Making the Decision to Have Hair Transplant Surgery Having hair transplant surgery is a big step. The decision does not come easily to most people. There are many aspects of your life that are affected by your choice to have or not to have the procedure done. There are several questions to ask yourself. 1. Do I think about my hair all the time? If you cannot think of anything but how your balding head looks, it is a good indication that you need to do something. This kind of thinking can distract you from enjoying the good things in life. It can also mean that you are not fully focused on the activity you are engaged in at the time. This could go so far as being dangerous. 2. Have I lost confidence at work because of my hair loss? It is possible to become so attentive to your balding problems that you feel that others look down on you at work. If you can maintain your self confidence, that will probably not be the case at all. However, if you feel inferior when you are dealing with new customers or clients, you will likely not do well at your job. A hair transplant procedure could help your career. 3. How do I feel about my hair in social situations? If you are constantly thinking about your hair loss when you are with friends or colleagues, your social life will suffer. You will find it hard to carry on conversations with others on an equal level if your baldness is an issue. Hair transplant surgery can help you get back in the loop. 4. Do I spend too much time at the mirror? This is an interesting question, because one would think that looking in the mirror would be more a problem of people who have already had hair transplant surgery. Actually, quite the opposite is true. When people are concerned about balding, they spend much time looking into a mirror to double-check and re-comb their hair to make it look like it covers more of their heads. 5. Do I feel comfortable around the opposite sex? People who have serious balding issues often feel as if members of the opposite sex look at them with contempt. These people do not strike up conversations with the opposite sex or seek them out. It is only with drastic measures, such as counseling, that these people can get past their timidity. Hair transplant surgery can give them more confidence as well. 6. Will having hair transplant surgery change anything? You have to look long and hard at your life to answer this question. You have to determine whether the baldness is really the problem or not. The issues may be too deep for a cosmetic procedure to fix. In this case, you will have to decide if the hair transplant surgery will be worth it. On the other hand, the surgery might be just that extra something that gives you the incentive to learn to deal with your problems. Is Hair Transplant Painful? Many people who think about having hair transplant surgery wonder if the procedure is painful. Often people have sensitive scalps and the thought of someone making cuts there seems hard to think about for these people. There is disagreement as to whether hair transplant surgery is painful, though. Some say that hair transplant surgery is similar to a visit to the dentist. This does not seem like a description of something that is pain-free. It certainly does not seem like a relaxing experience. Yet some feel that there is that degree of pain involved. The injections of the local anesthetic into the scalp before hair transplant procedures are definitely painful to some degree. Anyone who has had a tooth pulled knows that, if the tooth is deadened properly, it is not the tooth-pulling that hurts. It is the needle going in with medication to numb the tooth that is the real agony. Of course, to follow the dental analogy, after the numbing wears off there is plenty of pain where the tooth was before. With hair transplant surgery, there is pain after the surgery as well. Swelling is normal after hair transplant surgery and can even keep you away from work. Your skull may feel very unusual for weeks. However, the pain of hair transplant cannot actually be compared to a tooth extraction. Hair transplant pain is decidedly less sharp and some do not even feel it as pain at all. Many people simply feel it as an uncomfortable feeling. If they do feel any pain, it is of a degree that can be taken care of with a few doses of Tylenol. On the other hand, some people who have had hair transplant procedures done do not feel that there is any pain involved at all. They tolerate the injections of the local anesthetic well. They are not bothered at all by the procedure. In fact they often watch television or read magazines, being awake and alert the whole time. Hair transplant surgery is surely less painful than it was in earlier times when larger sections of scalp were excised. This involved more cutting to take out the donor hair and more cutting to insert the donor hair into the recipient site. Hair transplant surgery was a very painful procedure in the past. Not all doctors today have given up on older methods. This is one reason why you should ask a lot of questions when you look for a hair transplant surgeon. Up-to-date techniques for hair transplant use only the follicular unit and not a large amount of surrounding tissue for the donor grafts. This cuts down considerably on the amount of pain experienced. The procedure is minimally invasive now, so that no more of the scalp is disturbed than is necessary. Finally, having a hair transplant with an experienced and skilled surgeon is an important key to having a less painful surgery. A doctor who knows the best way to do the procedure will cause you less pain an produce a better result for you into the bargain. Planning for Your Hair Transplant Surgery It takes courage to take the first steps in going through with hair transplant surgery. Planning for the procedure is necessary before you even make the final decision to have it done. Once that step is completed, you will be ready to start the preparations for your surgery. Before you are approved for a hair transplant procedure, the doctor will have to sign off on you. You must be deemed appropriate for the surgery. It may seem that everyone would be approved, but there are several reasons why you may not be. The doctor will explore both the hair loss you have suffered, and the hair growth you still have. This is very important, because knowing where the donor hair for the hair transplant will come from is imperative. The doctor will also want to know the patterns of baldness and hair growth in your family history. This will give an idea of whether there is hope for a good result that will last for a fair amount of time. You will also need to reveal to the doctor if you have had any hair replacement surgery before. To get an idea of how you will react to having a hair transplant procedure done, the doctor will ask many questions. He will want to know the basics of your lifestyle as they relate to your health and hair. The doctor will also want to know what you think will change when you have your hair transplant. If your expectations are too high, you may be referred to counseling before a reputable doctor will perform a hair transplant. If you are positive yet realistic, you may be ready for the next step. Next, the doctor will get all the facts on your health that are related with surgical procedures. Uncontrolled high blood pressure would be a problem. If you are on anti-clotting medications such as Coumadin, you would have to stop taking them for awhile before having a hair transplant. People who have a history of excessive scarring might want to think twice about getting a hair transplant. Scars are usually a part of the procedure because the donor hair is taken from the back and sides of the scalp. There, scars are formed when it is removed. If you get this far into the plan and are approved for surgery, the doctor will begin to discuss the day of the hair transplant itself. You will be assessed and told exactly what hair transplant procedure will be done. The doctor will discuss where this procedure is to take place. The doctor will give you information like how long it will take for you to treat you transplants like normal hair. He will also give you an idea how different you will look after the hair transplant. Getting a hair transplant is a big step, but with good planning, you can be sure you are making the right decision. Any respectable doctor will work with your well-being in mind to make sure you are doing the right thing. Facts about Hair Transplant Procedures It is getting more common for people to get hair transplant procedures as the methods keep improving. It is just less obvious than in earlier times when everyone could spot a person with bad hair plugs. Yet, there are still a few facts about hair transplant surgery that are not widely known. 1. A large percentage of men have balding issues. In fact, 50% of American men that are 50 years old or older are dealing with some amount of hair loss. Hair problems in today's society beg to be conquered. Some do it by shaving their heads completely. Others take the exact opposite route and have hair transplant surgery. Those who accept their baldness may have a healthy psyche, but they are slightly out of step with the rest of the world. 