Follicular Unit Hair Transplant
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Hair Transplant

Hair transplants are the only permanent solutions to male and female hair loss. Celebrities, athletes, even other doctors have sought out Medical Hair Restoration for their extensive experience and precision skill. See for yourself, view our before & after photos and head to head comparisons.

Many consider hair transplants to be the last resort in their quest to have their hair back. And after trying everything from miracle creams to hair pieces-and spending thousands of dollars in the process-what they realize is that the last resort offered the best result all along.

What is hair transplant?

Hair transplantation involves the surgical removal of a hair-bearing portion of the scalp and its relocation to an area of absent or thinning hair. In recent years, newer techniques have enabled increasingly smaller "donor" portions to be transplanted, leading to more cosmetically acceptable results and an increasing number of candidates selecting this solution for hair loss.

The use of both scalp flaps, in which a band of tissue with its original blood supply is shifted to the bald area, and free grafts dates back to the 19th century. Modern transplant techniques began in Japan in the 1930s, where surgeons used small grafts, and even "follicular unit grafts" to replace damaged areas of eyebrows or lashes. They did not attempt to treat baldness per se.

New hair transplant technology

The modern era of hair transplantation in the western world was ushered in the late 1950s, when New York dermatologists began to experiment with free donor grafts to balding areas in patients with male pattern baldness. Newer procedures today allow for far less invasive surgery with optimal results. FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), allows the surgeon to select individual follicular units from a donor region and transplant them to the recipient region. This method uses a small needle (0.50-0.75 mm diameter) to pluck out the follicular units, eliminating the need for the surgeon to excise skin from the back of the head. Benefits of FUE are quicker healing time, far less trauma, no strip scar, and the surgeon's ability to individually select follicular units.

Hair transplant – Pre-operative preparation

At an initial consultation, the surgeon analyzes the patient's scalp, discusses his preferences and expectations, and advises him/her on the best approach (e.g. single vs. multiple sessions) and what results might reasonably be expected.

For several days prior to surgery the patient refrains from using any medicines, or alcohol, which might result in intraoperative bleeding and resultant poor "take" of the grafts. Pre-operative antibiotics are commonly prescribed to prevent wound or graft infections.

Hair transplant – Surgery

Transplant operations are performed on an outpatient basis, with mild sedation (optional) and injected topical anesthesia, and typically last about four hours. The scalp is shampooed and then treated with an antibacterial chemical prior to the donor scalp being harvested.

In the usual follicular unit procedure, the surgeon harvests a strip of skin from the posterior scalp, in an area of good hair growth. The excised strip is about 1-1.5 x 15-30 cm in size. While he is closing the resulting wound, assistants begin to dissect individual follicular unit grafts from the strip. The surgeon then uses a fine needle to puncture the sites for receiving the grafts, placing them in a predetermined density and pattern, and angling the wounds in a consistent fashion to promote a realistic hair pattern.

The assistants generally do the final part of the procedure, inserting the individual grafts in place. The finest surgeons can place more than 70 grafts per square centimeter in order to get a good density and appearance.

Hair transplant – Post-operative care

Advances in wound care allow for semi-permeable dressings, which allow seepage of blood and tissue fluid, to be applied and changed at least daily. The vulnerable recipient area must be shielded from the sun, and is not shampooed for about a week.

During the first ten days, virtually all of the transplanted hairs, inevitably traumatized by their relocation, will fall out ("shock loss"). After two to three months new hair will begin to erupt from the moved follicles. The patient's hair will grow normally, and continue to thicken through the next six to nine months. Any subsequent hair loss is likely to be only from untreated areas. Some patients elect to use medications to retard such loss, while others plan a subsequent transplant procedure to deal with this eventuality.

A Hair Transplant - How to do it right?

Hair transplants have evolved dramatically over the past decade. Today, when done right, is a very refined outpatient procedure that produces full and natural looking results.

