The Facts About Hair Transplantation
Hair transplantation is an operation that takes hair from the back of the head and moves it to the area of hair loss. The fringe (back and sides) of hair on a balding scalp is known as donor dominant hair which is the hair that will continue to grow throughout the life of most men. The transplantation of this hair to a bald area does not change its ability to grow. Donor dominance is the scientific basis for the success of hair transplantation. Dr. Okuda of Japan first described the use of transplanted hair to repair scarred eyelashes and eyebrows. Unfortunately, the outbreak of World War II prevented his valuable discovery from reaching the rest of the world for two decades. Dr. Norman Orentreich published the first widely read report on hair transplantation surgery in 1959 and the field of hair transplant surgery was born.
Candidates for hair transplant surgery are those individuals with hair loss that have sufficient donor hair from the fringe of the scalp to transplant to the balding area. In the past, many bald patients were not suitable candidates for hair transplant surgery but modern techniques have advanced the art of hair transplant surgery so that many more men are candidates.
Hair transplantation surgery has improved in leaps and bounds over the past decade. The days of the “plugs and corn rows” are gone and the age of single hair-, micro-, and mini- grafting has arrived. Through the use of the these variable sized hair grafts along with new and improved instrumentation, the accomplished hair transplantation surgeons can create a natural hair appearance that is appropriate for each individual patient. Single hair-grafts have the finest and softest appearance. Although they do not provide much density, they do provide the critical soft hairline that is the transition to thicker hair. Reconstructing a new hairline is a skill requiring surgical as well as artistic skill. It is critically important to get it right the first time and thus requires considerable forethought and planning. Getting it Right. Examining the hairline of a nonbalding person will show the presence of numerous single hairs in the very frontal hairline. Micrografts are small grafts containing 2-3 hairs that are placed behind the hairline to provide a gradually increasing hair density. Lastly, minigrafts contain 4 or more hairs are placed well behind the hairline so that the single hair and micrografts can blend naturally into the density provided by these larger grafts.
The side-effects of hair transplantation surgery are relatively minor consisting of mild pain and discomfort after the operation, swelling which may move down to the eyes, and the formation of scabs over the grafts which take approximately one week to resolve. Serious problems of bleeding, scarring, and infection are rare. Modern hair transplantation surgery is comfortable, predictable, and the results are pleasing to most patients.
Hair loss, however, is a life long process, most men will develop male pattern baldness (due to male hormones) until approximately 40-45 years of age. After that, the aging process thins the entire head of hair. Progressive hair loss or the desire for more density, will require more transplant procedures. Modern techniques, however, allow hair transplant surgery specialists of transplant larger number of grafts, greatly reducing the number of procedures needed to complete the result.
Some of the most common questions or concerns about Hair Transplatation include:
What causes hair loss?
Genetic pre-disposition plays a major role in hair loss. Most commonly, men and women alike inherit the propensity to lose their hair from either or both of their parents.
Unlike the way many of us experience hair loss in nightmares, one’s hair generally does not come out all at once or in thick clumps. Rather, it tends to occur progressively over time. The age of onset and the rate of hair loss vary due to a number of factors – again, the predominant of these factors is genetic.
Doctors and scientists are still in the early stages of researching and finding a “cure” for the unique events that determine the metabolism and programming of our hairs – from our scalps to our eyebrows and eyelashes. A better understanding of these and other physiological and pharmacological factors may allow us to provide more effective medical therapies in the future. Though some local circulatory and hormonal conditions show signs of a connection with hair loss, more research is necessary if we are to understand this unfortunate phenomenon in its entirety.
While it is true that hair loss cannot yet be prevented, certain conditions have been found to aggravate or even initiate the process. These include malnourishment, use of chemicals, hair braiding, and severe illnesses, to name a few. The good news is that we can dispel some of the negative myths about hair loss right away: wearing hats or caps, excessive shampooing, clogged pores have no effect on the process.
Does hair transplantation work for everyone?
Yes! Innumerable satisfied patients will testify to the efficacy of the procedure. In each case, hair is removed from the donor area and transplanted to the balding area. This hair will grow indefinitely, as if it were programmed to grow in the recipient site all along.
What are the risks of a hair transplant?
The most common risks associated with a hair transplant are bleeding, infection, and scarring. Some people may experience mild nausea and vomiting after the procedure. This is due to the local anesthetic and other medications used to make the patient more comfortable during the procedure. If you have any questions about the risks or possible side effects of hair transplantation, Dr. Sztulman will gladly address them in a pre-transplant consultation.
Is a hair transplant painful?
Those with low thresholds for pain can rejoice, as the vast majority of transplant patients experience only very mild levels of discomfort. This discomfort is most often related to the initial fine needle prick of the local anesthetic, which is continually applied to the scalp throughout the procedure. Any tightness or numbness that remains after the operation can usually be treated with just a few doses of Tylenol or Ibuprofen, while any itchiness on the scalp can be tempered with anti-histaminics.
Important facts to know about hair loss:
1. Hair loss is not clinically apparent until 50% of hair is already lost.
2. Hair loss affects roughly 35 million men and 21 million women in the United States alone. Around 40% of men will have noticeable hair loss by the age of 35. Hair loss affects nearly 40% of women over 40.
3. Baldness is the most common complaint among men, followed by diffuse hair loss. The inverse is true for women, most of whom register their primary grievances with the experience of diffuse hair loss.
4. Preventative medical treatment (either Rogaine or Propecia are popular options) can prove effective when properly implemented. These treatments must be implemented in an ongoing fashion; an interruption in the treatment will likely result in a noticable step back.
5. Hair loss is associated with hormonal causes, or androgenetic alopecia, in more the 90% of cases. The hormone most associated with hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT, for short).
For more information, please contact our office for a confidential consultation at (401) 521- 0050 or via e-mail at email@example.com.