What Is Hair Transplant and How It Works

Hair transplantation is the process of placing the follicles taken from healthy areas to replace the shed hair. It is an excellent technique used in today’s conditions for people with hair loss and balding problems. Hair transplantation surgery can be done easily and safely in sterile operating room environments with the new techniques developed.

People who will get hair transplantation should first go through a detailed computerized hair examination. The structure and frequency of hair in the region to be transplanted are examined with hair analyzers. The number of hair follicles can then be determined. The amount of healthy hair follicles that can be taken is also determined in this process. Then, all is ready for hair transplantation to start.

History of Hair Transplantation

Mankind has a long history of hair loss problems. From ancient Greece to today’s countries, hairs along with various hairstyles as well as hats, always create both a cultural and a beauty indicator. While different plants and spells were used against hair loss in different cultures, some others are known to promote baldness and being skinhead such as Buddhist Priests.

In the 19th century, the first seeds of the process that we call hair transplantation started to be taken. Skinning of the scalp with an operation in order to transplant it to another region using a surgical implantation method was a fairly new practice for that period. This technique was used in the eyebrow and eyelash transplant in Japan in the 1930s. This procedure which was limited to only hair and eyelash transplants at that time was never applied for hair transplant. For decades, the rest of the world has been unaware of the work of Japan, which isolated itself from the world after World War II.

The first hair transplantation in the sense we know today was performed in the United States. In the 1950s New York, dermatologist Orentreich’s hair transplantation on the male subjects began to be heard however the process failed to attract attention in that period. Because it was thought that hair transplant could not replace the actual hair. However, the dermatologist Orentreich continued his work on different subjects, proving that the new hair could be developed and it was permanent. Even so, Orentreich, who has been working on hair transplantation for 20 years, was not very successful in this area.

The one who makes hair transplantation heard worldwide is the Brazilian doctor Uebel. Then, with the American doctor Rassman using a micro-surgical method of thousands of hair transplantation at a time, hair transplantation has become widespread.

The FUE method, which is the most commonly used hair transplantation method in the world, started to find its place in the medical world in 1988 with the 1mm punches introduced by Masumi Inaba in Japan. It took its place in the medical literature in 2002 thanks to William R. Rassman and Robert M. Bernstein. In 2007, Dr. Miquen G. Canales and Dr. David Berman developed the robotic FUE hair transplantation method.

How Is Hair Transplantation Done?

We can consider the hair transplantation process in 2 stages. First, live hair follicles are taken from the person, and in the second stage, these follicles are transplanted to areas without hair.

Hair transplantation methods are generally divided into two. One is FUT and the other is the FUE technique. The FUT technique is an older technique where the FUE technique is a newer one. Nowadays, FUE technique is more preferred by surgeons. FUE technique provides faster recovery time and better results in hair transplantation.

The FUE technique is subdivided into its own headings. These include micro-motorized FUE technique, manual FUE technique, Gold FUE technique, and Body Hair Transplantation (where hair transplantation is done by taking hair from other parts of the body). The graft can be increased further. Thus, up to 6,000 – 7,000 grafts can be transplanted. Apart from these, there is also a technique called the Ice Graft FUE technique.

FUE Method

The most common FUE method includes the removal of hair follicles from the back of the head. Hair from the donor area behind the two ears from the back of the head is the source of the hair to be planted. Local anesthesia is applied to this area before the procedure is performed.

Hair follicles collected from the donor area are placed one by one in the area where hair transplantation will take place. This method, which has been used for a long time, has undergone an evolution over time. Today, p-FUE with micromotor has replaced the first described technique. FUE technique is performed very rarely now, with biopsy needles in appropriate cases. This technique does not leave stitch marks on the neck.

FUT Method

In this method, which is rarely applied compared to FUE method, the hair in a safe area selected on the neck is removed by tape in the form of a band and separated into the follicles under the microscope.

This method, which was used for the first time in the 1930s, leaves a 5 10 cm wide, ribbon-shaped surgical scar in the area of hair removal. Therefore, it is generally not preferred today.

PRP-Assisted Hair Transplantation

First of all, PRP treatment is used in many areas of medicine. PRP is a nourishing and restorative serum. The blood taken from the person is passed through a special procedure and converted into a serum. This serum can be applied to the scalp areas, as well as thinner and less haired areas. Repair and density of hair fibers can be achieved with this serum treatment. All these procedures are also applied in hair transplantation. PRP treatment can be applied before the hair transplantation as well as after it.

