For those with balding, a hair transplant could be the perfect solution that helps them achieve permanent and natural-looking hair. Due to today’s practices and technology, hair transplants are much more effective and painless than before. Improvements in recreating the natural hairline have also been made, making a hair transplant is a lifetime investment most find very, very worth it.
Who Needs a Hair Transplant?
Let’s first talk about who would be the ideal candidates for hair transplants.
Both men and women can get hair transplantation. Here are the two main things you must consider to know whether or not a hair transplant procedure would be a good fit for you:
- You must have the right amount of healthy hair, which is called the donor hair, from which the doctor will remove hair follicles and transplant them to the recipient site (the area with the pattern baldness)
- Your scalp must have the ability to regrow hairs where the bald patches are or where the previous hair became too thin.
These two factors will be established by the surgeon at your consultation, prior to starting to plan any operation. You could also find out if you meet these requirements after seeing a dermatologist. The doctor will thoroughly examine your scalp before even discussing any surgical procedures.
Some patients might also need blood tests to find out the exact reason for their hair loss issues. This can detect a possible internal cause that may lead to your hair problems. Possible causes could be hormonal imbalance and other health conditions that make rashes appear on your skin or scalp.
In some cases, the surgeon might even have to do a scalp biopsy. After all these examinations, you will discover whether or not you’re a viable candidate for a successful hair transplant.
Aside from that, in general, people who deal with baldness, especially premature alopecia, have bald patches, and/or thinning hair are all great candidates for this type of surgery.
How Long Does a Hair Transplant Last?
One of the questions that patients ask frequently is “how long does a hair transplant last?” In theory, everyone sees this procedure as being a lifetime solution. Still, the patient’s lifestyle, age, and his or her hair type can all impact the lifespan of the surgery’s results.
Once in a while, there could be a patient who needs a second procedure for maintenance purposes, but those cases are rare because the transplanted follicles will generally keep growing new hairs for many, many years after surgery with proper scalp and hair care.
Both Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Surgery and Follicular Unit Extraction/Excision (FUE) are made to last forever, and they are seen as permanent surgeries. That’s due to the fact that the hair follicles from the donor area are healthy to begin with relative to the shrunken and nonfunctional hair follicles in the balding areas, so there’s generally no issues around how long hair transplants last as long as the transplanted follicles are healthy and didn’t have issues with hair growth prior to the FUT or FUE procedure.
In other words, as long as you go to an experienced surgeon who knows exactly what they’re doing, and if the procedure is done correctly, you’re looking at an excellent outcome that lasts your entire life.
Doctors, like the professionals at the NHI Medical are well aware of the fact that hair loss is a progressive process in many situations. Despite that, they do what they know best: helping their patients achieve amazing results using their own existing hair, and helping them to feel better about the way they look.
On another note, whether or not you will need to do a second procedure depends on many things. In the end, it’s your personal choice. For instance, you may want increased hair density to an area that has already been transplanted, which is generally no problem. Or after 10-15 years, your natural hairs may have thinned and you may want an additional surgery to fill in the non-transplanted areas.
Sometimes, doctors could prescribe follow-up meds to minimize the need for a second operation.
Are Hair Transplants Effective?
Yes, in most cases, hair transplants are effective in natural hair restoration–restoration in the sense that the appearance of normal hairline and thickness are restored, not the actual hair follicles themselves.
Not only are these procedures safe nowadays, but they are also generally painless and less invasive than in the past. However, every patient is different, and his or her scalp and hair needs and issues are unique, which is why the most important thing is to take the time to find a qualified, experienced doctor.
Things That Could Affect the Outcome of a Hair Transplant
A variety of elements could affect or influence the result of hair transplantation:
- Your hair’s characteristics – Do you have curly or coarse hair? Curly hair naturally looks thicker than straight hair.
- How severe is your hair loss? – Based on this, the number of hairs taken from the back or sides of the scalp will be affected.
