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What Is A Hair Transplant? Hair Loss Plus Replacement Guide

A hair implant or hair transplant can be done to add more hair value to an area on your head that may be thinning or balding. By taking hair from thicker parts of the scalp, or other parts of the body. And then grafting it to the thinning or balding section of the scalp. Worldwide, about 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women experience some form of hair loss.

In that case, to address this, people often use over-the-counter products. Including topical treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine). In short, it’s another body restoration method to a former beauty glory. For your information, thinning hair refers to minor to moderate hair loss. Notably, unlike widespread hair loss, thinning hair doesn’t necessarily cause baldness.

It does, however, give the appearance of thinner spots of hair on your head. On the other side, hair loss (alopecia) can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions, or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it’s more common in men.

All in all, like good health and youth, most of us take our locks for granted — that is until they’re gone. For many people, a hair transplant can help bring back what looks like a full — or at least a fuller — head of artificially implanted hair. If thinning up top or going bald really bothers you, the procedure can be one way to feel more confident about your looks.

What A Hair Transplant Procedure Basically Means

To begin with, a hair transplant is a type of surgery that moves hair you already have to fill an area with thin or no hair. Doctors have been doing these transplants in the U.S. since the 1950s, but techniques have changed a lot in recent years. Be that as it may, before you involve yourself, talk with your doctor about what you can expect during and after the surgery.

It’s, important to realize, that besides the initial hair transplant procedure, you might need another procedure later on if you continue to lose hair or decide you want thicker hair. After the surgery, your scalp may be very tender. You may need to take pain medications for several days. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages over your scalp for at least a day or two.

They may also prescribe an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory drug for you to take for several days. Most people are able to return to work 2 to 5 days after the operation. Within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out, but you should start to notice new growth within a few months. Most people will see 60% of new hair growth after 6 to 9 months.

Some Baldness Plus Hair Loss Symptoms To Know About

Typically, baldness is excessive hair loss from the scalp with the most common cause being age and hereditary. Some people prefer to let their hair loss run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats, or scarves. Still, others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss or restore growth.

Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Eventually, most people typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. Usually, this isn’t noticeable because new hair is growing at the same time. Hair loss occurs when new hair doesn’t replace the hair that has fallen out.

The most common causes are:
  • Family history (heredity). The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition that happens with aging. This condition is called androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness, and female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.
  • Hormonal changes and medical conditions. A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid problems. Medical conditions include alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh), which is immune system related and causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh).
  • Medications and supplements. Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure.
  • Radiation therapy to the head. The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.
  • A very stressful event. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.
  • Hairstyles and treatments. Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot-oil hair treatments and permanents also can cause hair to fall out. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent.

Basically, a number of factors can increase your risk of hair loss, including a family history of balding on your mother’s or father’s side, age, significant weight loss, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and lupus, stress, poor nutrition, and much more. That said, there are some notable signs and symptoms of hair loss that you can always be on a watch out for.

Such valid signs and symptoms include:
  • Gradual thinning on top of the head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting people as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede at the hairline on the forehead. Women typically have a broadening of the part in their hair. An increasingly common hair loss pattern in older women is a receding hairline (frontal fibrosing alopecia).
  • Circular or patchy bald spots. Some people lose hair in circular or patchy bald spots on the scalp, beard, or eyebrows. Your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
  • Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This usually causes overall hair thinning but is temporary.
  • Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back.
  • Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling, and, at times, oozing.

So, the next question is when to see a doctor medically if you notice some hair loss. Well, see your doctor if you are distressed by persistent hair loss in you or your child and want to pursue treatment. For women who are experiencing a receding hairline (frontal fibrosing alopecia), talk with your doctor about early treatment to avoid significant permanent baldness.

Additionally, you should also talk to your doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your or your child’s hair. Whilst, bearing in mind, that sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. Thus, it’s worth talking to your doctor in order to determine the actual cause.

What Does A Hair Transplant Process Usually Entail?

Thinning hair happens gradually, which means you have time to pinpoint the causes and figure out the best treatment measures. Out there, plenty of products promise to increase volume or help you grow more hair. But most aren’t all that effective. Be that as it may, the best way to add or increase hair to an area can be with a hair transplant from an expert.

