Hair transplant surgery is carried out to fill the bald scalp with hair. This is basically done by grafting hair follicles from normal hair growing area to the bald area. Hair loss is a common issue that affect both men and women but mostly men. Many men start losing hair right from their late twenties. Baldness is becoming a serious concern for many. Hence, hair transplant surgery is an option that can be used to restore hair. Excessive hair loss leading to baldness can cause insecurity, low self-esteem and depression. Baldness occurs when about 50% of the hairs on the head are lost. If the thinning and hair loss is not very significant, then grafting is not required. The process of hair loss also causes the other hair strands to thin down. The transplant procedure can be performed in two different ways. One method is micro-grafts and the other is slit grafts. In micro-graft method per graft contains 1 or 2 and in slit graft, each graft contains 4 – 10 hair follicles along with strands of hair. The number of follicles required will depend upon the area of scalp to be covered with grafts. Sometimes, hair transplantation may be needed to restore the hair of eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic hair and chest hair and bear hair also. Such options may be undertaken in order to hide any scar left out in the skin due to some accident or any other surgery.
Hair restoration with hair graft has been increasingly in demand amongst both men and women who have experienced baldness. The main aim of grafting hair is to restore hair on the scalp by redistributing them and not simply addition of hair. The hair grafting procedure has a very high rate of success and least cases of complications. The surgical preparation required for the process is very minimal and hence are readily accepted by most patients. Slit grafting, also known has strip harvesting method is the most common technique of grafting hair follicles. For this a donor site is selected from the head where hair growth is normal. With the help of a fine scalpel (single, double or triple bladed) strips of tissue with intact hair follicles and strands are removed from the area on the scalp that has not lost hair. This cut out strip contains about 10 strands of hair. The excised portion of the scalp is then sewed closely. The strip is then individually split into single follicle bearing tissue to replace them on the bald scalp with the help of needle. The recipient site is punctured with the help of needles to allow the grafts to be placed in them. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is another method also known as micro grafting in which the micro grafts with 1 to 4 hair with intact follicles are placed on the scalp using small punches. The FUE procedure gives more natural results.
People eligible for hair transplant surgery can be women whose hair has been thinning down, men acquiring pattern baldness or anybody who has suffered hair loss due to any scalp injury or burn.
People who will not be eligible for the treatment are people who do not even have enough hair on the donor sites to be cut out for grafting or for those who have suffered hair loss due to chemotherapy or any other medication or women who suffer from hair loss from all over the scalp and people who might have got a thick very significant scar due to any injury.
The possible side effects of a hair transplant surgery can be infection, bleeding, bruising of the skin around the eyes, swelling of the scalp, numbness, itching, formation of a thick crust on the areas where grafting has been done, folliculitis which is infection and inflammation of the hair follicles, unnatural looking hair and shock loss which means sudden temporary loss of the hair that has been transplanted.
After the transplant has been done, the patient comes for the first hair wash a day after the procedure. The next wash is done on the 3 days after the procedure by the patient himself. If mild discomfort is felt by the patient it can be resolved by ibuprofen. To avoid edema on the transplanted site, postoperative compression is given. The patient is recommended to strictly avoid any stressful activity for at least 2 days after the treatment. Mild exercises can be allowed from day 3 or 4. Only swimming I restricted for the first 7 days after the treatment is done.
For the whole scalp to recover from hair loss, the time taken will depend upon the extent of hair loss. But a single graft procedure takes at least 5 months to heal completely and have naturally growing hair. Once the first graft has healed completely, only then the next grafting procedure is performed.
The price of hair transplant surgery in India ranges from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 80,000.
Yes, the results of the treatment are permanent.
Alternative approaches that can be performed instead of hair transplant surgery are using medicated solutions on the scalp to promote hair growth, wearing wigs, using hair loss concealer powders and laser therapy.