About 40 percent of all men over 35 show signs of hair loss or male pattern baldness. Many of them show signs before they turn 35 and start applying Rogaine or taking Propecia to try to reverse the condition. But for those who have lost hair, hair transplantation may be the solution to being able to replace the lost hair.
Hair transplantation procedures involve taking hair from areas of the scalp where hair is denser and does not suffer from loss (donor areas) and placing, or transplanting, the hair in areas where hair loss has occurred. Once transplanted, hair continues to grow as the results are permanent.
Hair Transplantation Procedures
Several procedures for hair transplantation are available and vary with every physician specializing in this field. Three of the procedures frequently performed with great success include follicular unit extraction (FUE), mini-micro grafting, and micro grafting. Depending on the extent of the treatment and the degree of hair loss, each procedure offers permanent hair transplantation results.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). FUE involves extracting individual follicles from the back and sides of the head using an instrument to make a tiny, circular incision around the hair follicles. The follicles are harvested one at a time and then transplanted to the areas where hair is thinning – most often the front of the head where the hair recedes and the crown. The procedure typically takes place over a two-day period with large sections being transplanted during each appointment. Recipient sites are made in the areas to receive the donor hair so it can be placed in the sites and begin to grow. With FUE, there is some downtime as well as healing time which takes about a couple of weeks. If there are any scars left in the donor area, they are very miniscule. This procedure is ideal for those who like to wear their hair short, want no linear scarring from an incision, want a much shorter recovery time or have a limited donor area.
Mini-Micro Grafting. Probably the oldest surgical hair transplantation technique, mini-micro grafting involves removing a strip of donor tissue containing skin and hair from the neck and cutting it into smaller pieces to place on the bare scalp. The strips of tissue that contain three to six hairs are called mini grafts. This procedure can take up to eight hours and is done under a local anesthetic to prevent discomfort. Once the anesthetic wears off, there may some discomfort along with itching and crusting as the area heals. Depending on the extent of the procedure, it may take up to two weeks or more to recover. It is possible to return to daily activities within a few days if swelling and other discomfort subside.
Micro Grafting. With micro grafting, the process is similar to that of mini-micro grafting but is most often done around the hairline. The advantages of micro grafting include the natural results this procedure yields as well as the time it takes to complete. Additionally, because each micro graft stands alone, the doctor and patient have more flexibility in addressing the hair loss.
To determine which hair transplant method is the best option, it is necessary to schedule an appointment with a physician who specializes in hair transplantation for an evaluation of hair loss. Hair transplantation has come a long way over the years and results in a natural and permanent head of hair.