The Hair Transplant Cost and Process Involved
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves moving individual hair follicles from one part of the body to another bald part of the body. Genetically, hair follicles are resistant to balding, which means that they can be transplanted to ignite hair growth on the bald area. Notably, hair transplant cost varies from state to state.
Causes of Hair loss
First, hair loss is also known as baldness and involves loss of hair either from the head or body. Baldness can mean general hair loss or specifically, male pattern baldness. This is a very common condition that affects most people at some point in their lives. Some types of baldness can be as a result of an autoimmune disorder. Some extreme forms of autoimmune disorder can lead to the loss of all head hair or even that of the body.
Other causes of baldness may include fungal infection, trauma, compulsive pulling and nutritional deficiencies like iron. Medical procedures such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also cause baldness. In general, poor nutrition, limited food intake and deficiency in intake of certain nutrients can cause thinning of the hair. Specifically, lack of biotin, zinc and protein is associated with thinning even though full baldness is not always visible.
Diets that contain high animal fats especially fast foods have a notable direct or indirect effect on baldness. Some medications such as those used to treat blood pressure problems, heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol are likely to cause permanent or temporary baldness. Actually, any medication that affects the body’s hormone balance like steroids and acne medications tend to have adverse effects on hair.
Another cause of baldness is trauma. Traumas such as childbirth, major surgery, poisoning and severe stress are known causes of baldness. Predetermined genetic factors, family history and the overall aging process may cause baldness as well. Many men and women are bound to notice a mild and often normal physiological thinning of hair starting in their thirties and forties.
This is a deliberate intervention to restore the hair and can range from prescription drugs to surgical treatment. Surgical hair restoration is the only permanent solution because it can move hair from one area of the body to the bald area. What happens is that natural groupings of one to four hairs called follicular units are extracted from the patient’s donor site and then moved to the area of balding called the recipient area.
Luckily, this process has evolved over the years. The original procedure involved using four millimeter grafts and they left clients with unnatural looking hairline but since it was the only choice available to combat baldness. Amazingly, clients accepted the results and doctors were not motivated to improve the procedure probably because there was consistent business.
Traditionally, this surgery has been used to treat male patterned baldness but has continued to gain popularity until it is now used to combat female patterned baldness and to restore hair in any part of the body. Apart from cosmetic uses, this surgery can be used for treatment of hair loss due to trauma or burns. One thing to note is that this surgery should only be performed by certified surgeons because of its complex nature and also due to the risks involved.
Another form of restoration is follicular unit transplantation, a common surgery technique. Follicular units are extracted from the back of the head since this is the part where hair tends to be more permanent, in a strip of skin called the donor strip. After the strip has been removed, the donor area is stitched back up or sutured depending with the surgeon’s opinion but done in a way that minimizes scarring.
To minimize scarring, removing adequate width of strip is necessary. If this is done properly, the remaining scar, also known as a line scar, is only visible with short-cropped hair or a clean shaved head. After the donor strip is removed, it is dissected into distinct follicular units. These units are then moved to the recipient region in the patient’s balding area to become potential hair-growing follicles.
The other procedure used in the case of reinstating the hair is follicular unit extraction. Using a special surgical punch or any other device as per the surgeon’s preference, these units are removed from the back of the head. Then a one millimeter punch is used to make a little circular incision in the skin around the upper part of the follicular unit, which is then extracted directly from the scalp. When it is removed, the donor’s follicles are transplanted into the recipient area where they start growing.
This process involves the use of both the manual and automated methods. Amazingly, the process is painless and therefore no need for anesthesia of any kind. After nine months to one year, the patient can be assured of full hair growth. It is however advisable to consider making enquiries and asking around before deciding on which surgeon to choose. Try to find out if the grafts are microscopically dissected.
Before you undergo this procedure, it is important to find out if all the technicians who will be involved in your case use stereo-microscopes or not. If the answer is yes, for how long they have been using microscopes to dissect follicular units. Ask if the doctor will be using a single bladed knife to excise the donor strip. This information will assist you in knowing how safe you will be during the operation. The surgeon should also be in a position to undertake tests on you, of course after examination, and he or she should advice you on the best procedure to go for.
