- Ensure you use health care products like ointments and antibacterial solutions to remove crusts from the hair grafts.
- Desist from scratching your head, hitting it or doing anything that may damage the procedure in the recovery stage. Absolutely nothing should touch the hair, except you want to apply health care product or perform self-care treatments as prescribed by the doctor.
- Make sure you sleep with two pillows, one on the right and the other on the left sides of your head to maintain it in an upright position.
- Scabs that ensue from the procedure tend to fall off after about eight to ten days, so don’t bother yourself about that.
- Ensure you drink lots of water and avoid substances like salt and sugar.
- Take whatever drugs and medication that are given to you at the right time
- Be kind to yourself. Do not stress your head by putting yourself under undue stress.
It is highly important that you choose a good hair transplant specialist/surgeon, as he/she is going to design the whole process and dictate whether you will have a good look at the end of the day. Do your research. Find out the best hair transplant specialists in town or even in the country. Read up information on your own and ask the doctors several questions to ensure that they know what they’re doing before you place a stake on them. Any price is worth paying for your physical appearance. You can even select a board-certified surgeon or one that belongs to a government-approved health care organization, as most of these groups scrutinize the activities of their members and dishes out the right punishment to them if they mess up.