No matter how long you’ve been weighing the pros and cons of a hair transplant versus other treatment options (or doing nothing at all), you probably have a number of questions about the surgery, what it can do, and what it can’t do. While some questions are pretty straightforward, others might make you feel a little awkward when asking them. If hair restoration surgery is anywhere near your radar, though, there’s no shame in asking as many questions about the procedure as you can.
Is This Going to Hurt?
Although a hair transplant might sound like it will be a painful, or at the very least, uncomfortable, surgery, it’s generally not. In most cases, the surgery is performed under local anesthesia, meaning you’ll be awake for it, but because the scalp is numbed, you won’t feel a thing. The most discomfort you’ll feel is at the start of the procedure, when the anesthetic is injected into the scalp.
Afterwards, some people do have a bit of discomfort, after the anesthetic wears off. But, for most people, the discomfort is very mild and can be managed with a pain reliever.
Will I Look Like A Creepy Doll Afterwards?
Older methods of hair restoration often left people with scalps that look eerily like those of dolls, with the hair growing out of large, visible “plugs.” Fictitious portrayals of hair transplants, such as the disastrous results Tobias Funke enjoyed on “Arrested Development” don’t help paint the surgery in the best light either, so it’s understandable that you might be a bit concerned about how you’ll look at the end of the procedure.
You can rest assured that, thanks to newer techniques that involve the use of tiny grafts, containing just one or two follicles each, your scalp won’t resemble a doll’s at the end of the process. Today’s hair restoration surgeons do everything possible to create a natural look. The surgery is about improving your appearance and most surgeons combine both medical know-how and artistic talent to create a result that you can be proud about.
Why Don’t Surgeons Use Other People’s Hair?
Usually, a hair restoration surgeon will transplant hair from one area of the scalp to the area that is affected by hair loss. Hair from the back and sides of the head is often used, since it isn’t subject to male pattern baldness. If a person doesn’t have much hair on the sides or back of the head, it’s also possible for the surgeon to harvest hair from another area of the body, such as the chest.
But, what a surgeon won’t do is transplant hair from one person to another. Even if you have a relative or friend who has amazing hair, that person can’t be a donor for your hair transplant. People who receive donated organs to help them survive life threatening diseases have to be on immune suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives, otherwise there’s a high risk of their body rejecting the donated organ. That would also be the case if your surgeon gave you hair from someone else’s body. The risks are just too high when you take drugs to suppress your immune system to justify taking them for a cosmetic procedure.
Another reason why using another person’s hair isn’t the best solution is because the hair usually won’t match your own. Unless that person is your twin or a very close relative, his or her hair might be a different texture, color or thickness, creating an unnatural look.
Is This Really Going to Work?
When you’re paying for hair restoration surgery and taking time off from your job to recover from it, you want to have some assurance that the effort will be worth it. The answer is yes. When a surgeon transplants hair from one area of the scalp to another, the transplanted hair grow in the new site.
It’s important to be patient after your hair transplant as results won’t be immediate. In fact, the transplanted hair will actually fall out soon after the surgery, which can be upsetting. Don’t worry, though, as the newly transplanted hair starts growing again within a few months.
Can You Stop Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, the answer here is no. While a transplant will replace hair lost due to male or female pattern baldness, other hairs that are affected by genetic hair loss can continue to fall out and hair loss will continue. That’s why many surgeons recommend waiting until there is a significant amount of hair loss before having the surgery.
If you have any other questions about hair loss or hair restoration surgery, don’t be shy about asking. Dr. Kyle Choe, a hair restoration specialist in Virginia Beach, can answer any additional questions you have about the surgery and help you decide if it’s the right pick for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.