Your dad went bald. His dad went bald. And your mom’s dad also lost his hair. It seems as though the deck is stacked against you, and now you’re also noticing that your hair is beginning to thin or that a bald spot is getting larger and larger.
While few people want to lose their hair, the good news is that there are more options for hair loss treatment today than ever before. Hair restoration surgery has come a long way in recent years, producing results that look natural.
If you are thinking about a hair transplant, it pays to do some research first. Find out what the surgery is like, what your options are, and when you can expect to see some hair growth once again.
What Is Your Background?
One of the most important things you can do when considering hair restoration surgery is to find out as much as you can about your surgeon. Ask him or her about training and experience and whether he or she is board certified. Since some hair restoration surgeons also perform other types of plastic surgery, ask how often he or she performs hair transplants.
Taking a look at pictures of the surgeon’s past patients can also help you get an idea of his or her skill level and talent. You might also want to ask the surgeon for references from past patients.
Which Procedure Is Right for Me?
While there are many different types of hair transplant available, two options are more commonly performed than others. The method your surgeon uses will depend in part on how much hair you wish to have transplanted and your personal style preferences. Ask your surgeon to explain the differences between methods and which he or she thinks is most appropriate for you.
If you wear your hair longer, or have a considerable bald area, follicular unit grafting (FUG) might be the way to go. The procedure involves removing a strip of hair and scalp from the back of the head. After the strip is removed, the surgeon divides it into a number of smaller grafts, which are then transplanted to the top of the scalp. The area from which the strip was taken is then stitched closed.
As the incision heals, it typically leaves a scar. The good news is that the scar can be covered up with existing hair and that in many cases, it’s not very noticeable.
People who wear their hair short might benefit from follicular unit extraction (FUE), a newer method that involves removing hair follicles from the donor area one by one. The process is more time consuming, since each graft is taken individually. Removing the grafts does leave tiny, pinpoint scars on the scalp, but not the long incision left by FUG.
What Can I Expect During the Surgery?
Your surgeon should give you a basic rundown of what to expect during your hair transplant. In many cases, patients are awake for the procedure, but the scalp is numbed, so they don’t feel anything. The length of the procedure varies, based on whether it is FUG or FUE, and based on the number of grafts being transplanted. The more hair that needs restoration, the longer the procedure will take.
What Can I Expect After the Surgery?
Making time for recovery is important, and it’s also important that you understand the timeline for regrowth. Your surgeon will paint an accurate picture of what will happen to your scalp during the first few months or year after your procedure. Typically, the transplanted hair will fall out after a few days. Don’t panic, though. After the hair falls out, new hair will start to grow. In the majority of cases, patients see full regrowth within a year’s time.
Your surgeon will also give you specific instructions for recovery. Ask about taking time off from work and whether any activities you enjoy are going to be off limits. In many cases, patients can expect to take about three days off from work and should avoid exercise for up to 10 days. It’s also a good idea to ask your surgeon if any styling tools or products are off-limits during recovery.
Do I Have Other Options?
You might want your hair back, but you might also be a little hesitant about surgery, even a surgery that’s minimally invasive. Your surgeon can let you know if there are other options worth exploring or if you should postpone hair restoration. For example, you might not have enough hair loss to really benefit from the surgery yet. In that case, using a topical treatment, such as Minoxidil, might make more sense until you’ve lost enough hair to be a good candidate for the surgery.
Hair restoration specialist Dr. Kyle Choe, practicing in Virginia Beach, is available to answer any questions you might have about a hair transplant. He can evaluate your scalp and let you know if surgery is a good pick for you, or if another option will serve you better for the moment. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.