2. The procedure is permanent. If you decide you do not like the results, it is not as simple as taking off a wig to change your hair. You would have to go through many surgeries and your head may never look the same. This is why you should never accept any doctor's offer to do a few hair grafts and see how you like it before doing a full hair transplant surgery. Once you start, you are committed. 3. You need several days of rest afterward hair transplant surgery. Since the operation is so easy to endure, you might think that you can jump up and go right back to your regular activities. It is just your scalp after all, not muscle or bone. The truth is that you have many small wounds and you need to protect them. 4. Hair transplant can be a time-consuming commitment. Treatment can often last one to two years. Mega-sessions where thousands of grafts are done in one sitting help to shorten the overall time. However, the length of these sessions is often grueling. 5. Hair transplant surgery may be combined with other procedures. If you do not have enough hair, you cannot have a normal hair transplant surgery. However, there are other surgeries that can be used in conjunction with hair transplant to achieve similar results. The difference is that these procedures are generally more painful. 6. The grafts may not survive. Few surgeons will divulge to you the fact that hair grafts do not always survive after hair transplant surgery. The hope is that only a few will be lost and the overall result will not suffer. The reality is that is what usually happens. 7. Hair transplant treatments do not cost as much as you think. For example, you might reasonably spend $12,000 on a hair transplant. If you got it done at age 30 and died at age 70, you would have the transplant 40 years. That would average out to $300 per year, or $25 per month. Many of the supposedly low cost treatments for hair loss cost much more than $25 per month. You would actually save by getting the hair transplant surgery done in the first place. Why Are Some People Better Candidates for Hair Transplant Surgery? Just when you think you have found the solution to your problems with balding, you might discover that hair transplant surgery is not for everyone. It is discouraging, but do not give up hope until you investigate to find out if you are a possible candidate. You may be surprised. The most important thing to remember is that you need hair for the hair transplant to your balding areas. The hair has to come from somewhere on your body. Wherever you take the hair from is called the donor site. There can be different donor sites for different people. The most common donor site for hair transplant surgery is on the head. If the sides and back of your head have full lustrous hair, you are in luck. This hair can be used as donor hair to replace hair you have lost on your balding spots. If your hair in these areas is not healthy, you face a difficult problem -- where does the surgeon get the hair? A new procedure allows doctors to use donor hair from other parts of the body. For example, if a man has a particularly hairy chest, some hair can be used from that area as donor hair for the head. This hair transplant procedure requires a surgeon skilled in the latest techniques in order to keep scarring to a minimum. Another aspect of choosing donor sites is the color of the hair being used in the hair transplant. If it does not match the area around the balding area, it will look unnatural. The texture should be even as well as the waviness or curliness of the donor hair and the area of hair around the balding area. If you have lost your hair due to genetics, or a family history, you will likely be a good candidate for hair transplant surgery. Men who have hair loss in their families usually have a good idea of the way the baldness pattern will play out. Your relatives may have had hair that went bald into a horseshoe pattern and held at that stage. If this is the case, your surgeon will know what to expect. Then, he can take "bald-proof" hair from the sides and back of your head as donor hair and perform the hair transplant. If you have lost your hair because of some kind of trauma or burns, you will also make a good candidate for hair transplant surgery. This is because the hair you still have will probably still be healthy. It will provide good donor hair for your hair transplant. The most likely situation is that you will have enough hair to make this possible. However, if you have lost too much hair, a hair transplant may not be possible. You can benefit greatly from hair transplant surgery if it is right for you. Do not give up on it until you talk to a surgeon. If your surgeon says that you are not a good candidate for hair transplant surgery, you may want to get a second opinion. However, if you are a good candidate for the procedure, it is nice to know that there is a good reason you are being accepted. It will make you more confident in your surgeon. Facts about How Your Hair Will Look After Hair Transplant Surgery Before you have hair transplant surgery, you might want to know how it will turn out. The truth is that every head of hair is different from all others and you cannot know exactly how it will turn out. However, with a few facts at your disposal, you can get an advance idea of how your hair will look. 1. The more hairs per graft that are used in your hair transplant, the less natural your hair will look. Many doctors still use grafts that contain up to eight hairs. These do not look as conspicuous as the hair plugs of earlier decades, but they do not look as natural as they can, either. Try to find a doctor that uses grafts that contain one to four hair follicles. These smaller grafts, also called follicular unit grafts, are ideal in restoring a receding hairline. If your doctor uses the follicular unit grafts for your hairline, it will look much more natural than with the larger plug-like grafts. This is important because your hair transplant will be noticeable if the hairline is not done well. 2. Your hair transplant site will be fuller if you have higher density in your donor sites. The density is based upon the number of hair follicles you have in each section of your scalp. If you have a high number of hair follicles per square centimeter than most people, more grafts can be done, so your hair will look fuller. 3. Your scalp laxity will also affect the fullness of your resulting hair transplant site. This refers to the flexibility of your scalp. How loose your scalp is helps to decide how many grafts can be done just as hair density does. 4. Coarse hair will cover more area. When your hair transplant is done, the surgeon will be able to use fewer hair follicles per graft if your hair is coarse. That is because coarse hair provides more coverage. However, finer hair will tend to look more natural, if thinner. 5. Straight hair does not cover scalp like curly hair does. If you have straight hair, you can be sure that your hair transplant surgery will be a challenge to your doctor. Curly hair appears to provide even more coverage than it actually does because it stands up from the head. 6. The way your hair color compares to your skin color will have an effect on the look of your hair transplant. If you have a hair color that is similar to the color of your skin, you are in luck. Your scalp will not betray any lack of coverage that happens to be present. If, on the other hand, your hair and skin color contrast distinctly hair follicles show up more. If there is even the slightest lack of coverage, it will be evident. Just imagine a very light-skinned person with jet-black hair. This person's hair follicles will stand out in a very obvious way. No one ever knows how hair transplant surgery will turn out until they see the results. All of the basic problems can be dealt with if a skilled surgeon is involved. However, knowing the possibilities will make it easier for you to know what questions to ask. Why Some People Do Not Want To Have Hair Transplant Surgery Hair transplant surgery is not for everyone. In fact, some people have been so disappointed and even angered about their results that they have filed class action lawsuits against hair transplant surgeons and clinics. There are several reasons they give for their dissatisfaction. 1. Underestimating Procedures. Certain surgeons and clinics underestimate the number of procedures necessary to achieve the desired effect. This leads people to have a false hope of having a full head of hair in a very short time. When this does not happen, they are understandably angry. They did not get what they were promised. 2. Underestimating Price. Surgeons usually do give some sort of estimate of the cost of the entire procedure of a hair transplant. A reputable surgeon will emphasize that it is only an estimate and that things may change once the procedures are started. Also, she will give an honest accounting of what she expects the procedure to cost. An unscrupulous surgeon, on the other hand, will distort the facts about his hair transplant procedures. He will try to get the patient started by stating that the price will be very low. He will know all along that the procedures will cost much more, but he will lowball the price anyway just to get the patient started so that they have to finish. 