How does hair transplant surgery work? PART 1

Not everyone can easily choose a hair transplant instead of regular (and effective) pills for baldness. So, most patients first try “easier” therapy. However, if you think you can face the risks of surgery, read about how the hair transplant surgery for alopecia works. We will divide this article into two parts, so stay tuned!

In the world, hundreds of thousands of hair transplants are performed annually. In fact, most of them work for baldness of genetic etiology, and usually in patients under the age of 45 years.

Contraindications to hair transplant surgery

First of all, mind that such a surgery has almost no “age limit”. Even elderly can handle this method of hair loss treatment, but only if they have no contraindications.

The main hair transplant surgery contraindications include:

For the following diseases, consult your doctor and carefully assess the risks:

  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cancer
  • a number of dermatological problems.

Important! This kind of surgery does not depend on the season. After the operation, you can wear any hats, following the recommendations of specialists.

Main methods of hair transplantation

The first surgical methods for alopecia were quite harsh. Actually, they have been transplanting whole flaps of skin from the donor zone, or even removing a hairless area, then stitching the edges of the skin. Modern surgery generally focuses on being minimally invasive. So, now doctors use just four methods of hair transplantation that do not require a long recovery. I will briefly tell you about each of them (two in this article, and the rest later)…

FUT (Follicular unit transplantation): invasive hair transplant surgery method

This method of hair transplant surgery has another name, “stripe transplantation”. For a number of reasons, it is considered outdated and is now rarely used. Anyway, I will explain how it works.

A surgeon extracts skin flap from the donor area at the back of the head and divides it into small fragments, each of which contains 1 to 6 hair follicles. Then, he or she transplants the smallest areas along the hairline to make the hair look as smooth and natural as possible. Larger implants, with 4 to 6 follicles, should form hair. Surgeon installs grafts using tweezers in pre-prepared incisions in the skin made with a scalpel.

hair transplant surgery

Unfortunately, this method has a number of significant disadvantages for the patient. First of all, it has an extremely high degree of injury. In addition, a scar will remain in the donor area. It will take at least two to four weeks to heal after the operation. During this period, patients often complain of swelling of the face, prolonged numbness of the skin. Moreover, mind the risks of infection.

Also, when installing the donor material in the transplant zone, a surgeon cannot always provide a natural hair angle and density. In fact, this method can achieve 25-40 hair per square centimeter, while the natural density is 80-120 hair per cm. So, the disadvantages seem quite obvious.

FUE (Follicular unit extraction): less invasive method

First of all, this method of hair transplant surgery differs from the previous one in less injuries. Hair bundles containing 1-6 follicles are removed from the donor zone with the use of a special device with a rotating punch. As a result, small scars with a diameter of about 1.5–5 mm (the diameter of the punch) remain in the donor zone. They heal faster than large scars from the strip method, but also remain noticeable for life.

Then, the doctor divides removed bundles into grafts and clears them of damaged follicles. With this method of sampling, the loss of follicles can be up to 70%. Setting grafts is performed using a scalpel and tweezers, as with the strip method, and also does not provide a natural density and tilt of the hair. The density of grown hair with this method rises up to 40-60 units per centimeter. So, this method has some advantages, compared to the previous one…