Hair transplants have come a long way over the last few decades. They are now done using modern tools and techniques. The rate of success and satisfaction is higher than ever.
A hair transplant is done in a few different stages.
Doctors begin by cleaning and preparing the scalp for the transplant. This means washing and drying the area. It might also involve shaving some of the scalp to make the procedure easier to perform. The actual transplant process starts with local anesthetic applied to the scalp. General anesthesia is not necessary although some people do request light sedation.
The first step involves harvesting the hair from a spot called the donor location. The donor hair is generally taken from the sides or the back of the head. This is because those follicles continue to grow constantly throughout life even if a person starts balding.
One type of hair transplant removes thin strips that are a few inches long containing many growing follicles. A second type of hair transplant removes much smaller clusters of just a few follicles from many different locations. The scalp is sutured closed in the areas where the follicles were removed.
Doctors now start to make relatively shallow incision along the scalp in the area that is bald or balding. The strips or small pieces of scalp from the donor area are then placed inside of these incisions. This is similar to skin grafting.
The donor follicles will eventually take root in the new area. The entire process can take anywhere from three to nine hours to complete. The transplanted area is then covered and dressed in order to prevent infections and to protect the scalp during recovery.
There is a recovery period after a hair transplant. The scalp is likely to ache and be very sensitive. Patients might be prescribed different medications such as painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. The majority of people who undergo a transplant need only two days to a week for recovery. Normal activities can be resumed after this. Full recovery takes around three weeks to a month depending on different personal factors.
The first thing that happens is the hair on the transplanted areas of scalp will fall out. New hair will start to grow after this happens. This takes about three weeks. Hair will slowly start to grow in for the next six to nine months. It is common to see 60 percent or more new hair growth in the area. The hair looks natural and is just as resilient as normal follicles after they are established. Some people might be given a topical or oral medication to help promote the growth of new hair.
It is important to note that multiple procedures might be necessary depending on the technique used and the amount of hair being transplanted. Most procedures are completed in just one or two sessions. Some individuals could need three or more if hair is falling out or if the area is exceptionally large. Multiple transplant procedures can increase recovery times by a small amount.