Hair Transplant

Male Pattern baldness causes

Last Updated October 30th, 2023

What is a hair transplant? 

A hair transplant is a cosmetic surgery that treats hair loss or baldness. The procedure involves moving hair from one part of your head to an area with no hair or thin hair.

The extracted hair follicles continue to grow in the new area where they have been transplanted. This restores your natural hairline and enhances your overall hair density.

 

A plastic surgeon or dermatologist will administer this procedure. Most healthcare insurance will not cover a hair transplant. Therefore, you would have to pay out of pocket.

How does a hair transplant work? 

During a hair transplant, the plastic surgeon takes grafts from the donor site, usually the back of your scalp because it has thick hair. 

Why do you need a hair transplant?

If you have permanent baldness, you are a good candidate for a hair transplant. This is a genetic condition that runs in families.

Hair implants are suitable for permanent hair loss. Some factors that can lead to permanent hair loss include:

  • Pattern baldness (Androgenic alopecia)
  • Burns or traumatic injuries
  • Alopecia areata – This is an autoimmune condition that leads to patchy hair loss

Before a hair transplant, your plastic surgeon will ensure that:

  • You are in perfect health
  • There are sections on your scalp that support thick hair growth
  • Your expectations about the hair transplant are realistic

If you have the following condition, it may not be a good idea to have a hair transplant:

  • Women who present with pronounced hair loss on the entire scalp
  • In case your “donor” hair sites have insufficient hair to permit grafting
  • Individuals who have suffered thick and fibrous scars because of surgery or an injury
  • Individuals who are on chemotherapy and other medications that cause hair loss

Types of hair transplant 

male pattern baldnessA hair transplant falls under one of two main procedures:

 

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) 

The unit stripe is further divided into smaller pieces of about 1 to 4 hair grafts. The surgeon makes tiny cuts in the scalp where they intend to do the grafting and thereafter place the grafts in place. The surgeon closes the ‘donor’ site with stitches.

 

Follicular Unit Excision (FUE)

This is a minimally invasive procedure where the plastic surgeon shaves the back of your head, removes individual grafts (hairs), and implants them into tiny cuts in the part of your scalp that has little or no hair.

Preparing for a hair transplant

Before a hair transplant, you may need to do the following things:

  • If you are a smoker, quit smoking for a few days before the procedure
  • Avoid alcohol for at least 3 days before a hair transplant
  • If you are on blood thinners, your surgeon may ask you to stop taking them for at least 2 weeks before the hair transplant
  • In case you are on dietary supplements, let your doctor know about it. You may be required to stop taking them for about 2 weeks before the procedure
  • Avoid having a haircut before the hair transplant
  • Your surgeon may encourage you to do a scalp massage for about 30 minutes each day for several weeks before the procedure
  • The goal of a scalp massage is to promote the flow of blood to your scalp
  • Your surgeon may ask you to take Rogaine or other medication that treats hair loss
  • Your plastic surgeon will order blood tests and an electrocardiogram (ECG) before plastic surgery
  • These tests are important in assessing your overall health and readiness for the procedure

During the procedure

There are several ways of performing a hair transplant surgery. The main steps involved in hair transplant surgery include:

Grafting

Male Pattern baldness causesThe plastic surgeon will cut a tiny strip of your scalp usually at the back head. Your healthcare provider may also remove the skin with 10 to 15 hairs using a small punch.

If the graft contains one or two hairs, it is called a micro-graft.

Hair grafting may take a few hours depending on the size of the section being grafted. The procedure is administered under local anesthesia, meaning you are awake during the surgery but you do not feel pain.

You might require a few more procedures and this is usually determined by the amount of hair that your surgeon requires moving.

You will take a break of a few months between each procedure to give your scalp time to heal.

Scalp reduction

A scalp reduction surgery entails removing a small part of the skin on your scalp that has no hair on it.

The surgeon will loosen the adjacent skin that has hair and then pull it over the bald region. Once this is done, the surgeon will stitch the area.

