Hair loss can significantly impact one’s quality of life. For many, it is a profoundly embarrassing prospect. Fortunately, there is a solution; hair replacement surgery. But what does this procedure entail? From why doctors use medipore tape in the healing process before the procedure, we have created this list of things to expect if you plan to undergo hair replacement surgery.
Should I Get Hair Replacement Surgery?
Although many see success from this procedure, it’s not for everyone as there are many different causes of hair loss. A hair transplant is ideal for men suffering from male pattern baldness and women with thinning hair. You must have enough ‘donor hair’ on your head that sources the transplant. You generally cannot use hair from a secondary donor.
On the other hand, hair replacement surgery is not ideal for women who suffer widespread pattern hair loss. The same goes for anyone who forms keloid scars after surgery. It is not an option for those who suffer chemically induced hair loss, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.
What Happens During The Procedure?
Your scalp is thoroughly cleaned before the procedure begins. You will then receive local anesthesia on an area of your scalp. From here, there are two main techniques used to obtain the ‘donor follicles.’ First, we will look at follicular unit transplantation or FUT: The surgeon will use a scalpel to remove the skin from the back of the head. The incision, while shallow, is usually a few inches long and stitched up straight after. This step removes scalp tissue that is then separated into smaller sections under a magnifying lens and then implanted on your scalp. The result is a natural-looking hairline.
The alternative procedure is called follicular unit extraction or FUE. This process goes as follows: Hair follicles are cut directly from the donor area through hundreds or even thousands of micro-puncture incisions. The doctor will make tiny holes in your scalp with a blade or needle. The extracted follicles are carefully placed in these holes.
FUE generally entails several sittings, and the surgeon will place hundreds of follicles each time. After the hair graft, as the procedure is also known, the doctor will cover the area in medipore tape and gauze. Regardless of which hair replacement procedure you opt for, it would be best if you prepared by using hair loss shampoo.
What Happens After?
Expect your scalp to be sensitive. You may even need to take pain medications in the days immediately following your operation. You will also have to take antibiotics to reduce the chances of infection.
Most people who undergo this treatment can return to work after a couple of days, but it is crucial to remember that you will need to take at least two days off each time to recover from the worst of it. The biggest surprise you may find, at least if your surgeon somehow doesn’t warn you, is that you will lose most of the transplanted hair within a couple of weeks. It is all going to fall out.
This may sound alarming, but it is all part of the process. The hair falls out, but the follicles remain. Hair growth starts at around ten months, with the best results coming in after a year to eighteen months.