Hair loss and thinning hair are frustrating problems. You want to look your best, but it can leave you feeling less than confident.
Fortunately, there is something you can do. Hair transplants give you some options to get you looking and feeling your best. Read on to learn more about a treatment that may work for you.
What Is a Hair Transplant?
Hair transplants are a type of outpatient cosmetic surgery. During the procedure, the doctor removes hair from one area, usually the back of the head where the hair is thicker. The doctor then transplants the hair where the person’s hair is thinning, typically the top of the head.
The surgery is an outpatient procedure. Patients get a local anesthetic, so there is no pain during the procedure. The most you’ll feel is some pulling and pressure. You’ll also likely receive a sedative to keep you calm.
You can expect the procedure to last between four and eight hours. Once the anesthetic wears off, you’ll be allowed the leave. The recovery can take several weeks and you’ll likely experience some pain. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers to help with the pain while you heal.
There are different transplant methods, which we’ll discuss below. Your doctor will help you choose the best for you.
Different Types of Hair Transplant
There are two main types of hair restoration – Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). Both have the potential to give you the hair you want, but both also come with their own sets of pros and cons.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
In Follicular Unit Transplantation procedures, the doctor harvests or removes strips of hair from the back of the head. The strips removed are small, usually between 1 and 1 1/2 cm.
Follicles are then extracted from the strip. The doctor makes small holes in the new location on your scalp and then implants the donor follicles. The donor site will be sutured.
You may begin to see results between six and nine months after the procedure, but it can sometimes take over a year.
FUT can cost between $6,000 and $10,000 based on your location and how lengthy the procedure is.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
In Follicular Unit Extraction, the main change is how the donor hair is removed. FUE involves the removal of single hair follicles and the transfer of the follicles to another part of the head. Doctors use a punch or a robotic device to remove individual follicles. The follicles are then harvested. Once the follicles are ready, the doctor makes small incisions on the new site and inserts the follicles.
FUE was developed to rectify some of the issues with FUT. The procedure takes longer than FUT but has less scarring and an easier recovery. Doctors can remove hair from other areas of the body, not just the head.
FUE allows people who don’t have thick hair to have a transplant. It also allows for more hairstyles, including shorter cuts. You may be able to see some results five-six months after the procedure, but it can take up to a year for full results.
Depending on your location, an FUE procedure can cost between $4,000 and $15,000 for each session. The price is higher when doing the robotic procedure.
Possible Complications of Hair Transplants
While many patients see incredible results from their transplant procedures, some complications can arise.
Pain and Itching
Pain and itching are the most common complications patients experience. The doctor will prescribe painkillers to help, but the area will be tender. As the incision heals, may experience itching around the area.
Your doctor will also apply an antibiotic and may prescribe oral antibiotics to combat infection. However, because it’s an open cut, there is still a possibility of infection.
Patients will have a scar at the donor site, particularly with the FUT procedure. As the hair grows back, the scar will be covered, but it may still show with short haircuts.
Most transplant patients are highly pleased with their results. Their hair looks thicker and often looks the way it did before hair loss. However, for a very small number, the new hair growth may look unnatural. They may have to undergo another procedure to make it look more natural.
Are Hair Transplants Permanent?
Typically, transplants last for the rest of the patient’s life. As long as healthy hair follicles are harvested, they’ll grow on the new site as they normally would.
It’s important to note that you’ll see a difference immediately after the procedure. However, the transplanted hair will fall out over the next two to three weeks. This can be alarming, but don’t worry. It will grow back in the coming months.
The transplanted hair should continue to grow just as normal hair would as long as the transfer site is receptive. If you have bad scarring, that could hinder growth.
Doctors now tend to perform the FUE procedure more often than the FUT procedure. Its benefits make it a good choice for most people. However, it’s important to talk with your doctor to see which option is best for you.
Both of these procedures have their pros and cons, but both also have the potential to restore your hair and help you get back your confidence.