A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that removes hair follicles from an area with dense hair, such as the back of your head, and plants them on the bald patches or the areas with thin hair on your scalp.
Globally, over 50 percent of women and 60 percent of men suffer from some form of hair loss. While major cases of hair loss can be attributed to aging, other causes include hereditary, stress, trauma, or medical conditions like alopecia areata or thyroid disorders. Over-the-counter medications and topical treatments like Minoxidil (Rogaine) are available to treat balding and thinning hair. However, for more lasting results, most people choose hair transplants to treat hair loss.
Hair Transplants Procedure
When conducting a hair transplant, the surgeon removes hair follicles from an area with dense hair, typically the back of the head, and grafts these follicles on the bald patches. Before beginning the procedure, the surgeon sterilizes and numbs the donor area – the area from where the hair follicles will be removed. The surgeon will then perform one of the two methods of hair transplant – Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
FUT hair transplant is also referred to as Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS). In this procedure, the surgeon removes a strip of the scalp from the donor area (usually the back of the head). The strip of scalp is then separated into as many as 500 to 2,000 tiny follicular grafts, each comprising an individual strand of hair or a few hairs. With the help of a blade or a needle, the surgeon punctures tiny holes into the recipient area and inserts the grafts. This procedure is termed as grafting. The number of grafts you get relies on the type, color, and quality of your hair, and the size of the recipient area.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
While performing an FUE hair transplant, the surgeon begins by shaving off hair from the back of your head. Unlike FUT, where a strip of scalp is extracted, in FUE, the surgeon extracts individual follicular units from the donor area with the help of a microneedle. FUE does not require stitches, and the scalp will heal with tiny marks, which will be concealed by existing hair. Thereafter, the procedure is similar to FUT, with the surgeon punching tiny holes into the balding area and grafting the follicular units into these incisions. The FUE hair transplant recovery time is less compared to FUT.
Hair Transplants: Recovery
Both these hair transplant procedures can take hours or even days to complete, depending on the area that needs to be covered. Once the surgery is completed, the surgeon will usually remove any bandages within one or two days. Stitches are removed after 7 to 10 days. After the surgery, the scalp may be tender or swollen, and your hair transplant surgeon will prescribe pain medications for a few days. The surgeon may also advise taking antibiotics to avoid infection and anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the swelling.
Most patients can resume normal activities within 2 to 5 days post-surgery. However, it is important to follow these aftercare tips to ensure the incisions heal well, and the results are good:
- Avoid washing your hair for a few days after surgery.
- For the first few weeks, make sure you use mild shampoos.
- Avoid exercise or any strenuous activity for at least three weeks after the surgery.
- Visit your doctor for follow-ups to make sure the incisions are healing well.
- Avoid combing over the grafts for at least three weeks.
You will notice that the transplanted hair may fall out within two to six weeks. This is normal, and you will start to see new hair growth in a few months.
Hair Transplants: Side Effects
A hair transplant is a safe procedure if you get it done from an experienced surgeon. However, you might experience a few side effects like:
- Scalp pain
- Itching or swelling on the scalp
- Scalp infections
- Raised bumps around the hair follicles
These side effects can be successfully treated with medications prescribed by your doctor.
Are hair transplants effective?
Hair transplants have a higher success rate compared to other restoration products and procedures. However, the transplanted hair may recede over a period, and you may require a follow-up transplant. Also, hair transplants are not effective for patients with widespread balding or hair loss due to medication or chemotherapy.
How much does FUE hair transplant cost?
The cost of hair transplant depends on various factors such as the size of the portion that needs to be treated, the transplant technique, the qualification of the surgeon, and the location where you get it done. Having said that, the cost of a hair transplant can range between $4000 to $15,000.
If you are looking for the best FUT and FUE hair transplant in New Jersey, Dr. Emil Shakov, MD, FACS at the New Jersey Hair Restoration Center can offer you his expertise. Dr. Shakov is a highly trained, board-certified hair restoration surgeon. He holds advanced training and fellowships in aesthetic surgery from the Academy of Procedural Medicine and The American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. He was trained with the world-renowned Hair Transplant 360 program in FUE and FUT treatments and is the best doctor for hair loss.