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As we age, some people suffer from hair loss or a receding hairline. One of the ways to treat this is to get a hair transplant. The hair on our head generally grows in follicular units. Per unit usually consists of anywhere between one to four individual hair follicles.
A hair transplant is a procedure where a doctor takes follicular units from another part of your body (commonly, from other parts of the scalp that hasn’t suffered from hair loss) and transplants it to the parts of the head where you are experiencing baldness.
The doctor will first clean your scalp and will give you an injection to numb the back of your head where the hair follicles will be taken from. There are two distinctly different procedures that your doctor can choose from:
The back of your scalp will have to be shaved. The doctor will then individually remove hair follicles from that area. This will cause little dots of blood to emerge from those roots. The surrounding hair generally covers this. The doctor then numbs the area where the hair will go and uses either a scalpel or a needle to make tiny holes where these hair grafts are neatly placed.
The doctor removes a significant strip of skin from your head (usually around 5-10 inches). He then sews the affected area on the scalp shut. He then takes the strip of skin and divides It into a large number (500 to 2,000) tiny grafts. Then, similar to FUE, he numbs the area where the hair will go and makes tiny incisions with a scalpel and a needle and places the hair grafts neatly into them.
Dr Samuel Ho only uses the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique for hair transplantation as it provides a very aesthetically pleasing donor site as compared to strip grafting. It minimises the transaction rate of the hair shafts cutting through the roots which result in the hair not surviving. FUE allows for very fine control as only micrografts of 1-3 shafts are transplanted each time – allowing for more precise and natural placement of the hair grafts.
The downside of this technique is that it is far more laborious and time-consuming. Thus, Dr Ho tends to perform this with a big team of hair nurses and technicians to speed up the entire process. Patients will be under mild sedation in our day surgery so that the procedure, which can take several hours, is as comfortable for the patient as possible.
In order to be a suitable candidate for hair transplant, the donor area for the transplant must have a high count of strong, thick hair. Hair transplant is ideal for solving early-stage hair loss all the way up to Stage IV. For patients in Stage V and VI, it is best for Dr Samuel Ho to personally assess your situation before proceeding.
All stages of hair loss can be treated to various extents and early treatment is highly recommended.
The time taken for the procedure may vary from individual to individual. The procedure can take anywhere between four to eight hours.
After the surgery, your scalp might feel tender or painful to the touch. Your doctor will prescribe you a series of pain medications that you’ll need to take for several days. The affected areas of your scalp will also have to be bandaged for a few days. For some cases, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatories to prevent any serious swelling or infection from occurring.
Most people are able to return to work two to five days after the operation.
Hair transplants have a permanently positive effect on your hair growth.
Within two to three weeks, the transplanted hair may fall out. However, this will trigger new growth that you should see within weeks of the surgery. Most patients report seeing a 60% increase in new hair growth after 6 to 9 months.