Hair transplantation involves removing small pieces of hair-bearing scalp from a donor site and relocating them to holes or slits in a bald or thinning area, usually on the top of the scalp. Modern techniques in hair grafting (the most recently performed method of transplantation) is performed by many physicians and in many clinics throughout the world. No new hair is added during this procedure hair and skin are simply relocated. Graft vary in size and shape:
- Punch grafts - Round grafts that usually contain about 10 to 15 hairs
- Mini-grafts - Much smaller grafts containing 2 to 4 hairs
- Micro-graft - Tiny grafts containing 1 to 2 hairs
- Slit grafts - Thin grafts that contain about 4 to 10 hairs each
- Strip grafts - Long, thin grafts containing 30 to 40 hairs
Several surgical sessions may be needed to achieve more fullness, and a healing interval of several months is usually recommended between sessions. It may take up to two years before you see the final results of the transplant series.
Just before surgery, the donor area will be trimmed short so that the grafts can be easily removed. The graft donor and recipient areas are treated with a local anesthetic similar to that used by dentists.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Hair transplantation can significantly improve the appearance and self-confidence in patients who are balding. However, it is important to remember that this procedure cannot create new hair. It can only move the hair you already have from the back of the scalp to the front.
Most patients undergoing a hair transplant have male or female pattern baldness. Hair loss is on the front or top of the scalp. Patients must still have thick hair on the back or sides of the scalp to have enough hair follicles to move.
In some cases, patients with hair loss from lupus, injuries, or other medical problems may be treated with a hair transplant.