Understanding Hair Transplant

By: Marty Copeland

Hair has always been an important aspect of our personality and appearance for both men and women. Until now however, baldness was a taboo subject to talk about it since there weren't any successful treatments. But not anymore; now 'BALDNESS IS A CHOICE', since it can be treated effectively with different medical or surgical solutions or with a combination of both.

Until recently, hair transplant procedures have not always been too successful. Older techniques have either caused scarring or did not look very natural. The FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) Hair Transplant is the least painful and least invasive procedure available in the market today with the fastest recovery times and natural looking results. It guarantees lasting natural looking results with no pain or scars. Someone who has had hair transplant looks in average 5-7 years younger, where most of them feel 10 years younger!

A lot of male celebrities have had hair transplants the past few years, but it was only when the footballer Wayne Rooney publically admitted that he had one, men realized that there are options available to stop hair loss and grow new hair.

Traditionally the main type of treatment for hair loss has been the Strip Harvesting, which removes a big strip of hair from the back of the head to be transplanted at the front. Besides the lengthy healing time required, scaring is certain and the results are poor.

The Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method uses the patient's own hair, which is replanted after been soaked for some time in a special solution which provides an additional guarantee for lasting results. There is a resting period of 4-6 months where the hair fall and re-grow, but after that period the transplanted hair will continue to grow normally and you can treat them like the rest of your hair.

Forget the results that you have seen with other methods in the past. As long as you have some stable hair on the back and the sides of the head, it is most certain that you are eligible for a FUE Hair transplant which won't only look more natural but you can also achieve more density.

During the FUE procedure, the surgeon extracts individual hair follicles, containing between 1-4 hairs from the back or the side of the head with a specialised punch with less than 1mm diameter. He then inserts each follicle (complete with its sebaceous glands and nerves) in the needed area by making a tiny incision. Each hair is implanted at an angle to mimic that of the original hair. The method guarantees no scars or stitches which is very important if you want to have a crew cut.

Local anaesthetic is constantly used during hair extraction and implantation, so you do not feel any pain at all. During the procedure, you can watch a movie, chat with the team or simply take a nap. Since the procedure can easily last 8-10 hrs (each hair is individually extracted and transplanted), you can experience some minor discomfort just by lying down still. That's why regular breaks are provided and you can go to the toilet, have something to eat or drink, etc.

Recovering time might be long for other methods, like the strip, where the post-operative recovery time could take as long as 30 days, avoiding any exercise and following very specific care. The FUE technique is minimally invasive and the graft extraction is simple, painless and heals within 2-4 days. Most patients head back to work the day following the procedure and can go back to sport 7 days post operatively. For the Strip Method the post-operative recovery time is 30 days, during which the patient must completely avoid exercise and must follow a very careful after care program.

After 10 months up to 90% of the transplanted hairs will be growing naturally and will last for a lifetime as these hairs are largely immune to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the 'killer' hormone on the top of the head.

The cost varies, depending of the stage of baldness, the hair needed and the desired result but it is still affordable if the area to be covered is small. In average, someone would need between 4,000-8,000 hairs to be transplanted and the procedure would take 1 to 2 days respectively.

One of the most important points to bear in mind is that earlier you opt for treatment, the better the result will be.

Although FUE is a minimum invasive procedure and there are not any real medical risks involved, it is very important to choose a reputable clinic in order to ensure natural lasting results. When opting for a FUE hair transplant, ensure you invest a good amount of time to shortlist a few clinics that can showcase genuine before and after pictures of clients.

BALDNESS IS A CHOICE', thus it can be treated effectively; all you need to do is find the right clinic and talk to/see a consultant who has done the procedure himself, instead of seeing a sales person (which unfortunately is the norm in most Harley street clinics)!

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