|Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that involves moving individual hair follicles from one part of the body (the donor site) to bald or balding parts (the recipient site). It is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. It this case, grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding are transplanted to bald scalp. Likewise, it is also used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest hair, and pubic hair and to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery such as face-lifts and previous hair transplants. Hair transplantation differs from skin grafting in that grafts contain almost all of the epidermis and dermis surrounding the hair follicle, and many tiny grafts are transplanted rather than a single strip of skin.|
Since hair naturally grows in follicles that contain groupings of 1 to 4 hairs, today’s most advanced techniques transplant this naturally occurring 1–4 hair “follicular units” in their natural groupings. Thus modern hair transplantation can achieve a natural appearance by mimicking nature hair for hair. Donor hair can be harvested in two very different ways;
1. Strip Harvesting or FUT – a strip of scalp is removed under local anesthesia, the wound is then sutured back together and this piece of scalp tissue is then cut in to small pieces of tissue called grafts which are then transplanted back in to the thinning area of the patient’s head. This method will leave a linear scar in the donor area, which should be covered by a patient’s hair (if long). The recovery period is around 2 weeks and will require the stitches to be removed by medical personnel.
2. Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE Harvesting Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE Harvesting – 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 individual follicles are removed, only small, punctate scars remain and any post-surgical pain is minimized. As no suture removal is required, recovery from FUE is within 7 days. Follicular unit extraction, which is also known as FUE or FIT is a new method of performing follicular unit hair transplantation. It differs from widely known follicular unit hair transplant procedure, when a strip of donor tissue is removed and dissected under magnification. The FUE/FIT procedure uses a small diameter extraction tool (punch) to extract each follicular unit one by one.
With the Follicular Units Extraction (FUE or FIT) procedure individual hair follicular units grafts are extracted one by one using a tiny tool (punch). Often times the surgeon requires the patient to buzz cut a portion of their donor area so that they are able to see the patient’s scalp.
The most important difference between Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and the Strip Method is the technique used for extracting the follicular units. The main advantage of this technique is that follicular units are extracted directly from the scalp rather than in larger groups, which obviates the utilization of scalpel and stitching.
Is it a safe procedure?
Side Effects of Hair Transplantation
There are some minor, often temporary side effects which can be directly associated with a hair transplant, which include the following:
• Bleeding: some bleeding is completely normal and will cease with the application of light pressure. Persistent bleeding is rare, occurring in about one of one-hundred cases, the use of additional stitches may be required
• Pain: pain is minimal and lasts for a few days; most patients only require acetaminophen for moderate pain relief.
• Numbness: some transient numbness has been reported and is an inevitable side effect which can last for 3-12 weeks post-operative.
• Hiccups: can occur after surgery and the exact cause is not known. Hiccups seem to be more frequent after a hair transplant than with a scalp reduction. The condition is not serious and can be treated with medication from a physician.
• Itching: some itching during healing is normal and can usually be alleviated with daily shampooing.
• Swelling: swelling occurs in nearly all patients. Usually the swelling occurs around the eyes and forehead, lasting for period of 3-5 days, being most prevalent on the fourth day. The swelling is not harmful and will generally subside within a period of 7-days.
• Infection: occurs in one in a thousand cases and is easily cured by using antibiotics.
• Scarring: keloid scarring occurs only in those people who have a predisposition. Some of the scarring is a result of hypertrophy to the point of “ridging.”
• Cysts: one or more cysts can occur in the donor area when the grafts are inserted. The cysts usually disappear and require no medical treatment.
• Neuralgia: if one of the nerves in the facial area is damaged during surgery, the result can be numbness, tingling or a “pins and needles” sensation. Rarely have patients had the condition last more than 1-4 weeks, prolonged or severe cases are extremely rare and usually completely disappear within a period of months.
Some people may wonder if a hair transplant will yield results and be an effective solution for baldness. The transplanted hair is taken from one part of the body and transferred to another part. The transplanted hair has its own characteristics, color, growth pattern, curl and re-growth and the vitality is provided by the rich blood supply from the scalp. Results differ from person to person, but generally a hair transplants works as a solution to combat baldness in certain patients.