Hair transplant or simply hair transplantation is a surgical technique that removes hair follicles from one part of the body, called the ‘donor site’, to a bald or balding part of the body known as the ‘recipient site’. The technique is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. But, as aforementioned, before pursuing any hair loss treatment, talk with your doctor first.

In particular, so that you can know the actual cause of your hair loss and treatment options. The first transplant was performed in 1939 in Japan with single scalp hairs. In the following decades, physicians developed the “plug” technique. This involves transplanting large tufts of hair. Over time, surgeons began using mini- and micro-grafts to minimize the outlook.

Related Resource: Why Do Men Go Bald And How To Treat Hair Loss

Especially, to cover up the appearance of transplanted hair on the scalp. In this minimally invasive procedure, grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding (like the back of the head) are transplanted to the bald scalp.

In addition, hair transplantation can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest hair, and pubic hair. As well as to help fill in scars caused by accidents or correct surgical procedures like face-lifts and previous hair transplants.

What is Hair Transplant?

For your information, hair transplantation differs from skin grafting just to be sure. And now, as you can see from the above illustration, these two terms usually differ from each other in this way: In that grafts contain almost all of the epidermis and dermis surrounding the hair follicle. Whereby, many tiny grafts are often transplanted rather than a single strip of skin.

Does A Hair Transplant Really Work?

It’s important to realize, hair transplants don’t work for everyone. For one thing, they’re mainly used to restore hair if you’re balding or thinning naturally or have lost hair due to an injury. Hair transplants are typically more successful than over-the-counter hair restoration products. This is because the hair transplant procedure is often carried out by a qualified professional.

Anywhere from 10 to 80 percent of the transplanted hair will fully grow back in an estimated three to four months. And, just like regular hair, the transplanted hair will thin over time. People with dormant hair follicles (sacs that usually contain hair beneath the skin but no longer grow hair) may see less effective results when it comes to hair transplants.

A 2016 study suggests that plasma therapy can help up to 75 percent. Or rather, with more of the transplanted hairs fully growing back. Most transplants are done with your existing hair. So, they’re not as effective for treating a certain group of people. Especially those people with widespread thinning and baldness or hair loss due to chemotherapy or other medications.

As well as those people with thick scalp scars from injuries. But, how much does a hair transplant cost? Well, there’s no clear-cut or simple answer to this question. Since both treatment and recovery come at a price, and both have multiple factors that will affect the total cost of the transplant. Also, the hair transplant expert will highly determine the overall result.

How The Hair Transplant Procedure Works

Eventually, thinning hair may be caused by lifestyle habits, genetics, or both. Certain medical conditions may also lead to thinning hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it’s normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs per day. Any more than this means you could be shedding more than you should. Lifestyle habits are also a key contributor to thinning hair.

Some of these include:
  • Over-treating your hair. This includes color treatments, perms, relaxers, and more.
  • Using harsh hair products, such as extreme-hold hair sprays and gels. Temporary color can also be harsh on your hair.
  • Wearing your hair up too tightly. Whether you’re wearing an up-do or pulling your hair up in a ponytail for working out, this can tug on your hair and break it from the follicles, causing thin spots over time.
  • Not getting enough iron, folic acid, and other minerals in your diet. These all help follicles produce hair naturally.
  • Experiencing uncontrolled stress. Stress is related to an uptick in hormones like cortisol. Too many stress hormones may kill off new hairs that are trying to grow from the hair follicles.

Thinning hair is sometimes confused with alopecia, which is widespread hair loss. While thinning hair may eventually lead to hair loss, these two entities aren’t necessarily the same thing. Not forgetting, thinning hair may also be hereditary and, at times, even related to the aging factor. As well as other underlying medical considerations that can lead to this condition.

