A hair transplant is a surgical procedure where the surgeon removes hair from a part of the body, called ‘donor site’, to a bald area of the head, called ‘recipient site’. Generally, the donor site is a place which is resistant to balding such as the back or side of the head from where the surgeon moves hairs follicles. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure, used to cure baldness from men and restore eyebrows, eyelashes, beard hair, pubic hair, chest hair and fill scars causes by external injury. Thinning of hair or baldness due to burn on the scalp can also be cured by this procedure.
Types of hair transplant are
- Slit grafts: Procedure of replacing grafts that contain 4-10 hairs per graft
- Micro grafts: Procedure of replacing grafts that contain 1-2 hairs per graft.
Type of hair transplant is chosen depending on the amount of coverage required.
The surgeon will clean your scalp thoroughly and use a small needle to numb the site of surgery with local anesthesia. He/she will then remove the area containing hair from your scalp with the help of a scalpel. Once removed, the scalp is sewed back and using a magnifying lens to clearly see the site, the doctor separates the removed section into small portions with a surgical knife.
The surgeon will make small holes with a needle in the recipient site and place the hairs gently in these holes. Hundreds or even thousands of hair can be transplanted in one session. Once the needed amount of hairs is transplanted, the scalp is covered with bandages and gauze for a few days, which will be removed after 10 days. Each session can take up to four or more hours and you may require more than 3 sessions to fully cover your head with hair. Next session happens after a few months once the earlier one is healed completely.
Side effects are usual in any surgical procedure, but with a hair transplant, it is quite minor and rare, which include
- Bruising around the eyes
- Swelling on the scalp
- A crust formation on donor or recipient site
- Inflammation and itching (folliculitis)
- Abnormal looking tufts of hair
- Temporary hair loss
Post Transplant Care
After the treatment, you may feel soreness on the scalp for which, you will be given antibiotics, pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs. Make sure to take it accordingly.
You can return to your daily activities within a few days. The transplanted hairs will fall out after 2-3 weeks, so that new hairs can grow in their place. Medications such as propecia and minoxidil are also given to improve the hair growth and reduce hair loss in the future.
You will need to visit follow up appointments with your doctor to see how well the treatment is responding and to control any complications.
Most people experience over 60% growth of hair in initial 6-9 months. If you feel your growth rate is less, talk to your doctor about it to know the reason.