3. Creating Scars. All hair transplant surgery will create small scars. Some people find them unacceptable. They want to wear their hair short, and they see the scar peeking out from under their hair, even if no one else does. Of course, there are also physicians with poor skills who create large scars and people who are prone to scarring. Hair transplant scars are a sore subject for man people. 4. Uneven hairlines. Some people who have hair transplant surgery end up with uneven hairlines. This is caused by the oversight of negligent doctors. If a person gets to work with a reputable surgeon, things like this just do not happen. However, if someone has seen a person with this problem, it will likely turn them off to hair transplant surgery for good. 5. Old-Fashioned Plugs. People with the large plugs that look like doll's hair or toothbrush bristles are still around. While this type of hair transplant is rarely done anymore, the effects are still evident among people of a certain age. If someone who knows one of these people has a balding problem, they are not likely to think of hair transplants. The only way they would is if they have some other, good, experience with them. 6. Doctors Who Put Money above the Patients' Interest. Any doctors who make decisions that are not based on the welfare of his patient are following their Hippocratic Oath in its intentions. Doctors are held to a high standard and when a surgeon tries to convince a patient to get hair transplant surgery when it is not best for him, he is not really acting as a doctor should. The horror stories are out there and many people are aware of them. There is a higher rate of suicide following hair transplant and other cosmetic surgeries. This is partly because the patients are disappointed that their lives do not miraculously change overnight. However, other reasons for their despair are poor results and unscrupulous doctors. People who are afraid of this misery are likely to bow out. What to Do About Bad Hair Transplants If you had a hair transplant operation during past decades, you might not be happy with the result. You may have the type of hair transplant called hair plugs. These make the hair stick up out of your head like the bristles of a toothbrush. If you want to take advantage of modern methods, it is not too late to have more natural-looking hair. The first thing you need to do is to find a hair transplant surgeon who has done many hair transplant repair surgeries. Fixing bad hair transplants is somewhat of a specialty for certain doctors. Your own primary care physician may know of a surgeon who is involved in this sort of work. Otherwise, you can look for ads in the yellow pages to start your search. Contacting professional organizations is also a good idea. Once you have found a doctor or doctors to consider, make sure they let you see examples of their work. It will not be enough to see what they can do with a virgin scalp. You need to see how successful they have been in dealing with problems such as the ones you have. If you cannot see the patients directly, at least ask for a look at some photos. Talk to the surgeon about what can be done to fix your inferior hair transplant job. If you have large hair plugs, ask if the doctor will be removing the plugs. The surgeon may want to take them out, break them up into smaller units, and reinsert them. If your plugs are smaller, he may just want to add some new donor hair to lessen the effect of the doll head look. If cost is an issue with you, discuss it with your surgeon. Cost is a very real problem for many who want to have bad hair transplants fixed. It may be more expensive to do the correction than an original surgery would cost. If you do not have the cash, your doctor can usually point you to several different financing methods. That way, you do not have to come up with the money all at once. Discuss healing with your hair transplant surgeon. Because you may be having plugs removed, you have more healing to do than someone who is having a routine hair transplant. You need to let the plug sites heal as well as the new insertion sites and possible new donor sites. It may take special post-operative care and longer down-time. Ask your doctor if she expects you to have more than one surgery session. You may need to have the plugs removed in one session and allow that to heal before going on to the next phase. Your doctor may not know the answer to this until after she sees how your first surgery has gone. In any case, it is wise to go in expecting that you probably will need more than one hair transplant surgery. Getting a bad hair transplant result is difficult to live with for years as many have done. The fact that there are surgeries that can correct these problems is music to their ears. It is hope they may have never dreamed possible. What Is Hair Transplant Micro Grafting? Hair transplant procedures have changed in the decades since they were first done. The earlier methods of using hair plugs were not satisfactory. People looked like they had doll's heads, with hair sticking out of their hair in clumps. Now hair transplants are more natural looking because of a procedure called micro grafting. Most hair transplant surgeries today involve micro grafting to some degree. Micro grafts hold about three or four hair follicles. Older style hair grafts often held more like a dozen hair roots. These new micro grafts are only possible because skilled surgeons have refined the methods of extracting them. Micro grafts are useful in hair transplant surgery because they can give the hair a quite natural appearance. The hair emerges from the scalp in the most natural way, with the same number of hairs that nature intended. If the procedure is done correctly, no one can tell the difference. Natural looking hairlines have been difficult to achieve with hair transplant surgery. Micro grafts make it possible for a brand-new hairline to be attained that does not call attention to itself in the least. This is quite an accomplishment after the stares that many people endured in the past because of bad hair plugs. However unnoticeable and natural micro grafts appear, they do not give you a full, thick head of hair. For that, many hair transplant surgeons will use micro grafts for the hairline and the front and edges of the hair. Then, they will use mini grafts farther back on the scalp. These mini grafts used in hair transplant surgery contain three to eight shafts of hair. They give the hair fullness in areas where they will not stand out as looking fake. It is a common circumstance to have the mini grafts in the central and crown of the scalp and micro grafts at the hairline and around the edges. If a person had this arrangement after a hair transplant and then shaved the micro grafts, the mini grafts would look decidedly unnatural. However, with the micro grafts on the leading edges, they blend in and give the hair fullness. They serve an important function. Previously, when hair plugs were used, doctors did the hair transplant surgeries much differently. They used an instrument called a trephine to cut circular grafts from 2mm to 5mm in diameter. These plugs were inserted into the balding area. Now, a multi-bladed knife can be used to cut long thin strips of donor tissue. The strip of scalp will be about an inch wide and five inches long. Then, the hair transplant doctor pulls the skin together where this was taken out, and stitches it together. Finally, the micro grafts will be finished by being divided into individual grafts by using a stereomicroscope. The surgical team will make a variety of grafts from eight-shaft mini grafts to one or two shaft micro grafts. These will be moved during hair transplant to the recipient sites so that the hair will have a natural hairline with fullness on top. Hair transplant today would not be the same without the use of micro grafts. They make for more natural-looking results. Also, the pain factor goes down with the use of the smaller grafts. They have proven to be an excellent discovery. What Are the Side Effects of Hair Transplant Surgery? A person with balding problems can gain a great deal of confidence by having hair transplant surgery. The procedure is a fairly easy one for the patient. However, there are some minor complications or side effects that sometimes come with the surgery. 1. Thinning. If you have hair transplant surgery, you might be alarmed if you notice that the hair you already did have is getting thinner. This is a normal post-operative condition. The thickness comes back within a few months after surgery. It will be just as full as it ever was. 2. Bleeding. The hair transplant surgery will likely cause some bleeding. If you put pressure on the area, the bleeding will usually stop. In rare situations, the bleeding does not stop this way. In that case, it might be necessary for the surgeon to do some extra stitching to close the wounds. 3. Pain. There is actually very little pain with hair transplant surgery. About half of the people who have the procedure done will not need any pain relievers at all. Most others take a mild pain reliever such as Tylenol for a few days, and that seems to be enough for them. 4. Itching. It is not unusual for itching to occur on areas affected by hair transplant surgery. Yet, it should not last more than a few days. If you use shampoo and wash the hair every day, it helps with the problem. 