Regular hair loss is an embarrassing situation for many people and a source of complexes for many men suffering from baldness. One of the solutions is a hair transplant. What is it exactly? How does the operation work? Find out everything you need to know about hair transplants in this comprehensive guide.
What is a hair transplant ?
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that allows the implantation of hair grafts on a bald area of the head. This is usually the area of the bald spot and the forehead.
To perform the graft, hair cells are often taken from the unaffected areas at the back of the head. They are then re-implanted into the bald areas. Depending on the technique used, this is a procedure that is not very painful for patients and is very effective over a long period of time.
How to get a hair transplant ?
The first thing to do is to consult a centre specialising in hair implants. Generally, at least two appointments are required prior to the operation. This is an opportunity for the patient to learn more about hair transplantation and for the specialist to make an accurate diagnosis.
At the end of the consultation, the specialist will prescribe products such as lotions and shampoos which have the ability to nourish and revitalise the hair cells. You will be given a date 15 days after the last consultation for the operation.
On the day of the operation, the patient’s head is shaved. Afterwards, the patient is put under local anaesthetic to prevent pain during the procedure. During the actual operation, the surgeon first removes the grafts from the back of the skull, for example, using precision instruments. He prepares hair follicles, each of which contains a maximum of 5 hairs.
After a selection, the surgeon re-implants the grafts on the bald areas, in the natural direction of hair growth. This second phase of the operation lasts between 3 and 9 hours depending on the size of the area to be re-implanted.
Who can benefit from hair transplantation ?
Although anyone can suffer from hair loss, regardless of factors such as gender and age, transplantation is not recommended or possible for all baldness victims. Only patients who meet the following conditions can benefit from a hair transplant:
- Very advanced stage of baldness;
- Good quality of the extracted follicular units;
- Abundance of hair located in the collection area;
- Age of majority required to ensure better hair density;
- Good physical and mental health.
Patients who do not have much hair, but have a full beard and a well-covered torso can benefit from the hair implant. Both areas will be harvested.
The different hair surgery techniques and their advantages
Among the techniques that are generally recommended for hair restoration on the head are FUE, FUT, and IFA.
Hair implant by FUE
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) is a technique that uses very small punches to extract follicular units. Its application requires more time, concentration and experience on the part of the surgeon. With FUE, the patient feels very little discomfort on the harvesting surface after the operation. In addition to this, the scars from the extraction are hardly noticeable.
Hair transplantation with FUT
With FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation), follicular units are harvested from a hair strip. Up to 2000 grafts can be extracted from one strip. This method is often used for advanced baldness and for patients with thin or long hair.
The application is faster (2 to 5 hours of operation) than FUE. The aesthetic result of FUT is also one of its assets. Indeed, the scars linked to this operation are hardly noticeable and are easily hidden under the hair.
Hair transplantation by the IFA
IFA is a newer technique that uses robots to extract the follicular units and re-implant them into the bare area. Your team may use a Safer, Neograft or Artas robot. This technique offers greater precision in harvesting and avoids graft loss.
What happens after a hair transplant ?
After the operation, scabs often form on the scalp in the implantation area. But rest assured, they only last for a couple of weeks. After this time, they will fall off by themselves. After a month, the hair on the grafts will fall out. New hair will appear from the second or third month.
To appreciate the result of the operation, it is therefore necessary to wait up to 4 months. However, the hair is not homogeneous at this stage. You must wait up to 12 months to obtain a complete and homogeneous regrowth. During this period, appointments with the surgeon will be scheduled for post-operative follow-up.
How much does a hair transplant cost and where can it be done ?
The price of hair surgery depends on several factors :
- The size of the bald area ;
- The desired hair density;
- The abundance of existing hair tissue;
- The type of hair;
- The grafting technique chosen.
Other factors common to any type of surgery such as breast augmentation can affect the price. These include the country chosen, the surgeon’s reputation and accommodation. In general, you should expect to pay between 2,500 and 15,000 euros for a hair restoration.
For the success of the operation, it is advisable to choose countries such as France and Turkey, which have a solid reputation in this field.
Tips to avoid graft loss
It is advisable to take time off work for the first two weeks after the operation. You should also avoid exposure to the sun and bending over for long periods with your head down. Swimming in the pool, exercising and using certain harsh shampoos should also be avoided.
In addition, you should seek advice from your specialist on which hair products to use. He or she will be able to analyse the risks to the development of your hair.