Hair Transplant Starter Pack

Hair transplant surgery starter pack

There is a lot of information about hair transplants available online and it might seem like a daunting task to begin researching the procedure. To make it easier, we’re giving you answers to the seven most-asked questions about hair transplant surgery.

1. Who donates the hair?

The hair that is transplanted has to come from somewhere on your own body. This is because our immune system fights against any foreign cells.

Consequently, taking hair from another person would require that the patient take immunosuppressive medication. The medication is very strong and is prescribed only to those patients that need life-saving organ donations rather than cosmetic surgery

2. What part of the body can the hair be harvested from? 

A surgeon can gather hairs from the scalp or different parts of the body, such as the chest or neck areas.

The scalp is the preferred donor area in general because it is more often in the anagen phase. The anagen phase is the growth phase of hairs. Consequently, hairs from other parts of the body are less likely to grow in the new recipient area. 

If someone is running out of the donor supply in the scalp, surgeons consider other options. For men, this is commonly the neck or chest. An issue with these areas is that scars there do not heal as well. The neck heals better while the chest can have more obvious scars because of the poorer blood supply. 

3. What are my hair harvesting options?

There are three hair harvesting methods: plugs, and the FUE and FUT techniques.

Plugs are four-milliliter punches that are taken from the back of the scalp and transplanted to the front. This technique was popular in the past but is not as common today. 

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) consists of taking a strip from the back of the scalp and dissecting it under a microscope into small grafts that are transplanted one by one. An FUT procedure leads to more natural results in the recipient area than transplanting larger punches of hair.

Around 2010, many surgeons switched to follicular unit extraction (FUE). During this extraction, follicles are taken one by one and are then transferred to the desired area. FUE punches are about a quarter of the size of plug punches.

4. Will I continue to lose hair after the surgery?

Unfortunately, hair loss can continue after surgery. Hair transplant surgery is a cosmetic procedure done to give the patient more evenly dispersed hair. It can help get rid of bald spots and receding hair lines for example, but it does not treat the root cause of the hair loss itself.

If the reason behind the hair loss is not treated with medical therapies, it can continue. Hair loss can occur after surgery because of shock loss as well.

5. Does surgery mean I don’t have to use any other pills or creams?

As we mentioned above, surgery does not mean avoiding other treatment modalities.

In many cases, hair restoration therapies are often done before surgery to strengthen and enlarge the number of donor grafts and so improve the overall results. They can also be done in hopes of lowering the chance of losing newly transplanted hair due to shock loss. 

Medical therapies can be continued after surgery, depending on a specialist's advice, to improve results and prevent future thinning.

6. Does hair transplant surgery have age requirements?

Either the patient or, if they are a minor, their guardian needs to legally give consent for the surgery to be done. When consent is given, the surgeon can proceed with the hair transplant. There is no specific age maximum.

Hair transplant surgeons need to make sure that patients have a good donor supply, are in good health, and can handle the type of procedure. When these criteria are not met, the specialist might advise the patient against moving forward with the surgery.

7. Will I have scars?

Of course, surgeons will attempt to minimize the scarring, but they cannot avoid it.
As we’ve mentioned before, plugs are not commonly done today and when it comes to the more modern techniques, FUE is favored due to less scarring. 
FUT typically leaves a long scar on the back of the head. Because of this, many patients avoid having their hair harvested in this way. Still, keep in mind that the FUE technique does leave scars as well, just smaller, circular ones.
These ideally small and circular scars can appear larger if the punch size is too big and if the grafts are extracted too close to one another. These factors can lead to the scars merging into one larger scar. 

Hopefully, we’ve helped inform you about some most commonly asked questions about hair transplant surgery. As always, make sure to do your research and consult with a trusted specialist before committing to any treatment.

Q&A with Dr. Linkov

Q: Does hair loss ever stabilize? I'm 55. I noticed some recession and loss in my crown  during my 30s, but it hasn't noticeably changed since about 40 and remained a Norwood 3 ever since. Photos all look the same. I don't take any medication. If I got an HT to fix what I've lost, would I need to take meds?
A: Hair loss (androgenic alopecia) typically accelerates in one’s mid-late 20s to early 30s, and then tends to slow down. With stability of your hair for 15 years, there is a strong chance that your pattern is fairly set, which means that medical therapy is less relevant. There is no guarantee that your existing hair wouldn’t continue to thin over time, but even if it does it would likely be at a fairly slow rate. In situations like yours, medical therapy becomes a lot less important than in younger patients.

The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.

Written by Aleksandra Božović | Edited by Dr. Gary Linkov
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