5. Swelling. Almost everyone who has hair transplant surgery has swelling in the forehead and around the eyes. This lasts for only a few days, the worst being about the fourth day. Some people exhibit a black eye as a result. 6. Numbness. A hair transplant patient will feel numbness for several weeks after the surgery. It is almost a given. However, it is usually only temporary. 7. Hiccups. Interestingly enough, one side effect of hair transplant surgery is having the hiccups after the procedure. Only about 5% of the patients have this problem, but it can be troublesome if it lasts more than a few days. It can keep you from eating or sleeping properly. Doctors have medications they can prescribe to help with this. 8. Infections. Infections are rare with hair transplant surgery, but they can happen. One reason they do not happen more is that antibiotics are given before and after the procedure to prevent infections from even starting. 9. Cysts. Cysts can come up in the areas where the hair is being transplanted to, also called the recipient areas. The cysts do not usually last more than a few weeks and are rarely more than the size of small pimples. 10. Scarring. If you have keloid scarring after hair transplant surgery, it is probably because you are genetically inclined to have it. Very infrequently, patients have scarring that takes the form of ridges. The side effects of hair transplant surgery are not particularly difficult for the person who has them. They are more like minor inconveniences for most people. The most important thing about them is that nearly all of them will be gone in just a few weeks. Costs and Financing Options for Hair Transplant Procedures? Hair transplant surgery would not be considered cheap by most people. In fact, some people cannot afford to have it done at all. However, a great number of people have the option of getting financing for their procedures. The costs for hair transplant surgery vary from doctor to doctor. They even vary within one doctor's practice. A common quote for hair transplants is between $2 and $10 per graft. The reason for the wide variance is mainly because the price per graft decreases the more grafts you have done. Often, the price per hair transplant session is quoted. This may be a lunchtime session. For example, 200 grafts may be done in a short session for $2000. That equals $10 per graft, of course, but you are getting a special time slot, and a very low number of grafts per session. Prices for specialty hair transplant work tend to be higher as well. For the grafts that are taken from body hair, the price per graft may be anywhere from $12 to $15. Facial hair grafts for those who have lost eyebrows or eyelashes are also high, at $11 to $15. These are specialized procedures. Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplant costs more than micro-grafts. FUE may cost as much as $15 per graft. Mega-sessions in which large numbers of grafts are completed at one time are cheaper per graft. Figured into the fee is the use of highly skilled technicians to help the doctor. Repair work is also done at a per graft price. This includes taking out hair plugs from past hair transplant procedures gone wrong. The price may be around $12 per graft when other grafts are being put in at the same time. If the plugs are just being removed, the price is higher, about $15 per graft. Scar revision surgery is usually done at a flat fee, perhaps around $1000 for the procedure. The normal hair transplant procedure will cost differently depending on the number of grafts even though the cost per graft goes down the more grafts you have. For example, 100 grafts may cost you $1500, while 3000 grafts may cost about $12,000. The price per graft goes down, but the amount of money you have to come up with soars. This is why many people finance their hair transplant surgeries. To get the results they want, they would have to come up with more money than they can gather at one time. Some examples of financing options are credit cards, finance companies, and bank loans. Some finance companies are geared especially to people who are getting cosmetic surgery. They may offer loans with no proof of income, available within a day or two of the application. You can finance your entire hair transplant operation with no down payment. You may get 12 months same as cash or 12% interest on a 36 month loan. Hair transplant is costly, but with the right financing, you can do it if you choose to do it. Financing gives you the opportunity to use the doctor you want to do, have the procedures done as quickly as possible, and have as many procedures done as possible. Styling Secrets of Hair Transplant If you are getting a hair transplant, you probably want to know all about styling methods. From the days before your surgery to the years afterwards, it is good to know all you can about how to care for your hair. If you did not want your hair to look good, you would not have had the hair transplant in the first place. When you are having your consultation with the surgeon, explain the kind of hair style you would like to have. This gives him an idea of how best to create the design of the hair transplant receptor sites on your scalp. It might make a difference in the angle of the hair or the direction of the hair. The doctor will show you before and after pictures of his past hair transplant patients. Do not be discouraged if they all seem to have the same plain haircut in the after pictures. This is often the case when the doctor is trying to be truthful. He will have the patients pose with their hair sans hair styling products like mousse or gel. This is to prevent you from getting a false impression of what a hair transplant can do. Yet, if you use your imagination, you can see how the right style would make the hair transplant look great. Before you go in for your hair transplant surgery, your surgeon will give you some facts about how to care for your hair before the surgery and after. He will emphasize that the hair on your crown should be at least 2cm long. This is so that the donor site scar will be adequately covered up until the sutures heal. Also, the doctor will not tell you to get a haircut. In fact, when getting a hair transplant, the longer your hair is, the better it often works. It hides the sutures and eventually hides any scars you might have. You will be told to use your normal shampoo before the hair transplant surgery. No special scalp treatment will be needed. Do not worry about any scraggly hair on top of your head. The doctor will blend it in with the grafts as he goes. It may seem odd, but once the grafted hairs are set, they are just as strong as the rest of your hair. You can cut them, comb and brush them, and even dye them in time. New hairs start to grow within three months. You will find you need haircuts more often, as your hair will grow about one or two centimeters per month. As for intense styling, your hairdresser can help you with that in about 20 days after your hair transplant surgery. Your grafted hairs are the same as old hairs but they are balding resistant. However, they need special care at first. Your hairdresser should know about hair transplants and understand just what you need to avoid. After a few short weeks, you can treat your hair transplant grafts just like you did your old hair before you lost it. You can style it however you want. You can comb it and use hair care products on it. Do not forget: this is really your own hair.
Preparing for Hair Transplant Surgery Hair transplant can make you look younger and more attractive. Your doctor will need to prepare you for the surgery so that you will know exactly what to do to make the procedure go better. If you follow instructions, you will have a much better outcome. When the doctor sees you a couple of weeks before surgery day, she will go over again exactly what procedure you are getting. The surgery will be explained to you in detail so that it will be fresh in your mind before you make that final commitment. She will go over any problems she sees that might come up during the hair transplant procedure. Then, you will be given instructions to make your hair transplant surgery go better. Some of the items on the list might seem like the doctor is interfering with your life, but they are truly necessary if you are to get the best outcome. You will be told to quit smoking, at least until after you have healed from the surgery, if you are a smoker before the hair transplant procedure. This is important because smoking makes you heal slower by inhibiting blood from flowing to your skin. It may be hard to do, but if you quit smoking just for the surgery, it might not be so hard. Then, once you have done that, you may find that you want to stay off the cigarettes or cigars even after the hair transplant have healed. If not, then at least you will have allowed your skin to heal. You may be given specific guidelines for eating in the weeks leading up to the hair transplant surgery. Excessive drinking may be a problem due to anesthesia and medications you have to take in the course of having your hair transplant done, so you may be asked to refrain from drinking until your head has healed. You may even be told whether or not to take certain vitamins and medications. The doctor will discuss where your hair transplant