Educate yourself before you have surgery, and even better…before you go see any doctor. The two videos below will help you avoid common scams in the hair restoration industry. Spend your donor hair AND your money, frugally!
What is Hair Transplantation?
Modern hair transplantation is a true microscopic skilled and artistic procedure which requires only the best surgeon to achieve the natural results seen today. It involves taking hair follicles from the very back and sides of the head and strategically placing them into the thinning or balding areas of the scalp. In today’s modern age of hair restoration you should only consider the current gold standard of taking individual follicular units and placing them in a fashion which creates the fullest density and the most pleasing natural result.
What results can I expect?
Results from hair restoration truly depends on several factors which many people don’t fully appreciate. It depends largely on the supply of hair follicles in the donor area at the back of the head. The natural density of available hair will determine how many individual hairs can be placed in the balding areas. The more density you have, the more thicker and fuller the result. The hair transplant should be done ethically in which the surgeon can meet reasonable, age-appropriate results with the prudence to have enough supply of donor area for possible future loss.
What is FUE?
FUE is an abbreviated term for Follicular Unit Extraction. It is the latest advancement in transplantation procedures whereby the surgeon can now take individual grafts using specialized tools such as the Lindsey motorized extraction device designed and created by Dr. Lindsey himself. FUE has advantages and limitations which determines whether the treatment is appropriate for the individual.
FUT is an abbreviated term for Follicular Unit Transplantation. The procedure consists of again taking hair from the donor area at the back of the scalp but the difference compare to FUE is that the donor area is taken in the form of a “strip”. This literally means cutting a long and thin section of the actual scalp after extensive anesthesia, the patient will not feel anything during this procedure.. Once extracted, the donor strip is cut into many individual follicular units using microscopic dissection techniques. As these follicular unit grafts are being prepared, the doctor makes tiny holes in the scalp, called recipient sites, where the grafts are placed. It is important to note that whilst this procedure seems much more dramatic and unfavorable vs FUE technique it does produce higher yields and more consistent results.
How long does the procedure take?
This is dependent on the procedure and the amount of grafts placed; strip procedures of 5,000 grafts plus can now be completed in one day, FUE procedures take much more time as it is very labor intensive as each follicular unit must be extracted skilfully ensuring no damage to the follicle occurs. typically over 1,500 grafts will require more than one day to complete to a high level.
How much does it cost?
This is dependent on the number of grafts required and the type of procedure. Full costs can be see here.
How long does the new hair take to grow?
Transplanted hair takes up to 18 months to mature to their final and permanent integrity. Each person is an individual, so some people see huge growth at around 6 months, some people take 12 months. The growth rates are down to individual physiology. Newly-transplanted grafts will actually fall out after 2 weeks- this is normal. The actual follicular unit is intact making nerve and blood supply connections. Eventually these start sprouting and maturing from 2-3 months and continue to grow to about 18 months when you can expect the ultimate final result. It is important to understand the expectations of growth and to not feel any anxiety during this time.
What about scarring?
Both FUE and FUT will leave some form of scarring. FUE will be in the form of tiny punch holes which are effectively undetectable due to the uniform spread of donor sites. With FUT there will be a linear scar however at Lindsey medical we use the trichophytic closure technique, this method creates a bevel which basically allows a neat overlap of the two donor scars when they are joined to reform the scalp. The beveled edge allows a much neater scar line and also allows hair follicles to grow through the scar, thus softening any potential scaring even further. Once again, scarring is down to the individual’s own physiology. Some people will naturally scar more than others. Dr Lindsey will create the smallest and least noticeable scar possible see here for video explaining scars.
What would a typical day be like for surgery?
On the day of the surgery you would arrive to the clinic early at 7 am. You would then discuss with Dr Lindsey the expectations and final design of where the transplanted hair will be received. Before pictures will be taken and the final expectations agreed with both the patient and the doctor. You are then taken into a room where your donor area will be anesthetized along the area where the donor supply will be taken from. Once the area has been numbed you will then be taken into the actual transplant room where you will be made to feel comfortable. Your scalp will be tested to make sure your are free from pain, The donor area will then be removed whilst you listen to radio or use an iPad to help keep your mind at rest. The experience really is very calm and pain-free. When the donor supply has been harvested, the transplant team take the follicles and then begin trimming them and organizing them into 1,2,3 and 4 hair grafts for strategic placement into the recipient sites. Whilst the technicians are looking after the grafts, Dr. Lindsey will then create the recipient holes for the grafts to be placed into. Once the grafts are ready, they are then strategically placed into the scalp where the holes have been made. The key to a natural and artistic result is the placement of different hair grafts into the scalp. Once the final graft is placed, the scalp donor area (which has been stapled during the incision), and recipient sites are thoroughly washed and cleaned several times. A bandage is then placed around the donor area and pain medication is prescribed for a number of days. Your surgery is then complete and you are free to go home.
After the surgery you are given post operative instructions. You will need to try to sleep as upright as possible for the first day or two. The new grafts will be locked in after a good 48 hours and you should not feel too anxious touching them. Down time can be up to 2 weeks- again, it is an individual thing. Your recipient sites will possibly scab up over a few days- this is normal- they will eventually flake off, any redness and soreness will die down over the two weeks as well. Now you allow nature to start working it’s magic. It is advisable to use any holidays and/or time off if you are concerned about your appearance during this time. After 10-12 days if you have had a strip surgery your staples are ready to come out. If you are local to the clinic you can come in and have these removed for you. If you have access to a health care professional in your home town, the clinic will give you a staple remover which can be given to someone to remove he staples.
I get asked these questions all the time – “Will I only need one ession?”
The answer to this is more than likely NO – Its very rare indeed that any patient only has one session unless they have a very small amount of loss – or limited donor supply, then unfortunately you aren’t a viable HT candidate. Even if your hair loss is absolutely stable and doesn’t progress any further the chances are your first session will be the foundation for a potential second session to top up/refine/add density/close angles/work further back ..etc – regardless of technique used. Hair is like money you always want more – You will always want to make it better, we ALL do!
Top Dr’s will endeavor to achieve the appropriate highest number of grafts possible without jeopardizing you in order to create as much coverage/density as possible in one session where warranted – whilst maintaining your donor area/further supply’s integrity.
The initial session will come in so slowly and gradually that you become so used to it that it becomes the normal and YOU will not necessarily notice the change bang on month 3! – The realization takes time!! It is only until you compare pre-op pics that you actually realize how far you have come and have a glimpse at what your situation actually was.
You will scrutinise your results constantly, inspecting it every chance you get – and feel that you will always want more hair – Even at month 5/6/7 patients are planning their 2nd session but my advice is WAIT and allow for the first session to reach its max potential.
It doesn’t matter how many times I say it to people or write it they still feel that their growth has stopped at month 4/5/6…… then come month 10/11/12 they say – wow you were right.. I did get more.
Growth doesn’t stop for many many months – it can take up to 18 months to reach the max potential from your HT so why guys are convinced after 5 months their growth has stopped is just beyond me If you have received your HT from one of the reputable clinics, then your growth will continue up to a year along with a great deal of maturing.
Many Dr’s have commented on time scales for growth and established posters as well who have all been through the HT process and they all agree that you need to assess your HT at at least the 1 year mark in terms of reaching full growth.
You will not see the growth just occur – it takes months for the realization to kick in. It is important to take pictures at monthly intervals to clearly see the progression.
Its important that guys realize that HT’s are a commitment long term and you must realize that you will always want to refine your hair and wish it were thicker/fuller/denser – This is the nature of hair.
Hair greed – be aware of it!
Grow well everyone!!!!