Thinning can occur if you:
  • recently had a baby
  • stop taking birth control pills
  • are going through hormonal changes
  • have lost more than 20 pounds in a short amount of time
  • are being treated for an autoimmune disease
  • have immune system deficiencies
  • have a skin disorder or infection

Less commonly, thinning hair may be caused by pulling at your own hair, eating disorders, a high fever, and the like…

How A Professional Hair Transplant Procedure Works

Simply put, a hair transplant takes the hair you have and transfers it to an area where you don’t have hair. It’s typically taken from the back of your head, but can also be taken from other parts of your body. There are two types of hair transplant procedures where your surgeon performs either the FUT or FUE procedures. Most cases of thinning hair are treatable at home.

Usually, after the consultation stage, you’ll have the procedure in the doctor’s office. First, the surgeon cleans your scalp and injects medicine to numb the back of your head. Not to mention, your doctor will choose one of two methods for the transplant: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) to be precise — with different costs.

With FUSS, the surgeon removes a 6- to 10-inch strip of skin from the back of your head. They set it aside and sew the scalp closed. This area is immediately hidden by the hair around it. Next, the surgeon’s team divides the strip of removed scalp into 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts, each with an individual hair or just a few hairs. The number and type of graft you get will depend.

Related Resource: The Battle Against Baldness Minoxidil And Finasteride

In regard to your hair type, quality, color, and the size of the area where you’re getting the transplant. If you’re getting the FUE procedure, the surgeon’s team will shave the back of your scalp. Then, the doctor will remove hair follicles one by one from there. The area heals with small dots, which your existing hair will cover.

After that point, both procedures are the same. After they prepare the grafts, the surgeon cleans and numbs the area where the hair will go, creates holes or slits with a scalpel or needle, and delicately places each graft in one of the holes. They’ll probably get help from other team members to plant the grafts, too. Per the transplant size, the process is about 4-8 hours.

Be that as it may, you can consider these key options for treating thinning hair at home and talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Notably, before starting a transplant, your surgeon sterilizes the area where the hair will be removed. And then numbs it with a local anesthetic. You can also request sedation in order to stay asleep for the procedure.

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

FUT is sometimes known as follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS). To perform a FUT procedure, your surgeon follows these steps:

  1. Using a scalpel, the surgeon removes a piece of your scalp, usually from the back of your head
  2. The strip size is typically about 6 to 10 inches long but can stretch from ear to ear
  3. They close the area where the scalp was removed with stitches
  4. Your surgeon and their assistants separate the scalp strip into smaller pieces with a scalpel
  5. They may split the piece up into as many as 2,000 smaller fragments, called grafts
  6. Some of these grafts may contain only one hair each
  7. Using a needle or blade, the surgeon makes small holes in your scalp where hair will be transplanted
  8. The surgeon inserts hairs from the removed piece of scalp into the puncture holes (grafting step)
  9. They then cover the surgical sites with bandages or gauze
  10. You’ll also be given some check-up schedules for a follow-up
The specific number of grafts you receive depends on the:
  • type of hair you have
  • size of the transplant site
  • quality (including thickness) of hair
  • the overall hair color to match your needs

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

Realistically, to perform an FUE procedure, your surgeon takes some of the very basic but careful steps as follows:

  1. They shave off the hair on the back of your head
  2. The surgeon then takes the individual follicles out of the scalp skin —  you’ll see tiny marks where each follicle was removed
  3. As with the FUT procedure, the surgeon makes small holes in your scalp
  4. And then, thereafter, you can now graft hair follicles into the holes they’ve just made
  5. Lastly, they then cover the surgical site with bandages or gauze to initialize the healing process

What about the recovery stage? FUT and FUE may each take several hours to several days to complete. In part, this depends on the amount of work performed by the surgeon. You will go home on the same day of the procedure.

And, once the surgery is done, your surgeon carefully removes any bandages. At times, the area may be swollen, so your surgeon might inject triamcinolone into the area to keep the swelling down. Equally important, you’ll likely feel pain or soreness at the transplant site as well as in the area where the hair was taken from. But, this is something that is just temporary.

For quick recovery, you may be prescribed:
  • pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil)
  • antibiotics to prevent infections
  • anti-inflammatories, such as an oral steroid, to relieve swelling
  • medications such as finasteride (Propecia) or minoxidil (Rogaine) to help stimulate hair growth

Of course, don’t worry if some hairs fall out. Keep in mind, that this is part of the whole healing process. What’s more, the transplanted hair may not grow much or seamlessly match the hair around it for a few months.