procedure will take place. She may even have a nurse or helper give you a tour of the facility. It will most likely be a doctor's clinic or an outpatient surgery center. You will be made to feel as comfortable as possible. Unless you are one of a very tiny group, you will not have to stay in the hospital overnight. You will have time to discuss anesthesia with the doctor. She will probably tell you that you will be sedated and given a local anesthesia. This will be enough to help you relax and keep pain from being a part of the hair transplant procedure. You will only feel pressure on your scalp. Finally, you will be told to make arrangement to be taken home on the day of the hair transplant surgery. You will not be fit to drive because of the sedation; at least, it would not be wise to do so. Since you probably need to take it easy the first day or two, you might want to ask someone to stay with you, although that is purely optional. If you follow all your doctor's recommendations, you will be thoroughly prepared for you hair transplant surgery when the day comes. It is a big deal to you, so you might as well treat it with the seriousness it deserves. How You Can Avoid Dishonest Hair Transplant Doctors It is easy to assume that any doctor will do everything in his power to do right by you. However, it would be naive to think that there are no hair transplant doctors that are dishonestly trying to use you to make money and nothing more. There are a few things to take into consideration. 1. Watch out for high pressure tactics. One example is when a promotion is run guaranteeing a special price if you schedule your procedure by a certain date. Most reputable doctors charge a fair price for the hair transplant surgery and so do not need to discount it. Another example is when you go in and the doctor or other people in his office will not take no for an answer. Any good doctor knows the decision is yours to make. 2. Try not to use a doctor who starts you off with a salesman or other person who has nothing to do with the health occupations. You need a person with good training to show you all you need to make your mind up about the surgery. You do not need a person whose only agenda is to sell you on getting hair transplant procedures done. 3. You should start to get concerned if your doctor has no specific good stories to tell about hair transplant surgery they have done. You need to see before and after photos. You need a way to contact former patients. If at all possible, you need to be able to visit with patients the doctor has treated so they can show you the results in person. You are not asking too much -- it is a major commitment you are making. 4. If your doctor says to try a few hair transplant grafts and then decide, run. This is never a good idea. Once you start having the grafts done, you are committing to a full set of procedures. Otherwise, your hair will end up looking out of balance. 5. Do not get involved with a doctor who does not listen. A good doctor knows how important the hair transplant is to you. He will listen to your questions about hair transplant and provide intelligent answers. He will also try to find out what your goals are to see if they are realistic. 6. Keep it realistic. If the doctor says the hair transplant will cost an exorbitant amount of time or money, be wary. You should have a basic idea of the going rates before you make this decision. On the other hand, if the doctor talks about how little it will cost and how quick and easy it will be, be suspicious of that too. The answer should lie somewhere in the middle. 7. Not all hair transplant stories are good ones. If the doctor you consult with claims that his are, you cannot trust what he says. Virtually every doctor has some procedure that has gone wrong to some degree. A good doctor will admit this and provide a plan to avoid it. There are hair transplant stories that would make most people think twice about having the surgery. However, it is not a good representation of the fine work that most hair restoration surgeons are doing. Just make sure you find one of those good surgeons. How to Take Care after Hair Transplant Surgery Once you have made the decision to have hair transplant surgery, you are probably jumping ahead to thinking about your post-op plans. You most likely cannot wait to see the faces on your friends and acquaintances when they notice your new full head of hair. In the meantime, you have to go through the surgery and take care so that your hair transplant will be successful. Your hair transplant will not heal unless you keep the newly operated-on skin out of the sunlight. The surgery will make the skin especially sensitive. If you protect the skin on your scalp after getting a scalp hair transplant, you will help the wounds heal much faster. You can start out by getting some kind of hat. It does not matter what kind of hat it is, as long as it is fairly loose-fitting so that it does not rub on your new hair transplant grafts. You should not have to put up with this for long. After a couple of weeks, you can replace the cap with sunscreen. It should have an SPF of at least 30. Having just the right amount of blood flow to the hair transplant sites will make a big difference in how fast they heal. For example, you need to make sure you get enough blood flow during the night. You can do this by sleeping on pillows to elevate your head. Your usual pillows can be used, or you can buy wedge-shaped pillows made for this purpose. On the other hand, you do not want too much blood flow. You should get plenty of rest after your hair transplant surgery. For the first few weeks it is not wise to engage in any physically demanding activities. Then, the blood flow will be too much. Your transplants may start to bleed. It is important to clean your hair just as your doctor recommends after hair transplant surgery. You will be given a special shampoo to use and specific instructions on how and when to use it. It is necessary to clean gently but thoroughly. At first, you may find yourself rinsing your hair many times a day. Just be sure that you do not bother the hair transplant site by scratching or rubbing it. Your hair transplant doctor will want you to come in for a check of your transplants about a week after your surgery. Be sure to be at that appointment on time. If you have any questions about how to care for your hair, bring them up at that time. Ask your doctor when you will be ready to use a comb on your new hair. You might be surprised at how soon you can use one. Then, your doctor will schedule other check-ups, which you should also attend. At first it may seem as if you have to be very careful with your hair -- and you do! It does not make sense to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars having your hair transplant surgery and then not follow through with good care. However, in no time at all, you will be treating this new hair just as you treated the hair you once had there. How to Find a Good Hair Transplant Surgeon There is no law in the US that requires a doctor to have any special credentials to perform hair transplant surgery, other than basic licensing as a physician. This leaves many potential candidates for the surgery in the dark. It is difficult to know the difference between a good hair transplant surgeon and an inexperienced one. If you know someone who has had hair transplant surgery, you have at least one person to whom you can go for advice. You will know from looking at their hair whether the job was done well. You can ask the person whether you were treated professionally. That person will also know how much the total cost was, and if there were any hidden fees. You might not know anyone who has had a hair transplant procedure. In this case, you might go to the telephone directory. This is just a starting point. Many of the doctors who advertise there are simply trying to start up a practice in the field. They may have little or no experience. This is just a way to get names that you can check out. When you contact a hair restoration surgeon, ask to see a portfolio of patients' photos before and after hair transplant surgery. You should be suspicious if you are shown less than a dozen or so sets of pictures. This may mean the doctor does not have much experience to brag about. The pictures should be of good quality so that you can really see what kind of job was done. Next, ask for names and phone numbers of patients the surgeon has treated. A doctor who has done many successful hair transplant procedures will have a list of people willing to talk about their experience. You can call each one and ask about how the procedure went for them. Be aware that not all hair transplant doctors are scrupulous businesspeople. Many will try to fool you into believing they are more experienced than they are. Sometimes, they will try to make you believe they do better work than they do. They will show you pictures that are not true examples of their own work. They might show you photos that they have taken using lighting tricks to make the hair look thicker and healthier than it is. It is often hard to spot such tricks, but knowing that some surgeons do them will help you to watch out for them. You will get some good advice if you go to certain associations for assistance. The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons will give you information on surgeons that are affiliated with them. The American Academy of Dermatology is another fine institution that has data on hair transplant surgeons. