Before the dawn of medical and scientific advancements, the problem of hair loss was dealt with preventive treatment or the use of wigs. Today, hair can be aesthetically sewn into the scalp. This new development is known as hair transplantation, which was introduced in the 1930’s and modernized during the 1950’s to aid the growth of hair on bald spots and rid the patterns of baldness for both men and women.
How it Works
Hair transplantation is done by simply getting hair follicles from a donor site and implanting them onto the recipient site, also known as the bald spot. The grafts that are taken are healthier and resistant to balding. This is the reason why hair transplants are also considered as a permanent treatment to hair loss. The donor site is hair at the back of the head which does not fall out. Half of this area can be harvested without affecting cosmetic appearance but a limit of 5,000 hair follicles can only be harvested, and the area cannot be harvested all at a single time. The thickness of new hair depends on how much hair is actually left on the scalp, and how a person styles one’s hair to create a cosmetic appearance of volume.
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Discomforts of Hair Transplantation
Hair transplantation is not painful; however for patients with low pain tolerance, discomfort will be felt during injection of the anaesthetic to be used. After the procedure is done, a period known as “shock” occurs. This is when a considerable amount of hair fall is observed by the patient. It happens when transplanted hair is placed between growing hair, resulting in the shedding of hair. But patients who experience this need not worry because the strong hair in the scalp will continue to grow back while the weaker hair strands, or those that are meant to fall out, may not.
Much like organ transplants, hair transplants are even more delicate, since they cannot be donated by another person. The hair donor site must come from your own hair or the scalp will not recognize it and reject the hair re-growth. Also, if transplants are not done by 1-4 follicles, they may look clumped together and may have a “corn row” appearance.
Recovery and Results
Hair transplantation can leave the scalp very prone to infection. This is the major concern after the procedure so patients are given antibiotic treatments. They are also given special shampoos and hair creams to hasten the recovery of the incision sites. During the recovery period, patients are advised not to participate in strenuous activity and avoid any foreign object from having direct contact to the scalp. In 1-2 weeks scabs may fall off and “shock” may occur but this is normal. Stitches are removed approximately 10 days after the surgery and results should be expected to appear in 3 – 12 months after. There is no guarantee that further loss of normal hair will not happen, but the hair transplanted is expected to remain resistant to subsequent hair fall.