What Is Hair Transplant Surgery?
Hair transplant surgery is a cosmetic procedure to restore the appearance of a full head of hair in patients with alopecia.Â Patients are usually only eligible for the procedure when donor areas of their scalp bear an adequate amount of hair for grafting.Â Surgical techniques and the size and shape of the grafts tend to vary.Â Several sessions, may be necessary to achieve complete satisfaction.Â The process could extend over 2 years since the scalp takes months to recover from each session.Â
For hair transplant surgery, the patient may receive either local or general anesthesia.Â The latter is less common since it is usually only necessary for complex procedures, such as tissue expansion or flaps.Â Prior to surgery, hair in the donor area is trimmed to allow for easier access and removal of the skin.Â Â
For a punch graft, a cylindrical instrument made of sharp carbon steel punctures the skin in the donor area and removes a round piece of hair-bearing scalp for use in the affected area.Â With other types of grafts, the surgeon removes small sections of the scalp with a scalpel, divides it into smaller sections, and transplants each one into tiny holes or slits made in the affected area.Â To maintain adequate skin strength, the surgeon may inject saline solution into the scalp during graft removal.Â Â
The surgeon closes the graft sites with stitches, which leaves a scar that is typically hidden by the surrounding hair.Â Placing the grafts approximately one-eighth of an inch apart to aid blood circulation, the surgeon stitches them in place, cleans the scalp, and covers it with gauze.Â A pressure bandage may be necessary for 1 to 2 days.Â The gaps between the grafts can be filled in subsequent hair transplant surgeries.Â Â
The tissue expansion technique involves inserting a balloon-like instrument under the skin of the donor area closest to the affected area and gradually inflating it over several weeks with salt water.Â This results in the growth of extra skin.Â Approximately 2 months later, in a follow-up procedure, the surgeon pulls the extra skin over the affected area and stitches it in place.Â Â
Flap surgery is yet another technique that is common in hair transplant surgery.Â The surgeon cuts away a flap of hair-bearing skin without severing its original blood supply and sews it over the affected area.Â ÂPatients are usually able to wash their hair within 2 days of the operation.Â The removal of stitches generally occurs within 7 to 10 days.Â It is often necessary to avoid vigorous activity for approximately 3 weeks.Â Patients should wait at least 10 days before resuming sexual activity.Â Follow-up visits will be necessary for the first month to ensure that the incisions are healing properly.