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is known for supporting good cosmetic surgery, which hair transplant procedures are. Finally, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery deals exclusively with these types of procedures. It can be quite difficult to find the right surgeon to do your hair transplant procedure. Do not give up. There are plenty of skilled surgeons who can perform these operations well. You just need to take the time you need to find them. Are Women Good Candidates for Hair Transplant Surgery? Balding is not just a men's problem; women often lose hair as they get older as well. You might wonder, if that is the case, why more women do not have hair transplant surgery. You may be surprised to know that many women are not good candidates. Women usually have a different type of hair loss than men. Male pattern baldness uncovers parts of the top of the head. However, the sides and back of the head are usually covered with healthy balding-resistant hair follicles. Men with this pattern of balding will have donor hair that survives the hair transplant process and flourishes long afterward. That is because a naturally-occurring enzyme in the body combines with testosterone to create a chemical called DHT. This chemical is responsible for the hair loss on the tops of men's heads when they have male pattern baldness. However, it does not affect the back and sides of their hair in most cases. These areas have healthy hair follicles and make excellent donor sites for hair transplant surgery. These are called stable sites because they remain unchanged over time rather than shrinking like the hair follicles affected by DHT do. Female pattern baldness is different. In most cases, they do not have large areas of stable balding-resistant hair follicles. The sides and back of their hair tends to thin just as the front and top of the head do. The DHT affects all the areas of their hair. Any hair follicles that are affected by DHT will simply fall out if they are moved by hair transplant procedures. Moving them from one place to another does not affect the basic nature of the hair follicle. Also, women do not have the problem of receding hairlines in most cases. Their hair is lost in a more diffuse manner, thinning uniformly all over the head. It is not so much where their hair is that is the problem, but how much they have. Hair transplant surgery will not correct this problem. It is best used to move hair from one place to another. There is a very small percentage -- about 5% of all women with baldness problems -- who are good candidates for hair transplant surgery. The thing that all these women have in common is that they all have healthy areas of hair follicles that can be used as donor sites. For example, women with mechanical or traction Alopecia have lost their hair because they have scratched their head for a long period of time, they have used tight rollers or their hair has been pulled or stretched in any manner. These women almost always have an area of their hair that is unaffected. If they do, they can have hair transplant procedures. Some women have cosmetic surgery and suffer hair loss around the incision sites. In these cases, hair transplant surgery can help. Other women actually have a pattern of hair loss that is similar to male pattern baldness. These women are able to have the surgery, too. Finally, women who have suffered trauma from accidents or burns are good candidates for hair transplant procedures. If you are a woman with balding problems, is worth the time to consult with a doctor to find out if you are one of the women who can benefit from hair transplant surgery. How Surgeons Hide Donor Scars during Hair Transplant Surgery Hair transplant procedures leave scars. It is just a fact of life. However, if the surgeries are handled in the proper manner, the scars are barely noticeable. They are thin to the point that they can barely be seen in most cases. Skilled doctors have ways of making the scars practically disappear. First of all, the surgeon must be very skilled in choosing the site of the path where he harvests the donor tissue for the hair transplant. Its width should be no more than one centimeter in most instances. This allows the scalp to close completely when sutured back into place. If the hair transplant procedure is done well, the scar will not be noticeable even if the patient likes to wear his hair in a short style. The scar will only become unsightly if the patient is genetically predisposed to keloid scarring. People who have this kind of problem need special treatment. If a patient is known to suffer from keloid scarring, the first thing a reputable doctor will do before hair transplant surgery is to explain the possibility of unsightly scars. This requires a very honest surgeon, since the patient may decide the procedure is not worth the scarring it will cause. The next step with such a patient would be to discuss ways the keloid could be covered. It could be camouflaged by wearing the hair just a little longer. Other patients have rubbery skin that stretches too much and so causes wide donor scars. These two groups add up to about 5% of the patients who have hair transplant surgery. The other 95% of patients have no problems with their tiny scars at all. The hair transplant doctors are able to keep the donor strips very thin. They also use a double layer closure method to help the skin heal properly. As long as the surgeon knows what she is doing, the scars are a minor consideration. Another aspect of scarring is when doctors go in for multiple hair transplant surgeries. A new strip of donor tissue has to be taken each time to supply the grafts for the new transplant. It would seem that this would lead to a large number of scars on the back and sides of the head. Actually, there is a hair transplant procedure that keeps the scarring to one thin line. It consists of cutting the new thin donor strip immediately above the original scar. In most cases, the old scar is removed at the same time. When the wound is stitched up, the entire area of both the old scar and the new cut are sewn into one line. If multiple surgeries are done, this procedure is used every time. Hair transplant surgery leaves scars. That much is certain. If you are one of the unlucky few who scar easily, you might have scars big enough that you have to hide them. Yet, if you are like most people, you will not have scars that anyone will notice at all. How Many Hair Transplant Grafts Do You Need? When you shop for a hair transplant surgeon, you will find that different doctors give widely varying estimates of the number of grafts you will need. This can make you very uncertain about the wisdom of even getting a hair transplant. It helps to have a fair idea of what to expect. Unfortunately, there are hair transplant surgeons who do not take their position of respect seriously. Some doctors are even transplanting donor hair into areas where the patient still has hair. Perhaps this is easier than placing it where it rightfully belongs -- on the balding spots. For whatever reason, some hair transplant patients are not getting the number of grafts on their balding areas as they are billed. This is testified by certain doctors who have seen the results. The density of hair on these patients' heads is not commensurate with the number of grafts they supposedly got. The best hope a patient has of getting what he pays for in a hair transplant is to learn to calculate the number of grafts he needs to cover his balding area. If the surgeon he sees is not in that ballpark, it may be wiser to look for another surgeon. If however, the surgeon estimates a similar number, just make sure all the grafts go onto the balding parts of your scalp. To calculate the number of grafts you need for hair transplant surgery, there are several factors to take into account. The thickness of the hair shaft makes a difference. Whether the hair is curly or straight determines if the hair will lie flat or stand up, creating more fullness. Another important factor for hair transplant is the color of the hair in contrast to the color of the skin. For a light-skinned man with light-colored hair, or a dark-skinned man with dark colored hair, it takes a certain amount of hair to cover the baldness. However, a light-skinned man with very dark hair will need much more hair to provide the same amount of coverage. You should figure that the average number of hair transplant grafts needed to cover a balding area is 25% of the original hair that was there. You can move up or down from this figure according to your other factors such as thickness, curliness, or color. Then, you can use this number to figure up the grafts needed. Based on the fact that the average Caucasian male has a density of 2 hairs per millimeter, it can be assumed that the average density of hair is 1250 hairs per square inch. Figuring at an average of 2 hairs per follicular unit, it would take 625 follicular units per square inch. To get 25% of that, you would need 156 follicular units per square inch. All that remains is to measure your