Selecting the right hair transplant procedure and physician is absolutely critical. When performed correctly not even your hair stylist will detect that you had a hair transplant. But the procedure and hair transplant clinic you select is absolutely critical since most hair transplant surgeons today are still using outdated procedures. Hair transplant surgery simply relocates bald resistant hair follicles from donor area to your thinning areas.

The reason why only a minority of hair transplant surgeons do truly state of the art hair transplants is because the most advanced procedures and techniques require very high levels of skill, experience, and staff time.

To achieve this high level of quality a clinic typically needs a large and well trained staff that is dedicated to doing hair transplants exclusively. However, the hair restoration clinics that do make these investments are able to provide their patients with naturalness and fullness in only one surgical session, rapid healing, and optimal use of their limited donor hair.

However, many clinics are not willing to dedicate the time and resources to develop this optimal capability. The hair restoration physicians recommended on this site have made this investment and have a proven track record of excellent hair transplant results. Today's optimal follicular unit procedure enables a patient to achieve extremely natural results because it recreates and mimics the way a person’s hair grows naturally, hair for hair.

How to pick a hair transplant surgeon?

As patients we know that the most important decision in restoring your hair is the surgeon you choose. The skill, experience, and talent of hair restoration surgeons vary widely, as do the end results.

It is important that you research and choose your surgeon wisely. After all, who you choose will determine how natural and full your new hair will be for the rest of your life.

We offer the following suggestions for selecting a hair surgeon:

  1. Does the surgeon take a holistic approach to hair restoration? Your surgeon should help you evaluate all your options, surgical and non surgical.
  2. Have they made the investment in time and resources to do large sessions of micro follicular unit hair transplantation? Doing outstanding work requires a staff dedicated and trained to use high-powered magnification with the capability of producing more than 2,000 carefully trimmed grafts per surgical session.
  3. Choose a hair transplant clinic that is patient focused rather than commercially focused. Some clinics emphasize revenue, speed and volume rather than dedicating the time and individual care needed to produce optimal results. These commercial operations typically rely on heavy advertising rather than satisfied patient or doctor referrals.
  4. Is hair transplanting the primary focus of their practice? Outstanding results require a physician and a full staff who perform hair restoration surgery on a regular basis. Doing hair restoration as a sideline, along with other cosmetic procedures, may hinder their ability to do large sessions of highly refined follicular unit transplantation.
  5. How many patients has this surgeon produced excellent results for? Like any skill, experience over time is critical to acquiring the skill and judgment required to produce excellent results.
  6. Can the surgeon provide at least a dozen sets of detailed patient before and after photographs? Do they also have patients who are willing to speak with you and meet with you in person?
  7. What is the surgeon’s reputation on hair loss related discussion forums? Many patients participate in our popular discussion forum and post their experiences and photos.

What does a hair transplant cost?

In recent years hair transplants have become a much better value. Not only has quality improved dramatically but graft prices have come way down.

The leading hair transplant clinics are doing larger surgical sessions that have improved hair transplant cost efficiencies for patients, while providing thicker and fuller results. Increased competition and price shopping online has also driven prices down.

Only a few years ago it was not unusual for a clinic to charge as much as $15 per graft, while providing patients with only small sessions of a few hundred grafts. Today most hair transplant clinics offer free no obligation consultations, with surgical sessions priced either per graft or by the session. Financing with low monthly payments is also often offered.

Hair transplant prices typically range from $3.00 to $8.00 per graft, with $5 to $6 per graft being about average. Normally the price per graft also drops as the size of the surgical session increases. Hair transplant surgery is not inexpensive. But it can be the best hair restoration value since the results life long and natural.

In the long run, the cost of non surgical treatments like a hair system or hair loss medications can exceed the cost of hair restoration surgery. For example – A quality custom hair replacement system on average costs $1,200 and needs to be replaced about once a year. It then needs to be reattached and groomed every 5 to 6 weeks for about $75 per visit or $675 per year.