In this edition we will talk about Hair Transplantation.
Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenetic alopecia) is the most common cause of baldness in men. In this kind of hair loss, hair undergo miniaturization that is shrinking from thick to thin, short hair of 1cm length. The growth phase duration of hair decreases and shedding increases under the influence of male sex hormones. But scalp hair at the back (occipital area) do not shed and they persist even in advanced stages of baldness. Therefore, these hair serve as donor area for hair transplantation.
Though medical management with lotions and medications has a definitive and supportive role in the treatment of Pattern Hair Loss treatment, hair transplantation or surgical hair restoration is the only means of treating baldness.
Hair transplantation is the surgical removal of hair from a certain area of the scalp and its relocation to a bald or thinned area. It is technique, primarily used to treat male pattern baldness, whereby grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding are transplanted to bald scalp.
Ideal candidates are patients with established baldness. Very young patients with early thinning or advanced baldness to the extent that sufficient donor hair is not available are poor candidates for hair transplantation. Generally, transplanted hair start growing in 3-4 months but full cosmetic results are gained by 9th month.
At an initial consultation, the surgeon analyzes the patient’s scalp, discusses his preferences and expectations, and advises him/her on the best approach (e.g. single vs. multiple sessions) and what results might reasonably be expected.
There are two hair transplantation techniques:
1. Strip Harvesting
2. FUE Harvesting – (Follicular Unit Extraction)
Follicular unit transplantation is the latest technique being used for hair transplantation now. In this technique individual follicles of hair are removed under local anesthesia; this micro removal uses tiny punches of between 0.6mm and 1.25mm in diameter. Each follicle is then reinserted back in to the scalp in the thinning area using a micro blade. Because this is single follicles and no large amount of tissue is removed and there are no visible scars or post-surgery pain, with no stitches to be removed. Recovery from FUE is within 7 days.
Hair loss is progressive and hair transplantation does not stop that. Medical treatment should be continued to halt further hair loss.