The procedure is recommended for bald sections of your scalp especially those at the back or top of your head.

Your plastic surgeon may decide to combine hair implants and scalp reduction to attain full coverage.

Scalp reduction is also administered under local anesthesia to numb the scalp.

Flap surgery

This procedure is ideal for individuals with large bald sections on the scalp. The procedure is administered in phases and may stretch several weeks.

The plastic surgeon identifies the donor site and makes superficial cuts on three sides.

There is no cut on the fourth site because the surgeon would wish to preserve the original blood supply.

Flap surgery allows the surgeon to cut the flap and overlay it over the bald region of your scalp.

Flap surgery is done under general anesthesia, meaning you will not be awake when the procedure is being admonished.

Tissue expansion

Tissue expansion surgery is recommended for people who have suffered scalp disfigurement or baldness occasioned by burns.

The procedure takes place under general anesthesia and encompasses the following steps:

  • Your reconstructive surgeon starts by inserting a tissue expander in the scalp region with hair
  • The tissue expander remains in place for a few weeks. The reconstructive surgeon will progressively inflate the ball-shaped tissue expounder that stretches the skin
  • The surgeon uses the stretched skin to cover the bald section of your scalp

Recovery

You should be able to resume your daily activities, including work, in about three days following a hair transplant.

The grafts are still not secure and therefore, you will be advised to exercise caution for at least two weeks after the procedure.

Your surgeon may recommend you reduce physical activities for at least four weeks after surgery. The goal is to minimize scarring.

Your surgeon will remove bandages after about five days following surgery. However, avoid touching the grafts.

People’s experiences after a hair transplant differs based on the extent of the procedure.

Expect the following a hair transplant:

  • Numbness
  • The scalp may feel tight around it
  • Swelling and bruising
  • The treated section of your scalp may develop small scabs

Benefits of a hair transplant

A hair transplant comes with the following benefits:

  • Fewer bald areas of your scalp
  • Your self-esteem is likely to increase after a hair transplant
  • It is a good solution to permanent hair loss

Risks/complications

You are likely to present with the following side effects after a hair transplant:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising, especially around your eyes
  • Scalp swollen scalp
  • Itching
  • Folliculitis – This is an infection or inflammation of hair follicles
  • A sudden loss of transplanted hair

Your plastic surgeon will arrange several follow-up visits post-surgery to assess how the scalp is healing.

In case you notice any of the following signs, call your healthcare provider immediately:

  • If the scalp is painful or has a severe redness to it
  • A fever that is not subsiding
  • If the scalp is bleeding excessively
  • Yellow or green pus that oozes from the incision site on your scalp: It could be a sign of an infection

Cost of hair transplant in India

A hair transplant procedure in India ranges between $600 and $1200.

The difference in cost is determined by various factors:

The extent of hair loss

In case of a high level of baldness, it means more grafts are needed for the procedure. Therefore, a higher degree of baldness means a costlier hair transplant.

Number of sessions

A complete hair transplant involves several sessions performed over several months. The more the number of sessions, the more expensive the overall cost of a hair transplant.

Technique of hair transplant

A FUE technique is minimally invasive, meaning you will recover more quickly. It is also more expensive since the surgeon uses the latest tools and technologies.

A FUT procedure is more invasive, meaning you take longer to recover, but the cost is less than that of a FUE.

The city where hair transplant takes place

Clinics that offer hair transplant surgery in metro cities across India charge more than other facilities in remote parts of the country.

If you are undergoing a hair transplant in Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai, you will end up paying more than in smaller cities like Pune. This is because of the higher operational costs in the metro cities.

Availability of the donor graft

Your plastic surgeon will first be interested in the hair follicles at the back of your scalp as a graft donor.

If there is no sufficient hair, the surgeon will focus on the beard. It will cost more to administer a hair transplant where graft donor availability is a problem.

Other factors that affect the overall cost of hair transplants in India are:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Admission fee
  • Hair characteristics and texture
  • Patient’s overall health
  • Whether the hair transplant involved any complications

 

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