Having a hair transplant is not something that should be taken lightly. It comes with a number of risks, the procedures have a number of surprising aspects, and these are all things you need to know before you look at your options.
1. There Are Two Types of Transplant
These are known as ‘Strip Harvesting’ and ‘Follicular Unit Extraction’, or FUE Harvesting. Strip Harvesting involves removing a strip of scalp, and suturing the wound back up. The strip is then cut into tiny pieces, which are then inserted back into the scalp in the thinning area. FUE harvesting involves taking out tiny sections of skin between 0.6mm and 1.25mm in diameter, and then reinserting these into the thinning area.
2. Strip Harvesting – It Will Take 2 Weeks to Recover
Strip harvesting is one of the two kinds of hair transplant that is common in modern medicine. The procedure (described above) is a fairly bloody one, and will require a recovery time of approximately two weeks after the initial operation.
3. Strip Harvesting – You Will Scar
Again, this is an unfortunate side effect of the process. Because a strip of your scalp is removed and then sliced into much smaller pieces, there will be scarring from the initial removal of the epidermis. If you are to have longer hair, this should eventually cover the scarring.
4. After a transplant, your hair will fall out.
We’re not even kidding, though it is normal. Because of the shock to the follicles of being plucked from the scalp and placed back in, almost all of the new hair will drop out again within the first two weeks. This is normal and causes a lot of patients to panic – it will grow back.
5. Random bald patches is a common side effect.
6. Hair transplants aren’t recommended for the under-25s.
The consensus is that for those under the age of 25, the best option is to try to retain what hair there is. The reason for this is if you have a hair transplant before you have finished going bald, you will need further grafts to ‘catch up’. This means that you can end up with patches of grafted hair remaining while the surrounding natural hair ceases to grow, leaving the ‘dolls head’ effect.
7. New hair can take 18 months to grow following surgery.
Following successful hair transplant surgery, the estimated timescale for new hair growing is a minimum of between three and four months to begin. Growth in 60% of patients will have started within 6 months, 80% within 9 months and 100% within 18 months.
8. Modern hair transplants were first tried in the 1930s.
However, the techniques weren’t used on heads. In the 1930s in Japan, small grafts were used to treat damaged sections of eyebrow or eyelash. It wasn’t until the 1950s that attempts were made to cure male pattern baldness with transplants.
9. You’ll need 1000 grafts per Norwood level, as a rough guide.
The Norwood Scale of male pattern baldness acts as yardstick for exactly ‘how bald’ a person is. Whilst the exact number will vary depending upon you’re the characteristics of each individuals hair, as a rough estimate you’ll need 1000 grafts per Norwood level.
Is there any pertinent information that we’ve missed? What about those of you who have undergone a hair transplant – what is your experience? What about other considerations, or other options? Let us know your thoughts – if you have an experience, help other alopecia sufferers. Share your story.