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Many men and women suffer from baldness these days and in order to conceal it, look for options available in the market. Though there are many temporary solutions, the most permanent solution is hair transplantation.
What is Hair Transplantation?
Hair transplantation is broadly achieved by removing grafts/follicles from the back of the head which are more resistant to hormonal changes and placing them in areas of scanty growth or baldness. There are two methods to remove the grafts – Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
In FUT method, a strip of scalp is cut out from the back of the head and is dissected into individual grafts.
FUE method of hair transplantation involves taking the individual follicular units/grafts from the back of the head one by one by cutting around it through a tiny specialised machine and removing them. The process is tedious and takes a few hours but is painless after a few numbing injections are given.
The rest of the procedure remains the same in both techniques. Tiny sites are created using very fine blades and needles in the balding areas after numbing them again with local anaesthetic injections. These grafts are then inserted in the sites on the front of the head or wherever there is hair loss.
Advantages of FUT method
- Larger areas of baldness can be covered in fewer sittings.
- The recovery time is much quicker with the patient often returning to work the next day itself.
- The resection rate (the grafts that get cut whilst removing) may be lesser providing superior results. However, the resection rate depends on the skill of the surgeon and his/her staff.
Advantages of FUE method
- As this method of hair transplantation does not involve taking an entire strip of scalp from the back of the head like in strip surgery, there are no cuts or stitches.
- There is no linear scar.
Both methods involve surgery hence a proper consultation with the surgeon is required who can explain the procedure and its advantages and disadvantages. It takes several hours to perform the surgery and implant hence it is important to block the day out completely and be mentally prepared for it. Most surgeons will want to shave the entire head before embarking on the procedure so make sure that you factor that in.
Post surgery care
It is important to follow post surgery instructions and take good care of the grafts. Swelling of the scalp, face is common for a few days. You will be on antibiotics, steroids, painkillers for a few days and will be asked to use Minoxidil and or Finasteride.
The grafts are wetted with saline repeatedly for a few days after the transplant. Hair is washed with a diluted shampoo the next day in a specific manner without disturbing the grafts. They will eventually fall out after two weeks and the new growth will be seen anywhere between three to six months. In FUT method, post-op wound care of the scar is important and the sutures are removed after a week.
Who should opt for FUT method?
- People who have larger areas of baldness.
- People who would like to get the procedure done in a single sitting.
Who should go in for FUE method?
- Suitable for people who have smaller areas of baldness.
- People who want to wear shorter hair styles.
- People with active lifestyles like sportsmen, etc.
- Women with smaller areas of baldness.
- People who prefer less invasive procedures and don’t want cuts, stitches on the scalp.
- Those who want faster recovery. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.