PRP-assisted hair transplantation is applied to maximize hair transplantation efficiency. Of course, it is decided whether to use PRP-assisted hair transplantation according to the patient’s hair structure, as well as thickness and thinness of his/her hair. Some patients can show good results in hair treatment with PRP even without the need for hair transplantation. Another important element in PRP is the feature of the tube used. According to the World Health Organization, the tubes need to be Class 2B. Suitable tubes must be used to get the most efficient results.

Factors Affecting the Success Rate of A Hair Transplantation Procedure

Factors affecting whether hair transplantation results in a healthy way include the individual’s hair loss density, the healthy hair density that can be used, the thickness of the hair to be used, the hair type and the color of the hair. All of these criteria should be considered together to achieve a good result.

Thick and dark-colored hair gives more successful surgery results compared to the fine and light-colored hair. In addition, the hair loss level and the density of the hairy part are also among the factors that will affect reaching the desired result more quickly.

Hair transplantation should be performed by an expert surgeon and hair transplant specialists in an operating room. Very successful results can be obtained with the specially designed hairstyle and the selection of the most suitable hair transplantation technique for the person.

Hair transplant surgery is now very professional. Healthy hair follicles taken from the back and side of the head are transplanted to the related area of the scalp. During the operation, local anesthesia is applied to the troubled area, so that the person does not feel any pain or ache during the operation of hair transplantation. Also, there is no need to use any pain medication after transplantation. The hair can be washed and the person can easily return to his daily life only 3 days after the operation.

What Should Be Considered Before Hair Transplantation?

There are some points you should pay attention to in order to have less pain during the procedure and to let the process be performed more successfully. It is very important that you pay attention to your diet before the procedure. It is also recommended by doctors to try not to be tired and stay away from stress during the hair transplantation operations.

You should stop smoking 24 hours before application. Similarly, you have to cancel out your alcohol and similar substance usages before the procedure. Drinks containing caffeine are also included in this banned list.

Don’t forget to inform your doctor about the medications you use (if there is any medication that you regularly use). You should not use antidepressants or anticoagulant drugs 15 days before the application. If you used any medication you should not use without knowing it, you should tell your doctor. Besides, if you are using vitamin B and E, you should stop the intake.

You should also cancel out the use of over-the-skin medications and ointments. Do not apply any chemicals to your hair before the procedure. Be sure to be satiated before the operation.

Things to Consider After Hair Transplantation

Although hair transplantation sounds like a simple procedure, remember that this process is a very serious operation. For this reason, make sure to do the necessary research and choose a doctor who is qualified for his/her work.

The success of the hair transplantation process depends on the doctor doing the sowing process as well as making the necessary care after the procedure. First of all, keep an eye on the advice of your doctor. By following its referrals, you can achieve the most successful result after the procedure.

  • Attention to the first night

The first 24 hours of the procedure are very important. With the anesthesia wearing off, you can feel some pain. Don’t let that scare you. Never touch your head. As a result of the operation, your scalp will be vulnerable to all kinds of infection.

  • Try not to sweat

Stay away from sweaty activities like sports and holding weights. Pay special attention not to sweat, especially during the first 24 hours of operation. Sweaty activities may also cause your body to be tired at the beginning of the process and easily break the hair that is not fully planted.

  • Do not contact

It is important to protect your scalp from contact. Therefore, be careful to lie on your back on the first days after hair transplantation. If transplantation is done in your top zone, you can avoid contact by using high cushions or special apparatus to lift your neck.

  • Why lie back?

If you lie on your side, small bumps may occur on your temporal side. To avoid this, you should take care to lie on your back.

  • Stay Away from the stress

Another important point is to avoid stress. As I mentioned before, stress is a factor that weakens hair follicles and causes shedding. That is why you will not be fond of weakened follicles after hair transplantation.

  • Pay attention to drug use

You should consult your doctor before using any medicine after the operation. Antibiotics and similar drugs can both cause a negative effect on the procedure and weaken your immune system. It’s normal to feel pain after the procedure. You can use your doctor’s recommended painkillers to avoid this.

  • Don’t skip the medical dressing

On the day after the hair transplantation, you will need to have a dressing to remove your bandage. Do not skip the dressing step so that the bandage is removed and hair transplantation is successful.

  • Do not wash your hair

Do not wash your hair for the first 3 days after the procedure. After the third day, rinse your hair as described by your doctor and with recommended products.

  • Protect from the sun

Don’t forget to protect your hair from the sunlight. At the same time, be careful of such factors as rain. Therefore, if you have to go out, you can use a hat that does not tighten your hair too much.

  • Listen to recommendations

There is no reason for scarring after hair transplantation if you pay attention to the things that I have mentioned above and recommended by doctors. By this way, you will not have the feeling of numbness on your nape and you will complete your healing process without any problem.

