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Hair loss may be quite common amongst men and women but that doesn't make it any easier to cope with. In fact, hair loss is one of the greatest challenges to our self-esteem. Thankfully there are some solutions, the most successful being Hair Transplants.
Once a tricky operation only available to the wealthy, Hair Transplants are becoming increasingly common and more affordable.
Origins in the 19th Century
A hair transplant procedure quite literally transplants hair from one area to another. Believe it or not, this procedure has been around much longer than you may think. Originally it was believed that the technique began in the USA in the 1950s. However, we now know similar techniques were used in the 19th century.
Back then the operation sounded pretty gruesome. Doctors would use scalp flaps, where the tissue and its blood supply was moved to another area. Modern transport methods were perfected in Japan in the 1930s, but not to treat baldness. Surgeons used small grafts or 'follicular unit grafts' to replace damaged areas of a patient's brows or lashes.
It was New York dermatologist Norman Orentreich who really took the treatment forward in the late 1950s. He proved that transplanted hair would take on a life of its own at the new site.
The good news for today's Hair Transplant patients is that an enormous amount of research has taken place over the last few decades. Strips of hair started to replace 'plugs' in the 1980s and then American William Rassman mastered the art of 'micrografting', a huge improvement over traditional methods.
If you feel Hair Transplants may be for you, your first step is to talk to your doctor, or directly to a hair transplant specialist. The procedure is considered invasive so you will need to be in good health.
It's very important for the surgeon to know your medical history. You will be asked about your family medical history, allergies, previous surgeries, current medications and more. After hearing what it is you would like to achieve, the surgeon will examine your hair and scalp and explain the available options.
FUSS or FUE
Generally, your choices will be Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
With Follicular Unit Strip Surgery, the surgeon will remove a strip of skin from the back of your head, closing the opening with stitches. This area will be hidden by the hair around it.
The strip is then divided into tiny grafts. There may be up to 2000 of these, each consisting of just a few hairs or even one. The actual numbers depend on your level of baldness and your hair type.
With Follicular Unit Extraction, the back of your scalp will be shaved and the surgeon will remove the hair follicles individually.
Once your scalp is cleaned and numbed, the surgeon will create small slits or holes with a needle or scalpel and insert the hairs. As you can imagine, this can take several hours to complete.
What to Expect
The next few days are very important. You will experience some tenderness and pain medication is likely to be prescribed. You may also be given an antibiotic or anti-inflammatory drug. It's likely your head will be bandaged for a couple of days.
Allow at least two to three days off work for the procedure and recovery time, or whatever your surgeon prescribes.
What happens next can be pretty alarming if you're not expecting it. After a couple of weeks, the transplanted hair will fall out. Don't panic, this is normal. Within a few months, you should start to see new hair growth in the treated area.
Find a Specialist Near You
Whilst everybody is different, most see around 60% of new hair growth after six to nine months. Some patients are given a hair-growing drug to support this.
Hair Transplants today are pretty much a routine procedure and far more accessible and affordable than in the past. If you'd like to know more simply browse Bookwell for your nearest hair transplant specialist.