What causes hair loss?

Hair is created by hair follicles. Hair follicles are located everywhere we have hair, from our scalp to our face and body. Each follicle follows it’s own genetic blueprint for creating hair type, shape, and if it will be sensitive to the hormone DHT. Dihydrotestosterone causes the follicle to create shorter and finer hair until it longer produces hair. Since the hair loss is linked to DHT sensitive hair we can see various patterns of hair loss on our scalp. As we age, the effects of DHT become more progressive and prominent throughout the scalp. Hair loss can also occur due to trauma and damage to the hair follicle or certain diseases and medications.

Who is the ideal candidate for Hair Transplant Surgery?

Hair Transplant surgery is not for everyone. Aside from the obvious limitation of cost, there are many factors to consider before you decide to have the surgery. There is a big time commitment. From the actual amount of time it takes to have the procedure done to how long it will take you to recover, the ideal candidate must be patient. Ideal candidates will have patterned baldness with areas resistant to DHT. Patients with diffused balding patterns and hair loss due to injury must have the medical condition addressed first.

What is Transection and how does it affect hair transplant?

Transection is the unwanted cutting or damage of hair during the hair transplant process. Transection can happen when the donor strip is cut or when an inscision is made in the scalp for the hair transplant and an existing follicle is cut. Hair Transection is important because it has to do with the rate of viability of the transplanted hair grafts. Generally 5 to 10% is a reasonable rate, anything higher means the surgery will not be successful. This is important because there is only a limited amount of donor hair follicles, you want to go to a doctor that can give you the best outcome with the donor hair you have.

Does age matter when doing hair transplant?

Certainly! A young patient in their 20s or 30s can have hair transplant, but they must understand that they will need a combination treatment plan that will help them retain the hair they have. If this step is not taken, young patients will likely need a second procedure as they age to correct for further hair loss or they will be left with a very unnatural / odd hair loss pattern. Since hair loss is progressive, even older patients who have hair transplant can need another procedure down the line, but are less likely to need it at the rate that a younger person without combination treatment would need.

How will Chemotherapy affect my hair?

Chemotherapy disrupts the division of hair cells. Some patients can lose most of their hair, sometimes the hair will regrow. Methotrexate, Cyclophosohamide, blemycin, doxorubicin, mitomycin, cytarabine, vinblastine, and vincristine are all chemotherapy drugs that can cause hair loss.

How does hair care and styling affect hair loss?

Activities like wearing hats, shaving and trimming your hair do not cause permanent hair loss. Excessive hair brushing can stress the hair follicle and cause hair breakage leading to temporary hair loss. Using chemical styling products and improper cleansing can cause weak damaged hair and temporary hair loss. Wearing tight braids, buns or pony tails for extensive periods of time can cause permanent hair loss known as Traction Alopecia.

How long does the procedure take?

Depending on the methods used for hair transplantation and the degree of hair loss, the surgery will take anywhere from 3 to 8 hours. During this time patients can relax and watch tv, movies, listen to music or just take a nap.

Is the procedure painful?

All patients will receive local anesthesia. If you are too anxious, we can provide a mild sedative to ensure you have a stress free surgery. The most discomfort you’ll feel is the pinches from the needle with the local anesthesia. Most patients do not require pain killers after the surgery.

How do I decide which method is for me?

You will need to have a hair transplant consultation with the doctor to determine your hair loss pattern and if there are any underlying medical conditions. The surgeon will examine the donor site to determine how many follicular units can be obtained and how many grafts you will need to cover the areas of significant hair loss. Lastly you will need to determine which procedure is the most cost effective for you.

What is Dense Packing?

Dense packing is a transplant process that allows hair density to be achieved quicker than usual. In dense packing anywhere from 30 to 80 follicular units are placed per square centimeter. In order to do dense packing, the patient must have sufficent donor hair. Also the individual hair characteristics such as color, shaft diameter and curl will greatly affect the number of follicular units that are needed.

What can I expect after the surgery?

There will be light crusting and scabbing on the areas where the hair transplant was performed. There may be swelling around the eyes for 2 to 3 days. If you had the strip method performed, your sutures will be removed in about a week. The transplanted hair usually sheds in about 2 to 4 weeks. By 3 to 4 months you should see new growth in the successfully transplanted hair follicles. From 6 to 8 months your new growth will be thicker and stronger than the previous months. The transplanted hair can be cut and styled as you wish. It is safe to wear a hat or cap while you are healing.

When can I go back to work?

Depending on the method used for hair transplant you can go back to work the next day or after a two day recovery period.

Will I have a scar or visible marks?

The strip method will leave a more visible linear scar in the donor area. Patients who have experienced poor wound healing and keloid formations in the past will have more visible scarring than most patients. The Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) can also leave scars, though these will be less visible circular scars. Some patients are prone to hyperpigmentation and may develop post inflammatory hyperpigmentation in the area where FUE was performed. Also depending on the number of grafts used and their proximity to each other, the donor area may appear thinned out and have small visible patches.

When will I see my results?

Significant hair growth will be visible in 6 to 8 months after the hair transplant.

Are there any contraindications?

Hair Transplant Surgery is a safe in office procedure usually completed in a few hours. However, not everyone can be a candidate for the surgery. If you have a history of immunosuppressive disease like HIV or AIDS, Uncontrolled Diabetes, Chronic Heart, Liver or Kidney disease, bleeding disorder, or any current or chronic infection these are all contraindications Medications such as corticosteroids, chemotherapy or medicines that decrease your blood’s ability to clot must be discontinued or completed before treatment can begin for a hair transplant. Patients with Trichotillomania are not candidates for hair transplant surgery.