How to Wash Hair After Hair Transplantation

As mentioned above, the hair should not be washed for the first 3 days after the procedure. The reason for this is that your scalp will be vulnerable to infection because of the open hair follicles. You can start to wash your hair 3 days after the procedure. However, if your treatment and your skin need special treatment and your doctor has informed you of this condition, the 3-day rule may not apply to you.

Use the lotion and shampoo that your doctor has given or prescribed according to your hair type, for the recommended duration. The lotion applied to the transplanted area and the nape part with the fingertips should be cleaned with warm and non-pressurized water after 45 minutes. It should be washed immediately with an antibacterial shampoo with a pH of 5.5. The neck area can be washed normally, but the transplanted area should be paid attention for a period of time.

Healing Process of Hair Transplantation

As you can see, the secret of successful hair transplantation is the right care to be applied after the hair transplantation process. I can tell you the first day will be a little painful. You’ll have to be very careful when you’re going to bed in the evening, and that is why you might not get your sleep. Even if you cannot sleep, it is best to close your eyes and rest yourself.

On the day after the procedure, the bandage in your nape area will be removed and the dressing will be done. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor any questions during these checks. After your dressings are removed, your scalp will be left to rest for 1 day. In the meantime, your hair follicles begin to heal and no intervention is made.

The third day after the procedure is very important. Because this is the day your hair will be washed for the first time after the procedure. It is better to have the first wash in the facility where you have the hair transplantation. However, if you live in a remote location or do not have a chance to go to the facility, do the washing as recommended and using recommended products.

10-15 days after the procedure, you will notice that the scabs in your nape area and the area where hair is transplanted will slowly start shedding. These scabs will be shed on the 20th day at the latest. Please contact your doctor if you experience any other symptoms.

In the first month of the procedure, you will see that some of the hair transplanted has been shed as well. The hair will start to reappear after the second month. This shedding and regrowing is completely part of the process. In the second month, you can observe that your hair starts to grow slowly. At the end of a year, your hair will appear as it never fell.

Possible Side Effects of Hair Transplantation

Although hair transplantation is generally considered to be a simpler operation compared to other operations, this does not mean that it is a risk-free procedure. To minimize these risks, the right doctors and correct centers should be preferred. At the same time, it is important to follow the recommendations given before and after the procedure. Otherwise, unexpected situations may occur. Possible side effects after hair transplantation are as follows.

  • Loss of sense

It is a side effect of hair transplantation in FUT technique. It can occur as a result of taking the scalp skin from the donor area. This situation that occurs as a result of cutting the nerves in this region may create a loss of regional feeling.

  • Formation of scars

A scar may occur after suturing the area where the hair is transplanted.

  • Grass head appearance

This appearance may occur after an uneven planting or an incorrect operation. Due to the fact that the opening channels for hair transplantation are not at a sufficient depth, the protrusions may cause an ugly appearance.

  • Dermoid cyst

It may occur as a result of the hair follicles being placed deeper than they should. Larger and permanent cysts may occur in these regions.

  • Bleeding

The most common side effect is bleeding. In order to avoid this situation, care should be taken not to take drugs to prevent the blood clotting before the procedure.

  • Infection

Hair transplantation is a process that causes open wounds in your body. Therefore, it makes the surface of your head to be more susceptible to infections.

How Much Does Hair Transplation Hurt?

One of the questions that most people ask about hair transplantation is the pain to be felt during or after the operation. How much pain the person is going to suffer is very dependent on the expertise of the specialist and your pain threshold. Many people say this is like a fly bite. The pain at the beginning of the procedure gradually decreases during it.

Hair Transplantation Prices

If you’re thinking about hair transplantation, you’re going to have to sacrifice a serious amount of money. Do not prefer cheaper facilities that can be referred to as under the counter.

The cost of hair transplantation varies according to the size of the area where hair transplantation will be performed. As the number of hair to be planted increases, the transaction fee also increases. In order to give a price range, it is possible to say that this operation can be done between $ 4,000 and $ 15,000.

Does Hair Fall Again After Hair Transplantation?

Hair does not fall again after hair transplantation. The reason is that the hair follicles in the nape area are insensitive to the testosterone. Generally, hair loss occurs in the front and top of the scalp. Because these regions are susceptible to testosterone and, therefore, hair loss may occur with age depending on the genetic structure. But the hair in our nape area is by no means sensitive to testosterone. Because of this, the hair follicles taken from these regions continue to be insensitive to testosterone even when they are transplanted. One month after the hair transplantation, there is a shock phase called telogen phase. Only in this phase, the hair may fall. Afterward, as the hair follicles remain under the skin, the hair starts to grow thin and curly and then becomes thicker and thicker in time. This period may last up to 9 months.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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