No one likes to feel they have lost their youth. Everyone likes to feel healthy and look healthy too. Much of your overall appearance is influenced by the hair you have on your head. When you are young you can do almost anything with your hair, including shortening it, thinning it or allowing it to grow naturally. Once your hair has lost its ability to be manipulated, thins on its own and is even lost altogether then a hair transplant is an opportunity not to be missed. Like youth and health, you take your thick hair for granted until it has all but disappeared.
Hair transplants are not a new invention but have been in use in the United States and the UK since the middle of the last century. It is a form of surgery that involves the removal of a narrow piece of scalp that still has hair from behind the head and then using it to fill up an area of the head which has either no hair or a few wisps.
The majority of hair transplants take place in a doctor’s surgery using a local anaesthetic.
In order to transplant hair, the surgeon has to clean the scalp, and then he or she injects an anaesthetic which numbs the area. A strip of the scalp, 3 to 4 inches long, is subsequently removed. After the strip of scalp has been removed carefully with a scalpel, it is put aside by the surgeon who will sew up the gap in the scalp that has a space. This area can no longer be easily seen as it is concealed by the remaining hairs immediately hidden by the hair around it.
The surgeon will divide the strip of scalp into 500 to 2,000 miniscule grafts each of which contain a single hair, or sometimes a collection of hairs. The number of grafts and the type of graft that will be used will depend on the type of hair, its colour, its quality and the size of the area that is to receive a transplant.
Once the grafts have been prepared, the surgeon will clean and numb the area in preparation for the transplant. He or she will create slits or holes with a needle or scalpel and gently position each graft into one of the holes. Close attention has to be paid to the location, depth and angle of each unit. This ensures the hairline looks natural.
The time it takes to complete the procedure does vary but is normally between four and eight hours. If thicker hair is required then it will be necessary to attend more transplant appointments.
Results and Recovery
When the hair transplantation procedure has been completed you will be provided with detailed instructions on the care of your transplants and you will need to keep your head raised up while asleep for the first few nights at least.
Once the transplant has been completed, the scalp will typically feel sensitive for a while and it may be necessary to take pain killers in order to make the recovery process less painful. You will need to wear a surgical dressing over the area for a couple of days and your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic and/or anti-inflammatory drug, too. Normally, the majority of transplant recipients are able to return to work within 5 days of the procedure.
After two to three weeks have passed after surgery, the hair that has been transplanted will fall out, however beneath this, after a few months, you should start to see new growth appearing. Between six to nine months most people will have gained around 60% of new hair growth. A few surgeons may prescribe minoxidil, a hair growing drug to improve the speed of hair growth following transplantation.
Costs and risks of a hair transplant
How much a hair transplant costs is based on the amount of hair that is to be transplanted. It normally starts at around £1,500.
Hair transplantation is not a procedure offered on the NHS, so you will have to pay for it yourself.
It is normally calculated based on the number of grafts that are required which will be determined at a consultation but is generally based on
- How much hair loss you have.
- How much spare hair you have available for transplanting purposes.
- What your donor hair is like in relation to its colour and texture.
If you choose to have your hair transplanted at several appointments then the cost will be greater as the more hairs that are transplanted throughout each appointment during a procedure will ultimately lower the final amount for each individual graft.
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure and there are risks associated with it which are mainly related to infection and bleeding. The transplanting process can leave scarring and on occasions the new hair does not look completely natural.
When the new hair starts to become visible the hair follicles may become inflamed but this condition can be solved through the use of antibiotics. On occasions transplanted hair may simply drop out without notice but re growth normally occurs afterwards.
If you are bothered by thinning hair, or turning bald concerns you, a transplantation can greatly improve your outer appearance, self-confidence and general well-being. In order to lower the risks associated with hair transplants it is better to opt for this procedure if you are in good health.
Women and hair transplants
Hair transplantation is considered a good option for 90 percent of men who suffer from baldness or thinning hair but one doesn’t normally associate hair loss with women. Women do lose their hair over time but it is more the case of a general thinning of the hair all over the head. Typically, men may lose their hair on the top of their head, while the sides and back remain comparatively bushy. This makes them particularly good candidates for hair transplants as there are good donor sites on various parts of their heads. Conversely, women’s remaining hair, after thinning has taken place, does not make them great candidates for a transplant, but in some cases between 2 to 5 percent hair transplants can be successful.
If women have lost their hair in varying amounts due to traction or mechanical alopecia which is non-hormonal or the baldness has occurred in a similar way to the way men’s does, then hair transplants are quite possible. This type of baldness would be characterized by thinning taking place at the top of the crown, leaving other areas of the head intact where hair can be found to be donors to the bald areas.
A further difference between female and male pattern baldness is at the frontal hairline. Women’s frontal hairline is often kept intact while men often lose hair in this area. Women are generally more concerned about losing hair in the centre of the head and the back.
Overall, hair transplants are designed to transfer hair from one part of the head to another. This means that you do need some good quality hair somewhere on your head so that a hair transplant is both possible and successful. There is no better way than finding out if you are good candidate for a hair transplant than arranging a consultation with a UK hair transplant specialist who will assess your suitability for a hair transplant.
Choosing a Hair Transplant Surgeon
Hair transplantation is a type of surgery, so anyone who performs hair transplants has to be a qualified surgeon with additional qualifications in cosmetic or aesthetic surgery. It is most important to undertake prior research before selecting an appropriate surgeon so that you can be assured that you are in safe hands when the hair transplant takes place.
As with many things using word of mouth often ends up as the most strategic way of sourcing the best possible person to do the job. The General Medical Council and the Institute of Trichologists also provide information about hair transplant surgeons. Your own GP may be invaluable in this respect too. You can also consult online websites such as anyclinics.com who holds lists and profiles of suitably qualified hair transplant specialists
You must look for the following qualifications when choosing your hair transplant surgeon. These can normally be found following the name of the person – FRCS, BAAPs or BACS. All appropriately qualified surgeons will have these abbreviations written after their name when they advertise their services.
If these abbreviations are not present after your chosen surgeons name then you must question his or her expertise as a qualified hair transplant surgeon. It is a good idea to ask the surgeon to refer you to someone who has used his or her services and can make recommendations. As it’s your money you are spending you should know what to expect from your investment. The more you are able to find out about the surgeon, the higher trust and expectations you will have. To find a suitable hair transplant surgeon, go to www.anyclinics.co.uk where you will find someone in your area.