Hair transplantation is a micro surgery which consists of reimplanting hair on the bald areas of the skull. Several methods exist, it is a rather slow process but good results can be observed.
Hair transplantation consists of micro-surgery. This involves re-implanting hair into the scalp . This operation allows to find a natural and definitive hair . To do this, hair must be taken from an area of the head where it does not fall to relocate it to the bald area. This is a method that eliminates the risk of rejection since it is the patient's hair that is reimplanted. There are two sampling methods: FUT and FUE.
The first consists of a hair transplant with the strip technique. Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) is the reference method. It hides hair loss by reproducing the natural appearance and respecting the direction of hair growth.
The second is ideal for correcting a tonsure, for example. It allows to harvest the implants without shaving the scalp. A fairly discreet method that covers a bald area in a natural and dense way.
1. How is a hair transplant performed?
This graft is made from implants. To date, there are three main methods: the FUT technique, the FUE method or the DHI.
The FUT method requires local anesthesia. This operation consists in cutting at the back of the head a strip of skin which contains hair. Once the cut is made, the surgeon closes the part. On the strip of hair taken, the doctor will be able to take grafts which are called follicular unit. These can then be repositioned at a precise angle, on the bald part of the head, for a fairly natural result . The disadvantages of this technique lie in the need for anesthesia, but also in the fact that the collection method leaves a scar the size of the strip on the scalp.. This can measure a few millimeters in width and a few centimeters in length. However, hair regrowth can mask this scar, especially in people who wear long hair.
The FUE method (for Follicular Unit Extraction) does not cut strips of skin. It consists of extracting follicular units with a punch (manual or motorized) 0.7 to 1 mm in diameter, after shaving the entire donor area. This method does not leave a linear scar, but hundreds of punctiform scars invisible to the naked eye when the procedure is well performed. The disadvantages are the sampling time which is much longer and the need for a wider shave. This option is usually chosen for rather young men with shorter hair. The operation only requires local anesthesiaand allows a natural rendering. For this mini-graft, it takes four to six hours of intervention. The significant advantage of this method is that it leaves no scars.
Xavier-Arnold Mommers, maxillofacial surgeon, cosmetic surgery of the face, capillary micro-graft, completes: "FUT and FUE are above all harvesting techniques. FUT has the advantage of rapidly harvesting a large quantity of graft with limited shaving of the sampling area. On the other hand, this technique leaves a linear scar in the occipital region and the grafts can be of large size. This technique is preferred for women and elderly patients, because the ' Female alopecia is diffuse with thinning of the hairline, and shaving of the harvest area is reduced and may be hidden by unshaven hair around the harvest area.
An even more recent method is positioned on the hair transplant market, it is DHI. It is a transplant technique quite similar to the FUE method but "improved" . This technique was after a Korean surgeon (Doctor Choi). It is now the name of a chain of clinics that use this technique. For this, the practitioner removes the bulbs simultaneously using very fine sampling tools. It requires a very important precision. However, it promises a very natural and intense regrowth . It is a painless operation, without anesthesia and without hospitalization. It is a sought-after method that eliminates the disadvantages of other techniques.
Operation times vary depending on the method used. On average, it still takes six hours. The time will vary depending on the degree of baldness , the procedure used and the duration of local anesthetic action.
The risk of the grafts falling out is minimal. The patient can however observe "falls" which turn out to be a regeneration of the roots of the hair and their regrowth. In general, after the first five days, the graft is no longer in danger. Regrowth begins to occur normally after the third month. The process of regrowth of grafts ends after the twelfth month. However, to prevent them from falling, it is necessary to follow certain instructions such as:
The prohibition to touch the grafts in the five days following the operation;
Avoid sudden movements with the head;
Do not resume sport until one week after the operation;
Wait at least two weeks before going to the hairdresser;
Avoid sauna and hammam;
Do not expose yourself too much to the sun.
To choose the best method or technique, it is necessary to take into account the size of the baldness, the number of grafts necessary, the quality and the density of the donor area but also the styling habits of the patient. It is during an appointment between the surgeon and his patient that they decide on the best approach to adopt. This is a preoperative consultation.
2. Why perform a hair transplant?
Hair implants are a patient choice. This is by no means a vital need. However, this transplant is suitable for all people who suffer from androgenic baldness. This hereditary hair loss is due to enzymes that trigger the transformation of testosterone . The hair rhythms then follow one another at too rapid a rate and the hair no longer grows.
Generally, men are the most affected . Baldness first progresses on the forehead and temples before gradually spreading over the entire skull. The earlier it appears, the more severe it will be.
Women can also lose their hair, often after menopause . Indeed, the protective role of female hormones has disappeared. The hair is more fragile and its lifespan is reduced.
Hair transplantation can be practiced when hair loss becomes a real aesthetic complex that affects morale. It is best to first try treatments to slow down the process of hair loss or promote regrowth. But when these become ineffective, then hair transplantation remains for a definitive result. The hair transplant helps to accompany the fall but does not stop it.
Baldness is a natural phenomenon whose causes can be different. The cause may be of hereditary origin. In this case, baldness is transmitted from generation to generation. It can also be of hormonal origin which is induced by a drop in the level of testosterone . It can also be due to a dysfunction of the thyroid gland , for women of the ovaries or even a disorder of the pituitary or even the renal glands. Dietary habits would have a significant impact and could accelerate hair loss.
Finally, baldness can be accelerated or triggered by psychological phenomena. This can be a sleep cycle disorder, stress or even depression . Hair loss can also be a side effect of taking certain medications. Better to let your doctor know.
3. How long to recover from a hair transplant?
Hair transplantation is not a heavy operation and life can return to normal after the procedure. Thus, it is possible to resume social and professional activity the day after the operation. However, it is recommended to avoid major physical exertion . However, it is advisable to take five to seven days off after the procedure.
As for regrowth, it can take several months. One week after the operation, some side effects appear such as the appearance of small crusts in the implanted area . It is then necessary to take care that they fall the first week. It is also possible to observe swelling in the head which can be reduced by taking anti-inflammatories . At the level of the donor area, the patient may feel itching or even irritation.
Two weeks after the operation, color changes on the donor and recipient areas can be observed.
After two months, it's time for regrowth. It starts quite slowly. Between four and six months after the implant , the regrowth of new hair is much stronger. The growth is constant: the hair is thicker and longer . After a year, the new hair has matured. The hair regrowth time has reached its limits: the result is therefore final.