- How dense is your donor area? – If your hair density is high in the donor site, the doctor will be able to transplant more follicular units into the recipient site.
- Donor follicular unit groupings – If your hair supply is rich in thicker follicular units that contain 3-4 different hairs, the result will generally be better.
- The size of your head – Based on your head circumference, the doctor will harvest more or fewer hair grafts.
- Skin laxity – This characteristic of your scalp skin can impact the amount of tissue that the surgeon is able to extract during the FUT procedure.
What Does a Hair Transplant Cost Look Like?
The cost of hair transplant surgery varies from one clinic to another and is also based on different factors. Also, the final cost includes more than just the surgery itself. It involves some additional aspects:
- The extent of your transplant procedure
- How experienced and reputable your surgeon is
- The number of clinics or surgeons available where you live
- The surgical technique and technology that the doctor uses
Hair transplantation is considered a cosmetic procedure. Therefore, it might not be covered by your health insurance. You should also think about the extra cost of potential aftercare medications that the surgeon might prescribe you.
One thing’s for sure: although this operation isn’t very cheap, it is definitely worth it for most if you want to regain a youthful appearance and restore your self-confidence.
What to Do After a Hair Transplant Surgery?
Your doctor should talk to you about specific important aftercare tips and guidelines that you should follow, but these generally include:
- You must wait a couple of days before washing your hair
- The first two weeks, it is best to use mild shampoos and avoid other hair styling products
- In just about 2 to 5 days, you should be ready to go back to work
- Carefully comb your hair without pressing the brush too deep into the newly-transplanted hair grafts; wait approximately two to three weeks before brushing like you used to do
- Avoid wearing pullover shirts and hats until you receive the green light from your surgeon
- Wait at least one week before working out again
When Will You See Results After the Surgery?
Most of those who went through hair transplantation will achieve their expected results between 9 to 12 months after the operation. Occasionally, patients start seeing results as early as 6 months after their procedure, but this is very rare.
You must be reminded that right after the surgery, for a couple of weeks, your new hair will fall out, but this is totally normal, and all patients must go through it. By the third month, the hair could appear thinner than before the surgery but, once again, this is normal–just be patient.
How Long Must You Wait Until the New Hair Grafts Become Permanent?
Normally, grafts become permanent within 9 days after the procedure. This is the case with all follicular unit transplants. After that, you will be able to shampoo the flakes off. In cases where larger grafts were transplanted, the grafts could become permanent after a longer period of time.
Hair Transplants and Their Success Rate
Hair transplants are generally a much more successful and effective option compared to over-the-counter products that may or may not restore your hair follicle health. Also, this type of medical procedure represents a permanent solution.
Things to Consider after the Hair Transplant Surgery
All doctors give post-operational recommendations to their patients. The following ones that are listed below are just some general guidelines so, for each patient, some of these suggestions might be different, based on each person’s unique needs and the way the body responds after the surgery:
- You must wait several days before washing your scalp or hair. Before washing it, you should first apply a hydrating lotion or mild moisturizer and leave it on for around 20 minutes. This way, all the post-op scabs will soften, and dried blood can be washed away.
- After 20 minutes, wash the lotion off with lukewarm water. The ideal thing to do is to use a special medical shampoo. Apply a small amount of shampoo all over your head, but don’t rub it on your scalp. You should make soft moves with your palms the entire time while also avoiding any pressure.
- Rinse your head and dry your hair by using paper towels. Instead of rubbing the hair, just pat it slowly.
- Repeat this process until all dried blood and scabs are removed from your scalp, which shouldn’t last longer than 7-10 days. Within a couple of weeks after the surgery, you should be able to wash your hair normally.
Hair transplants are safe and effective options to address hair loss issues. These procedures, if done by experienced and reputable doctors, can last you a lifetime. In a few cases, some patients might need a second maintenance medical intervention, but those situations don’t happen very often. Good luck!