It is very important that patients understand a few very basic facts about hair transplantation so that expectations about treatment remain realistic.
Hair transplantation is the artistic redistribution of dominant hair follicles , from the back of the head into the balding areas of the scalp, resulting in a very natural appearance. Simply put, we take a donor strip of hair from where you have more than you need and put it where you need it more.
A hair transplant can be done in the early stages of hair loss, when the hair is just beginning to thin, or in the later stages when baldness is more obvious. It is important that the hair loss pattern is established before surgery is undertaken. Therefore, young men under 25 are often, in the first instance, offered medical treatment to which they usually respond very well.
Hair transplantation is the most effective, long-term solution to male pattern baldness.There have also been excellent results in the treatment of genetic hair loss in some women, as well as in scars resulting from facial surgery, burns, accidents, or as a result of various hair loss diseases.
Scalp reduction is a procedure which is performed under local anaesthetic in which a large bald area of skin is removed. This leaves a scar on the scalp which must later be camouflaged by grafting directly into the scar.
Scalp flap surgery is a procedure in which an entire segment of hair-bearing scalp is transferred into a bald area. This is a relatively uncommon surgery and it is only performed by a few surgeons.
The risks include improper hair direction at the hairline, as well as the more serious risk of partial or complete loss of survival of the flap and the hair within it. This type of surgery is not carried out in our clinic.
Even in the most extreme balding patterns, a permanent area of hair exists on the sides and back of the head. This hair is unaffected by the balding process. In Follicular Unit Transplantation, a thin strip of skin containing this permanent hair is removed from the back of the head (because the skin of the scalp is flexible, the scalp can be stitched together again after the strip is removed leaving little trace that anything was done). The hair follicles are then carefully removed from that piece of skin and placed in very small surgical sites made in the thinning or balding areas of the scalp.
Once transplanted, this hair behaves as it was programmed to behave in the original area it came from and will grow naturally for the rest of your life.
A hair transplant should be considered when your degree of hair loss is considered, by you, to be unacceptable. Not when you are only worried about future loss or “so no one will notice.” Starting early will often require multiple sessions. Young men under the age of 25 years may not be suitable candidates as their hair loss pattern may not yet be established.
When you have your consultation with one of our consultant surgeons, they will suggest how many grafts may be needed for your procedure. This number will be based on your present balding pattern, what it may become in the future and how much donor hair is available. When an individual has high donor density, the follicular units usually contain multiple hairs, and when an individual has low donor density the follicular units often contain only one hair. If an individual has a very loose scalp, a larger donor strip can be removed, whereas an individual with a tight scalp will have a long narrower donor strip.
Laser hair transplantation has been used with some success. To date, results with lasers have been shown to be inferior to those obtained with traditional non-laser hair transplant surgery. For this reason, they are not in common use. The surgeons at HRBR do not consider it prudent to use lasers for hair transplantation at this time.
Even though they are considered the gold standard, as they can give 20% more yield from the donor strip, stereomicroscopes are only used by a minority of transplant clinics in the world. This is because they are expensive and require more skill and manpower. All of our grafts are produced using stereomicroscopes. We use the very latest technology from Nikon® in the form of Diascopic Microscopes which allows white hairs to be seen during dissection.
This depends on the size of the bald area as well as on the donor area. When there is extensive baldness, a procedure called a scalp reduction may be useful in order to decrease the size of the bald area. Subsequently, grafting is done as described above.
The short answer is no. All hair transplantation procedures move hair around to make you look better, but none creates more hair. However, if performed properly and on the right person, it can bring about a very significant improvement in your appearance.
Most men with significant thinning or baldness and in good general health are candidates for hair transplantation. In order to determine your suitability a private consultation with one of our consultant surgeons can be arranged.
During your consultation, the surgeon will assess your donor density and scalp laxity. He will also determine your balding pattern and take your individual hair characteristics, such as colour and wave, into consideration to develop a plan for a successful hair restoration procedure.
In the case of female patients, if the cause of your hair loss is unknown, we recommend investigation by a Consultant Dermatologist.
Once Androgenetic Alopecia has been diagnosed, and hair transplant surgery recommended, no further tests are necessary in the vast majority of cases. However we perform a pre-operative ECG for all surgery patients which exceeds standards of best practice.