What is hair transplant?
Hair transplantation refers to the surgical movement of permanent hair with its roots to an area of bald or balding skin. Hair transplantation is an effective and permanent solution for hair loss. In almost all cases of so-called "male-pattern baldness", there is a permanent fringe of hair along the side and back of the scalp. This hair demonstrates "donor dominance". This means it will grow permanently even if it is moved to an area which is bald or balding.
In a hair transplant, hair is taken from donor sites and placed in the affected area. Hair is usually taken from the side and the back of the head, which is usually not affected by male-pattern baldness. The extracted hair is usually called a graft. Grafts include not only the hair follicles, but the surrounding tissue and skin. The hair is then placed into small slits created by the doctor in the balding areas of the scalp. Hair transplantation is done under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. Hair and follicles are removed from the "donor area" of permanent hair along the back and sides of the head. This area is immediately camouflaged by the surrounding hair.
The removed hair follicles are then divided into individual grafts of varying sizes. The smallest grafts contain 1-2 hairs and are often referred to as "follicular units" or "micrografts". Larger minigrafts may contain up to 6 hairs and can provide more density per graft. Choice of number and type of graft is made taking into account the patient's hair type, quality, color and the area to be transplanted. Once prepared the grafts (hair and its roots) are then inserted into the thin area.
Hair transplantation is an office procedure that takes approximately four to eight hours depending on the extent of the planned procedure. Most people return to work two to five days after the surgery. Most people require more than one session, each spaced at least six months apart each to complete the hair restoration in an area. The timing and number of transplants depends on the amount of hair you have when you start, how much is anticipated that you will continue to lose without transplanting and how much hair density you desire.
Types of hair transplants
Follicular Unit Extraction - Seems to be the best option for transplant surgery. It involves grafts of 1-4 hairs that are placed into receptor sites. It has fairly equal distribution of hairs, which looks more natural and no scarring on your scalp. It is usually performed with just a local anesthetic.
Mini & Micrografting - This hair transplant technique is more inexpensive option to follicular unit extraction and can be completed in fewer sessions than many other procedures. The cost is reduced because it uses larger grafts of up to 8 hairs, but it can leave a wound that takes longer to heal.
Strip Incison - It is an old hair transplant technique where small strips of hair are transplanted from one area to another. It has mostly been replaced with mini & micrografting, because it does not involve making an incison.
Laser Grafting - It means that the graft receptor sites are made with a laser. This method scars the scalp and most hair specialist do not find any advantages to this method.
Punch Grafts - It is a technique where grafts contain up to 20 hairs. This does not give a natural appearance to the hair and besides cost there are no real advantages to this hair transplant method.