Hair transplant is an operation that moves hair follicles from one area and implants in an area where hair loss is happening. It solves the hair loss problem permanently, especially in case of male baldness or accidents and burns. The most promising side of this operation is that hair grows naturally in the transplanted area. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is the most popular method used, because it achieves a faster and better quality. It is a painless method and does not leave any significant trace, as no incision is made.
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It is a surgical procedure that aims to treat hair loss problem permanently. It takes the skin (graft) with hair from the (donor) area, and transplants it to the (recipient) area where there is the hair loss. Donor hairs, genetically resistant to hair loss, are usually picked from the neck and the sides of the ears.
If hairs in the donor area are not sufficient, other hairs such as legs, chest or beard can be taken. It is done only with the person’s own hair, not anybody else. This particular surgery belongs to the field of aesthetics and plastic surgery. (1)
It is done to solve the problem of regional baldness and thin hair. It can also be applied to the problem of eyebrows, beard and mustache.
Healthy men and women who are between 20-75 years old with inherited regional hair loss or the following problems:
The person who will undergo hair transplant surgery should have sufficient donor hair to cover the areas of baldness.
Hair transplantation is not applied to people with chronic and serious conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure. It also does not work for hair loss caused by chemotherapy or ringworm.
It may happen for many reasons. Important ones are:
This surgery usually does not require hospitalization. Usually the process takes 6 to 9 hours. It may vary depending on the amount of hair follicle to be placed and the method to be used. If the area to be treated is large, 2 or more sessions may be required at regular intervals.
Because both the donor and recipient areas are anesthetized with sedation, no pain is felt during hair transplant, but painkillers should be taken if there is any pain.
There are 2 essential methods in order to collect hair from the donor area: (3)
A follicular unit is a natural hair structure where multiple hair follicles exist together.
Hair follicles are taken from the donor area in the form of strips by the FUT method, and the grafts in these strips are separated, and then planted in the channels opened in the recipient area. The process in this method is as follows:
This method is an unshaved version. The head does not need to be shaved, only the area where the strips are taken out is trimmed. A thin linear trace remains in the donor area where the hair will grow after a while. Healing time of the wound is approximately 2 weeks.
It is the most popular hair transplant method, since a large number of hair follicles are taken out and placed in the opened channels without having a scar by a seamless technique. With the technological advances, many medical devices are employed in the FUE method.
In FUE method, punches are inserted on the electric micromotor and positioned according to the orientation and angle of the hair, and pricked into the scalp to pull the hair follicles. Thus, by the help of punches, the circumference of the root is loosened by cutting out cylindrically. After hair follicles are loosened, they are collected one by one with tweezers.
Punches inserted to the end of the micro motor are changed according to the hair structure of the person, preventing damage to the hair follicles. For example, punches with larger diameters are used for thick hairs and small diameters for thin hairs. (5)
This medical device supervised by a physician has a computer-based system. Ends of this device form rounded areas around the hair follicles, pick them up one by one and put them in its inner chamber. Robotic FUE micro-incisions help to get more grafts without making any damage by its special collecting style and vacuuming units. Only people with black or brown straight hair can benefit from this technology. (6)
A sharp-tipped tool known as the Choi needle, similar to the pen, is used. Hair follicles collected from donor area are inserted inside tool and planted directly in the recipient area with special tips without making any holes. This minimizes the length of time which the grafts are out and ensures that they stay stronger.
The channels for transplant in which the hair follicles harvested in Sapphire FUE are opened with the tips that are produced from real sapphire. This tool minimizes the crusting of wounds and accelerates healing process by opening up the channels in micro-sizes.
Also, there is a Gold technique in which the devices used for hair transplant are made of gold.
In this version of FUE method, after the hair transplant is done, the patient is given a hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and a pure oxygen inhalation for a while in order to increase the oxygen level in the blood. Hair follicles improve faster when oxygen treatment is applied at regular intervals.
Laser FUE (Laser assisted hair transplant surgery) opens up the channels in the target area with low intensity laser beams. The laser vaporizes the tissues and forms 1-1.3 mm channels. Thus, blood circulation under skin increases, which makes the likelihood of the hair follicles to adapt to their new place higher. Because blood vessels clot during sowing, bleeding does not happen.
Laser FUE is not a widely used method and the experts in this field have different opinions about the results. The main criticism is that as the laser beam will burn and damage the blood vessels, blood circulation will not increase and therefore the likelihood of hair follicles to adapt to their new place will be low.
After 3 to 6 months, new hair starts to grow naturally. The exact result is observed after about 12 to 18 months.
Since hair transplant is a serious operation, the surgeon’s experience, the operation team, medical devices, hospital hygiene and other conditions should be thoroughly investigated for the success of this procedure.
When you decide on the operation, you should pay attention to:
Until hair follicles are settled in their new places, you should be careful at least 15 days after the operation. Here’s what to do:
After a few weeks, the transplanted hair may fall and this event is called Shock Loss, but about 4 months later permanent hair starts to grow.