Some of the considerations that must come into play should include your age, your skin condition, family history of hair loss and your ethnic background. This is because age is a factor when certain surgical procedures are involved since recovery depends with the age of the patient and also there are some side effects that a certain age cannot be able to handle. Make sure you have understood the possible complications that may result from the surgery because some outcomes are not reversible and may mean permanent constant care. Lastly, you should be comfortable with the surgical facilities to ensure the process is as less stressful as possible. Remember, stress may have adverse effects on how fast you recover.
Naturally, as human beings are growing, the hair tends to go through a number of changes. It may turn gray, thin or even fall out. In order to treat and disguise cases of thinning hair, an individual can use hair plugs. Basically, this is a hair transplant, a surgical procedure that entails moving healthy hairs from a thicker patch of hair on your scalp to the area that is experiencing balding.
Multiple or repeated hair transplant sessions may be required depending on the severity of the baldness, thickness and the color of the hair. One of the most common forms of transplants is the micro-graft where only one or two hairs are transplanted at a time. During one session, up to seven hundred hairs can be transplanted to the balding area.
Mini-graft is another method where two to four hairs are transplanted at a time. The third form of transplant is the slit graft which requires the doctor to create an incision into the scalp. The surgeon then creates a graft which is in turn placed into the slit. Normally, four to ten hairs are transplanted with these grafts. Then there is the punch graft which is round in shape and generally contains ten to fifteen hairs. Lastly, there are the strip grafts which are long and thin rectangular in nature. Typically, thirty to forty hairs can be transplanted using this method.
Before undergoing this surgery, the doctor will need to conduct some tests. It is during this consultation that the doctor shows the patient the images of what he or she would look like with a hair transplant. If the patient does not have enough hair, the doctor may not recommend a transplant procedure. However, if the patient is fit for the surgery, he or she will required to refrain from drinking, smoking and avoid certain medications that the doctor may recommend. The patient will also be required to arrange for a ride home because after the procedure, he or she may not be safe to drive due to the medication used in the process.
During the procedure, the hair on the donor site will be trimmed short to make it easier for the doctor to extract the grafts. The scalp will also be cleaned and the donor site will be numbed in so that the patient cannot feel pain during the procedure. The doctor will then use a scalpel to remove a small graft of hair from the donor site. If the doctor is doing a punch graft, he or she may use a carbon steel instrument to punch out a round shaped graft from the donor site.
Small amounts of saline may be injected into the graft to keep it from losing strength. After the graft is removed, the donor site is then closed with a few stitches and the doctor then separates the graft into smaller sections. Small holes are then made in the balding area and the hairs are finally inserted into those holes. Once the procedure is completed, the doctor cleans the scalp and covers it with gauze. A pressure bandage may be placed on the scalp and should be worn for a few days.
The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics and pain medication to help the patient recover faster. Most importantly, strenuous activities should be avoided for at least ten days after the surgery. Some of the potential risks that a patient is likely to face in this procedure include infection, excessive bleeding and wide scars. In some cases, the graft may not take or the plug may die. In other cases, when the transplanted hair falls out, the balding may progress sometimes at even a higher rate.
Such occurrences would mean that the patient goes for another surgery. However, these are isolated cases that do not always occur therefore there is no need for premature panic. All the same, the doctor, having gone through your medical examination results will be in a position to take you through what your body can and cannot handle.
Advantages of Hair Replacement
One of the greatest benefits of hair replacement is that it gives you a pleasant appearance as opposed to a bald look. Most importantly, this procedure lets you become your own donor so you do not have to go looking for people to offer you their hair or use artificial hair. The process is also simple and the desired results can be achieved from a single procedure. The process is also cost effective because consultation is often done free of charge.
The operation ensures that the implanted or grafted hair continues its growth naturally and therefore other forms of maintenance treatment are not necessary. One of the scientific advantages of hair transplantation relates to its uniformity of distribution. The technique is undertaken with optimization in such a way that your entire follicular distribution remains uninterrupted.
Disadvantages of Hair Replacement
One of the bodily shortcomings is that a sizeable proportion of the dermis must be extracted for the purpose of implantation. The scalp provides protection to the follicle from trauma. This makes the follicle more vulnerable in cases where a sizeable portion is removed. Cases where thick packing is involved can lead to scarring and injuries. In addition, injuries and exposure to certain drugs, the implanted graft may die resulting in wastage of both money and time. Some cases may need dense packing thus calling for more sessions which means extra costs.
The above surgical procedures aim to improve physical appearance. However, it is important to note that they are really sensitive in nature and this is why it is important to deal with qualified professionals only.