balding area and multiply the number of square inches by 156. When you know what number of grafts to expect during your hair transplant surgery, you will be a savvy consumer. It does not hurt one bit go into the process with an idea of your own about how the treatment should go. How Are Eyebrow Hair Transplant Procedures Different? It is not unusual for men to have hair transplant surgery for male pattern baldness. Even female baldness is discussed on commercials for hair transplant clinics. A less common use of hair transplant surgery is to replace eyebrow hair. However, this procedure is quite different from other hair transplant surgeries. It is important to replace eyebrow hair that has fallen out because it is such an integral part of the human face. People realize that men have receding hair lines and balding on the tops of their heads. It is not out of the ordinary to see a woman with thinning hair. Yet, look at a person without eyebrows and the effect will be disturbing. Eyebrows are just expected. Some people have hair transplant surgery to their eyebrows because the hair has simply fallen out over time. Others have thyroid disease or other diseases that affect their hair. A certain type of alopecia results in eyebrow loss. Excessive plucking can be a problem, too. Burns, tattoos, and infections can cause the eyebrow hair to fall out, and some people just are not able to grow eyebrows at all. Hair transplant surgery for eyebrows is different because eyebrows are different from scalp hair. For one thing, the hair has a distinct growth pattern with each section of the eyebrow pointing in a different direction. The hair forms a sharp angle so that it grows out and then flat to the face. Scalp hair has a much gentler angle. Eyebrow hairs do not grow in the same type of follicular units as scalp hair. Rather than growing in groups of one to four hairs, they are simply single strands of hair. You can see this if you look carefully in the mirror at your eyebrows. Hair transplant methods have to take this fact into account. When doctors do hair transplant surgery to replace eyebrows, they have to make sure that they put the hairs in so that they will point in the natural hair direction. For this, the surgeons use very fine gauge needles. They must also use this to help the hair to lie flat. Because the eyebrow hair is made of individual hairs, hair transplant surgery must involve creating those single units of hair. To do this, hair is taken from the scalp, just as in other hair transplant procedures. Then, the follicular units are divided into individual hair grafts. This is done with a stereomicroscope. Inserting these micro-grafts is a very tricky business. Creating the correct angles is difficult. If the patient does not have straight hair, her curly hair must be inserted by rotating it so that it lies even with the curve of the brow that is being made. One drawback to eyebrow hair transplant surgery is that eyebrow hair, which usually does not grow, will grow and need to be cut because it is actually scalp hair. Also, when the wounds heal, the lay of the eyebrows may change and not be so natural. However, if you need hair transplant surgery to replace your eyebrows, it is usually a much better alternative than other choices you have. Eyebrows drawn in with eyebrow pencil do not look natural at all, and the option of going without eyebrows is unthinkable to many people. Hair transplant surgery may just be your best bet. Hair Transplant Procedures for Young Men There was a time when no one would even think of doing hair transplant surgery on young men. It was agonizing for this group of young people because thinning, balding, and receding hairlines often started before they got out of their teens. Now the procedure is being opened to young men -- but with restrictions. Because losing hair at such a young age is very traumatic, hair transplant doctors do not like to go along with the patients' snap decisions. After an in-depth consultation, the doctor will do everything in his power to put off the surgery. He will ask the patient to come back for a final consultation in six months or so. Many doctors will refuse to do immediate hair transplants if they are put to the test. There are advantages to getting hair transplant surgery under the age of 25. Most of these patients are healthy. They do not usually take medications. They are often optimistic and have the motivation required to make the commitment needed for what may end up being lifelong treatment. When a young man gets a hair transplant procedure, it can avert many problems with low self esteem and lack of self confidence. With older men, these attitudes are already ingrained so that it takes some doing to change them. If the hair restoration is started early enough, the young patient need never feel the stigma of being bald for very long at all. A doctor who is skilled in doing hair transplant procedures on young people will do some investigation before tackling such a project. He will ask to see members of the family to assess their hair loss and how the young person might inherit hair loss traits from the family. If family members cannot be present, the doctor might ask for photos. One trick of doctors, who work to give young people hair transplant surgeries, is to guide them in setting the hairline. A young person will usually want a fairly low hairline. He remembers the way it was just a few short years ago and wants to duplicate the image. A good hair transplant surgeon will discourage a low hairline. Instead, he will campaign for a higher hairline. There are several advantages to this. One is that, with less top hair to cover, more donor hair will be saved. Since the young patient will be dealing with this problem for a long time, this is a necessary consideration. When the hair transplant surgeon achieves a higher hairline, he will be able to get more fullness on the top of the head because he has less to cover. This is not to say the young person will have a receding hairline when the procedure is complete; just that the hairline will not be too low. There is no reason for young people to enter adulthood without a full head of hair if they can get a hair transplant. This option is now open to them. It is bound to make many young men very happy. How Hair Is Inserted in Hair Transplant Surgery Hair transplant surgery begins, after anesthesia is applied, with removing donor tissue. Follicular units are then extracted from the tissue using a stereomicroscope. This is all done by skilled nurses and technicians. The insertion of the hair into the receptor sites comes later. Once the follicular units for the hair transplant are dissected out of the donor tissue, technicians set them aside in a saline solution. The temperature must be ideal or the small grafts will not survive the procedure. This is done very carefully in order to ensure a good result. The surgeon will make tiny incisions into the scalp where the hair transplant grafts are to go. These are called the receptor sites. They are made with a very thin surgical needle. The surgeon must have an eye for detail to properly set the receptor sites. He must also be very artistic to achieve a natural look, especially at the hairline. The direction the hair grows, both on the front of the head and at the crown, are very important, too. The doctor must make the condition of the newly placed hair look like the patient's own natural scalp hair. The angle that the hair is put in determines how much it will stand up from the head. Once the surgeon has made all the hair transplant incisions that lay out the design he has created, the specially trained surgical team steps in. They use his plan to accomplish his goals, and in turn the goals of the patient. The groundwork is done for them by the surgeon when he does his incisions. The surgical team takes care to get every hair transplant graft into the receptor sites as they have been laid out. They waste no time, though, because the small grafts are vulnerable when their follicles are outside of the skin. The goal is to get the grafts in as quickly as possible while staying true to the design. Next, the doctor looks over the hair transplant for quality control. He may take a good deal of time tweaking the placement of grafts before he is satisfied that they are all set properly into their receptor sites in a pleasing fashion. When he gives the ok, the surgical technicians again take over the patient's care. The grafts will be more permanently set into place when the technicians dry them by blowing a cool blow dryer across them. This makes them adhere in their place so that no bandages are necessary. The patient will be asked to bring, or will be given, a baseball cap for the ride home from the hair transplant procedure. The doctor will want to see how the grafts are doing the day following the hair transplant. The patient will go in for a check-up so that any problems can be corrected quickly. If that is not possible, at least plans can be made to correct them at a future time. The doctor will have done his job with the hair transplant procedure at this point. All that remains is periodic checkups. If the hair loss is extensive, there may be more procedures, but all the hair transplant surgeries will be done with the same amount of care. How Are Follicular