What is a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is a procedure in which hair is removed from permanent hair-bearing regions in the rim hair of balding individuals (the “donor” area) and transferred to bald or balding areas of the scalp (the “recipient” area). After initially falling out, the transplanted hair regrows, and will continue to grow in the new area for as long as it would have grown in the area from which it was taken. It also has the same color and other characteristics as the hair in the donor area from which it was taken.
Usually, only one of the following three areas can be treated during any session: the frontal area extending from the hairline to a line drawn more or less vertically from the ears, the mid-scalp area extending from that point to the point on the scalp where the head changes from being more or less horizontal to the ground to a more vertical orientation, and the vertex area or “crown” which is the balding area furthest back on the scalp.
How is a hair transplant performed?
Most hairs emerge from the scalp in groups of 2 or 3 hairs. Approximately 15% of hairs emerge as single hairs and another approximately 15% in groups of 4 or 5 hairs. These small groupings of hairs are called Follicular Groups or Follicular Units (FU). FUs are the building blocks of most modern hair transplanting. They are typically obtained by sectioning, withthe aid of a 6X-10X magnifying “stereomicroscope”, an 8 to 10 mm wide strip of skin that is excised from the donor area.
The most important advantage of transplanting exclusively with Follicular Unit Transplanting (FUT) is that a single session in an area that is bald or destined to become bald will result in a perfectly natural appearance. The donor site is sutured closed leaving only a narrow scar when the wound is completely healed in 7 to 10 days. The donor scar is also usually excised within any subsequent transplant donor strip(s), so only a single scar is present in the donor area no matter how many transplants are carried out.
Small incisions are made in the recipient area using either small bore needles or blades. The angle and direction of the incisions mimic that of the hair that was originally present in the area. Once the grafts have been prepared they are carefully transferred into those sites. As noted earlier, usually all of the transplanted hairs will initially fall out within a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Approximately, 2 to 3 months later, they regrow in the recipient area.