Hair Transplant as a surgical procedure restores natural hair to areas that have thinned out or have become bald. It is well-established scientifically that transplanted hair follicles from donor area will behave, survive and flourish, as they did in their original site. Simple explanation is that it involves taking hair from the donor area and transplanting it in the recipient area. The transplanted hair is permanent and will follow their natural course of growth. Hence, you will need haircuts!
Why do a Hair Transplant?
- Excessive thinning of hair over time
- Have experienced massive hair fall and patchy balding
- A noticeably receding hairline
- Hair loss from a burn or scalp injury
What Hair Transplant Can and Cannot Do
- Put hair in your bald spot
- Correct a receding hairline
- Induce hair growth
- Return your self confidence
- Enhance your physical appeal
- Also be used to restore patchy beard/moustache hair (facial hair transplant)
- Change colour of your hair
- Prevent age related changes in hair loss pattern
- Prevent thinning of hair or hair loss over time (natural ageing)
- Restore hair as effectively in people who have undergone chemotherapy
Hair loss and its causes:
Causes of hair loss are many: hormonal disorders, stress, nutritional deficiencies, bacterial infections and cancer.
The most common type of hair loss condition in men is Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), also known as Male Pattern Baldness (MBP). ‘Andro’ is a reference to male sex hormones or androgens, which besides other functions also regulate hair growth, and ‘genetic’ refers to the inherited gene required for the Male Pattern Baldness to occur. Hair loss in such men starts with a recede in hairline, eventually leaving short hair around the sides and back of the scalp. Ironically, the hormones do not have to be abnormally high for this to occur. Male pattern baldness is bound to occur if the gene for hair loss is present, even though the androgens are at the normal level. The gene can be inherited from either parent. In women also, the most common type of hair loss is Hereditary Female Androgenetic Alopecia.
Hair Transplant – What is it?
Hair Transplant as a surgical procedure restores natural hair to areas that have thinned out or have become bald. It is well-established scientifically that transplanted hair follicles from donor area will behave, survive and flourish, as they did in their original site, i.e., roots relocated from their original location to another area, will behave as they did in their original site. Simple explanation is that it involves taking hair from the donor area which is an area with ample amount of hair and transplanting it in the recipient balding area. The transplanted hair are permanent and grow naturally for your lifetime.
What is Donor Area?
Donor area is the area from where the hair are harvested and transferred to the balding recipient area. It is usually the back and sides of the scalp as the hair growth in these areas is abundant and not affected by the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair harvested from these areas is most unresponsive to androgens and is therefore permanent. A bald man will still have some hair at the back and sides of his head. These hair are permanent. A permanent zone has 6000-7000 grafts approximately on an average, where, a hair graft corresponds to the root of hair that are used for transplanting hair follicles. One hair graft averagely contains 1-4 hair shafts. In Indians, each graft has approximately 1.7 hair shafts. Hair Transplant works on the premise that hair harvested from these regions, which are most unresponsive to androgens, when transplanted, behave the same and will grow like natural hair. You will get a fresh crop of hair in the transplanted areas, which is permanent and will never fall.
Hair Transplant Techniques
All hair transplant techniques work on the premise of skilfully distributing hair from areas of abundance to areas of visible hair loss. The most commonly used techniques are:
- Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) also known as Strip Method
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
- Advanced FUE Method (DHT)
Follicular Unit Transplant or FUT
Follicular Unit Transplantation is a technique where a hair bearing strip is excised from the back of the scalp hair and is used to harvest grafts for transplantation. The patient is under local anaesthesia (Scalp block). The donor strip is meticulously dissected into individual follicular units under a video microscope. Then tiny slits are made in the scalp, where the follicular unit grafts are carefully placed. The donor area is then closed by a special plastic surgery suturing technique called Trichophytic Closure which leaves a negligible scar. As the incision heals, the follicles underlying the scar grow through it, thereby camouflaging the scar.
Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE
This technique involves harvesting individual hair follicles directly from the donor area. A prerequisite of FUE is complete trimming of the donor area. The skin around each follicular unit is superficially incised by a motorized punch and the follicular unit is then extracted directly from the scalp using a precision manoeuvre combining forcep traction and pressure on the surrounding area. Clever harvesting of hair from the donor area prevents the donor area from appearing bald.
The two procedures differ from each other in the following way: FUT involves removing a strip of hair and then dividing it into individual units while FUE involves removing each follicular unit individually. FUE also takes lesser time to heal than FUT, results in small puncture scars that are almost invisible with a recovery time of less than a week.
Another difference is that FUT method can get more grafts than the FUE technique. While the FUE technique allows for 2000-3000 graft extraction, the FUT method has scope for more than 3000 grafts in one go. A combination of the two techniques can capture 3500-4500 grafts spanning over one or two sessions.
Direct Hair Transfer or DHT method of transplant
Direct Hair Transfer (DHT) is a more advanced version of the FUE technique. Contrary to the traditional FUE technique, here, the follicular units are extracted individually from the donor area without the use of a motor but with the help of a manual extractor and implanted with a patented special device known as a “transplanter”, without creating holes in the recipient bed. The donor area can be the scalp, beard, chest or pubic region. Of prime importance is the placement of the follicles: the angle, depth and direction of grafts which decides the result. Also, out of body time for each graft decreases drastically. The manual punch causes less damage due to absence of vibration and heat of the motorized punch. This helps in greater density and more successful results as compared to FUE.