Undergoing a hair transplant is the key to restoring lost confidence for many patients. Battling hair loss can be the cause of severe depression as your self-esteem takes a knock and you begin to withdraw into yourself.
Luckily, help is at the hand in the form of hair restoration surgery. Those suffering from a receding hairline due to male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia can undergo surgery which will make use of the healthy hair follicles they have remaining and transplant them into the areas of the scalp which need to be treated.
Essentially a form of non-invasive cosmetic surgery that is very effective with visible long-lasting results. If you’ve heard of hair restoration surgery and have wondered whether it might be suitable for you, we hope to answer any questions you may have through the process of writing this article.
The Detail Surrounding Hair Transplantations
In its simplest form, a hair transplant simply involves relocating a patient’s hair to where it is needed the most. The common areas that we go bald prematurely in are the crown, the top of the head as well as the areas surrounding the temples. Most people suffering from baldness will keep the hair that surrounds the sides and backs of their head making these locations ideal for harvesting hair.
The surgery itself has been around for decades and can be first traced back to the US in the 1950s. With that said, the techniques used have continued to advance to the point that the procedure is more effective than it ever has been.
These days, one of two types of transplant method are commonly used;
- Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE, which involves the extraction of units of hair follicles from the donor site. These follicles are than implanted underneath the skin where they take root and grow.
- Skin harvesting where entire strips of skin containing hair follicles are removed before being dissected into thousands of smaller pieces known as grafts. These small pieces of skin are then carefully implanted where required.
The type of technique your surgeon uses will depend upon your preference as well as the procedure they feel is right for you. FUE will usually involve shaving an area of the head to facilitate follicle extraction whereas skin harvesting usually allows you to keep your existing hair which can be important to patients with longer hair.
The time taken to complete the treatment will depend on the size of the treatment area as well as the method of transplantation. Most transplants will be completed within 4 to 8 hours.
Your Results and Recovery
Most patients will find that their scalps are very tender post-surgery which is completely normal. This mild form of pain will subside with time as your scalp begins to heal and the implant settles in.
Your surgeon may be able to prescribe you with a variety of medications which can assist with the recovery process and promote healing so if you continue to experience discomfort, we would suggest taking this route.
You will most likely experience the loss of the hair that was implanted roughly 2-3 weeks post-surgery but this too is normal. After a few months, and when the transplant has taken hold, you will notice new hair growth in the transplantation area. This growth will be slow at first but will increase as the months go by.
You should expect a reasonable period of recovery and should bear in mind that results won’t be apparent overnight as it will take months before you feel the transplant has been a success.
The Cost of Treatment
Depending on where in the world you live, you will come to learn that the costs to undergo a hair transplant can and will vary. The most expensive locations to undergo treatment are the UK, the US as well as most of western Europe.
In the aforementioned locations, you can expect to pay anywhere up to £15,000 for treatment depending on the number of grafts and implants you require. Needless to say, this is a considerable cost and one that not everyone will be able to commit to. A hair transplant in London will usually take place at a Harley Street based clinic which have a good reputation for carrying out cosmetic procedures. We would suggest weighing up the pros and cons before making a decision.
Some patients choose to undergo surgery abroad as the reduced cost can be very attractive. In these instances, you will usually be able to find a clinic that is offering to include the cost of your accommodation and airport transfers in the price of your treatment which still works out far cheaper than having your hair restoration treatment in London.
The Risks of Treatment
Hair restoration surgery is relatively low risk and free from complications. With that said, some patients may experience infections as well as inflammation of the skin. The complications you may experience are rarely severe and can usually be handled with a course of medication.
The other risk is that once you begin to see hair growth, it doesn’t look as natural as you may like. The hair found on different parts of your head grows differently which can have an impact on the results of your surgery. It should be mentioned that these risks can be reduced by making sure that your surgery is carried out by a skilled surgeon.
Advances in hair restoration surgery continue to be made regularly, making the techniques used to perform your surgery better and better. We should in time also begin to see a reduction in costs which may make it far more attractive to undergo surgery in London rather than abroad.
The success of your treatment will vary based on a number of factors including your suitability for treatment, your age, as well as the condition of your existing hair, but by doing your research, we are confident that you will come away with the results you desire.