Hair raising questions

A lot of men are opting for hair transplantation. Should you too?

What is the basis of hair transplantation?

man examining hairTo understand hair transplantation, you need to first understand baldness. Male-pattern baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia, which is the commonest type of baldness, is directly related to the male hormone, testosterone.

The hair follicles are sensitive to testosterone, excess of which causes reduced growth and thinning of hair. Some men have baldness only in the front or at the vertex, while in others it is more severe.

But, no matter how extensive the baldness, there is always a 'horseshoe' shaped area of permanent hair at the back and sides of the head. This hair is genetically programmed to resist the effect of male hormones. When transplanted into areas of thinning or bald areas, such hair continues to survive and grow permanently.

This forms the basis of hair transplantation. Hair from some other parts of the body or from some other person cannot be used for hair transplant.

What does microfollicular hair transplantation involve?

After proper selection, a suitable hairline is first marked considering the aesthetic and facial dimensions of the person. Then a strip of hair is harvested from the back of the head and this donor area is closed by stitches.

This strip of hair is cut using magnification to make smaller grafts called as micrografts and minigrafts. Micrografts contain 1 – 2 hair and are placed in front to form the new hairline. This is actually a zone about 1.5cm wide and comprises thin hair. In this zone, the single and two hair grafts are delicately introduced into micro slits under magnification.

Beyond this, minigrafts which have 3 – 5 hair are placed. These add to the density. All the grafts are so placed taking into consideration the direction of further hair growth. Micro with Minigrafts produce a more natural look than the old fashioned Plug Method with its unnatural 'Dolls Head' look.

What should I expect after my surgery?

Your doctor will cover the operated site with a surgical cap, which you can remove on reaching home. Your forehead will be swollen for 2 – 3 days. The stitches will be removed after a week, and you shouldn't take a head bath till then. The transplanted hair will usually fall off with the scab in 2 – 3 weeks after surgery. New hair grows in the area after about three months.

When can I resume my normal activities?

You should not travel for 2 – 3 days. You can resume work the next day if your office is close to your home.

Can the hair fall again?

The original hair in the bald area continues to fall even after the transplant. And the transplanted hair starts growing in about 12 – 16 weeks after the surgery. This hair is permanent and lifelong. The procedure can be repeated after six months, if needed, to achieve more density in the bald area. With more sittings, the density of hair growth becomes better.

Is everybody eligible for hair transplantation?

No. Patients with very small amount of hair at the back and sides of the head may not be good candidates for this surgery.

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