Some aftercare tips for hair transplant surgery:
  • Make sure that you wait a few days after the surgery to wash your hair
  • Only use mild shampoos for the first few weeks to complement the hair follicles attachment process
  • You should be able to return to work or normal activities in about 3 days
  • Try as much as you can not to press a brush or comb down over the new grafts for about 3 weeks
  • Also, don’t wear any hats or pullover shirts and jackets until your doctor says it’s OK
  • Last but not least, don’t exercise for about a week unless your doctor gives you a go-ahead

Clearly, when it comes to hair transplants, the type of procedure you choose will determine various factors. Such as the price, the outcome results, the success rate, the duration of the transplant stay on your head and the like.

How Much Does A Hair Transplant Cost?

Because hair transplants are cosmetic procedures, health insurance won’t pay for the procedure. Aftercare medications may also add to the final cost. In reality, the cost of a hair transplant is highly variable and typically ranges anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. These costs are often all out of pocket. Whereby, the final costs may depend on various factors.

Such as the extent of the transplant procedure, the availability of surgeons in your area, the experience of the surgeon, as well as the chosen surgical technique. Most insurance companies consider a hair transplant a cosmetic procedure. And that’s why the cost of hair transplants is dependent on many different factors. More often, these variant factors are so common.

For instance, we can consider a factor such as where you live. The relative cost of living in the area and the number of nearby surgeons offering the procedure can affect what a surgeon charges. 

Adding to the list is the skill of your surgeon — this is a common correlation. Meaning, that if your surgeon is considered to be one of the best, they may charge more. At the same time, higher rates don’t always mean superior skill, so do your research carefully. How much hair you want to be transplanted can also be yet another determinant factor to note.

Resource Reference: How To Choose A Safe Hair Dye Plus Best Men Hair Transplants

Wanting a few patches added will cost significantly less than wanting to increase hair across the entire scalp. Next on the list is the travel costs — this isn’t something that your doctor will charge, but it’s still a cost you should consider. Sometimes you have to travel to find the best specialists, and you should consider these costs when deciding if you can afford the procedure.

In addition to treatment costs, there are other potential recovery costs that you should take into account.

These potential recovery costs may include:
  • pain medication during the immediate recovery
  • anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling at the surgical site
  • antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection

All in all, if you experience any complications, the most common of which is an infection, you’ll need to treat it or even visit your doctor. Perse, this can be a source of additional expense, including the costs of medications and doctor’s visits.

The Topmost Alternatives Plus Prevention Methods 

Always remember, if you’re waiting for your hair transplant or are unable to afford it, there are several non-surgical alternatives you can use in the meantime. Though some of these remedies aren’t as effective, they can greatly help.

Such alternatives to hair transplants may include:
  • Minoxidil (Rogaine), is available for purchase without a prescription
  • Finasteride (Propecia) tablets, can help treat male and female pattern baldness (3 to 6 months of continual use)
  • Low-level laser therapy can help in both genders by stimulating cellular activity for retention and strengthening weak hair

Before we conclude, there’s no doubt about it; hair transplants don’t come at a small cost. Especially, considering they may not work as well as you’d like. And if you have the funds and decide you want to invest in a hair transplant, take some time to do your research. You can as well get multiple consultations to get an idea of the cost and find the surgeon that’s right for you.

Resource Reference: How To Choose A Safe Hair Dye Plus Best Men Hair Transplants

Just remember that hiring the right surgeon, even if more expensive, can help you get the best results possible. Also, keep in mind, when it comes to initial treatment costs, many clinics may offer payment or financing plans to help make the treatment accessible to more people. Make sure you have enough funds to support you before, during, and after the transplant process.

Other Related Resources:
  1. 12 Ways to Stop Hair Thinning
  2. Minoxidil (Topical Route) Side Effects – Mayo Clinic
  3. What Are Medicinal Herbs? 10 Plants For Kitchen Gardens
  4. Everything You Need To Know About Hair Loss, Alopecia, and Medical Wigs
  5. 10 Day Detox Program | A Step-By-Step Guide By Jane Mukami

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