Units Used in Hair Transplant Surgery? Certain doctors have been aware of follicular units for a long time now, but the knowledge only recently made its way into hair transplant methods. Now these ideas are being used in hair restoration every day. To understand how follicular units have affected hair transplant surgery practices, it is necessary to first understand what a follicular unit is. A follicular unit is a single entity that is made up of several parts. All these parts are necessary to the whole. The first part, and the one most people getting hair transplant surgery are interested in, is the hairs. There should be one to four full hair follicles in the unit and one or two fine hairs as well. There are sebaceous glands in the follicular unit which produce oil. The follicular unit is a living unit with muscle, nerves and blood vessels that are all tiny enough to fit into this small package. The unit is set off by a band of collagen that holds it together. If you look under a microscope at a scalp, you can see follicular units growing in just this way. The idea of bringing this information into hair transplant procedures led to innovative surgical methods. Rather than just moving around individual hair follicles, surgeons actually moved a unit which contained everything the hair needed to keep growing. The results were ground-breaking. One way surgeons used to move the donor follicular units to the balding areas was by single strip harvesting. This is done by moving small strips of tissue containing follicular units. This method keeps the units intact and ready to transplant. Earlier methods such as mini-grafting and micro-grafting broke up the follicular units. As a part of the hair transplant process with Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), a new microscope technique was used. It is called stereomicroscopic dissection. This means that the follicular units are carefully taken out of the donor tissue and kept individually intact. When doctors use hair transplant procedures with FUT, they do not have to use quite as large of a donor site. The follicular units are small and they can be separated from tissue that has no hair, under the microscope. That way, only the tissue that grows hair is transplanted. It is a much more efficient procedure in that way. Follicular units placed during hair transplant procedures are put into tiny holes the size of needles. The insertion sites heal quickly, and they leave no marks. This makes for a much more comfortable recovery and better results. FUT hair transplant procedures can make a big difference in the number of times a patient will have to go back for more treatments. More grafts can be done at one session, so that the patient has to go back fewer times. This is more convenient to patients. Hair transplant done using follicular unit procedures is becoming more and more the norm. Possibly this is because it puts hair into the scalp in the same arrangement as it grows there naturally. This represents a leap forward in hair transplant technology. Hair Cloning Research for Hair Transplant Procedures The future of hair transplant procedures is in the laboratories at this very time. Scientists are working together to find a way to make the surgery work for more people. They also want to see it work better for the types of people who have hair transplants today. One area of research is hair cloning. Hair cloning promises to be a revolutionary procedure that would give people with little hair a chance to have hair transplant surgeries. It would do this by multiplying the hair a patient already has rather than using up the good hair that still exists on the patient's head. Hair cloning is done by taking stem cells, or dermal papilla cell, and cloning them in a laboratory setting. They are then multiplied and combined. The end result is an increase in the number of hairs available for hair transplant. Not only is hair cloning possible, it has been proven in many scientific studies. Recently one group of researchers did a culture whereby they multiplied the number of dermal papilla cells. With this being possible, hair cloning is a single step away. Hair transplant procedures that use cloned hair are farther off, though. The research cannot be done as to whether these hairs can safely and effectively be transplanted onto a person's scalp yet. First, they cloning process will have to be completely perfected. Only then can the hair transplant trials begin. More research needs to be done to find out which hair cells can be used for hair cloning and then hair transplant procedures. Some of the available cells go through several stages before ending in cell death in a very short time. These cells would not be adequate for use with hair transplant surgery. There seem to be other cells which last longer and would work for this application. A scientist named Dr. Gho has done some work and acquired a Dutch patent on his work with hair multiplication. It is unclear whether this is much like hair cloning or not. That is because Dr. Gho neglects to submit his findings to be published in medical journals. Without review by other doctors, Gho's theories cannot be tried and evaluated. Certain types of auto-immune diseases, such as alopecia areata can now be treated by means of hair transplant techniques by using the donor strip method. Yet, in the future, hair cloning will make hair transplant easier for these people who often have very little hair to use for grafts. Some people believe that hair transplant grafts using cloned hair would be about the same cost as the usual hair transplants that are available today. Other experts believe that the price will be much higher -- perhaps three or four times per graft higher -- because of the specialized methods required to do the work. Hair cloning is probably not as far away as one might think. It might be ready for use with hair transplant procedures as soon as five years from now, or even sooner. If you are considering getting a hair transplant but you want to wait awhile, hair cloning is something to think about. The History of Hair Transplant Hair transplant procedures have come a long way in recent decades. The results surgeons can get with the new areas of hair on a patient's previously balding areas are better than they have ever been before. It is amazing that this first started with a doctor who wanted to transplant hair to give people new eyebrows. Dr. Okuda of Japan was busy trying to transplant hair to the eyelashes and eyebrows of people who had lost them traumatically. This was before World War II. When the war broke out, his discovery of hair transplant procedures was squelched until two decades later. In 1959, Dr. Norman Orentreich began a new field of surgery when he published on the use of hair transplant surgery. It was during this decade that doctors had begun to try moving balding-proof hair follicles to the balding areas of patients' heads. They used hair from the fringe, or back and sides of the head, to accomplish this. The doctors were trying to determine whether hair follicles were balding resistant because of where they were located on the head or because of something inherent in the follicles themselves. This would settle the issue of whether hair transplant would work by those methods. After their trials, they got the answer: the hair follicles themselves made the difference in the life of the hair and not where they were placed on the scalp. They termed this phenomenon Donor Dominance. Hair transplant surgery was on the horizon. Doctors started doing hair transplant procedures immediately. They began with a method that was somewhat flawed. While they did use their idea about moving hair from the sides and back of the head to the balding areas, they did not have pleasing results. These hair transplant procedures in the 1960s and 1970s used a method where 15-25 hairs were grafted in a round plug pattern. These plugs were both conspicuous and unsightly. They looked quite unnatural; if a person had hair plugs, everyone knew it. They were not only unbecoming, they were also permanent. Improvements were made in hair transplant surgery in the 1980s. Mini-grafts were better, but they still had the appearance of plugs, albeit smaller plugs. These were made up of 5-8 hairs each. This size of plugs is still being used by some surgeons even today. As time has gone by, the graft used by most surgeons has gone down. The hair transplant of grafts between 1-8 hairs is the norm. Up to 800 grafts can be done in one sitting now. There is still room for improvement, though, as the results still do not look completely natural as they should. A new method of hair transplant that is being used by some doctors today is follicle-unit micro-grafting. In this procedure, grafts are made up of 1-4 hairs and are placed over the balding area. This is the usual number of hairs in follicles on a healthy head of hair. By inserting thousands of these follicular units, surgeons can give the appearance of natural hair and hairline. Hair transplant surgery has reached a level where it can produce a result that is virtually undetectable to most people. Over the course of several decades, it has changed from an experimental procedure to one that is used frequently and successfully.
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