Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves taking hair follicles from one part of the scalp (the donor site) and transplanting them to the area of hair loss (the recipient site). The procedure can be used to restore hair growth in both men and women.
What are the different types of hair transplant?
There are several different types of hair transplant procedures, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here, we explore FUT, FUE, SMP, BHT and DHI.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) also known as the “strip method,” involves removing a strip of skin from the scalp (usually from the back of the head) and dissecting it into individual hair follicles. The hair follicles are then transplanted to the area of hair loss. FUT results in a linear scar on the scalp, which can be visible if the patient has short hair.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction (FUE), on the other hand, involves removing individual hair follicles from the scalp using a special instrument. The hair follicles are then transplanted to the area of hair loss. FUE has the advantage of leaving no linear scar on the scalp and the recovery is shorter and less painful.
Scalp Micro Pigmentation (SMP)
The third type of hair transplant procedure is called Scalp Micro Pigmentation (SMP). SMP is not a transplant procedure but rather a cosmetic tattooing technique that creates the appearance of a full head of hair by tattooing pigment into the scalp to mimic the look of short hair stubble. It is a good option for those with minimal hair loss, who are not a candidate for surgery or for those who want to cover up scarring from a previous transplant.
Body Hair Transplant (BHT)
The fourth type of hair transplant procedure is called Body Hair Transplant (BHT). BHT is a procedure that involves removing hair from other parts of the body, such as the chest, back, legs or beard, and transplanting it to the scalp. This is typically used in cases where the patient has a limited number of suitable hair follicles on their scalp. BHT is considered a more advanced procedure, and it may not be suitable for everyone.
Direct Hair Implantation (DHI)
The fifth type of hair transplant procedure is called Direct Hair Implantation (DHI). DHI is similar to FUE, but the transplanted hair follicles are inserted directly into the recipient site using a special implanter device, rather than being manually transplanted. DHI is a relatively new procedure and is considered to be more precise and efficient than FUE.
What is the Process Involved with Hair Transplantation?
Prior to the procedure, many patients are prescribed topical or oral minoxidil and are counseled on nutritional optimization. The patient’s hair is typically trimmed to a short length and the scalp is numbed using local anesthesia (1). Depending on the extent of hair loss, the procedure can take several hours to complete.
After the procedure, the transplanted hair will fall out within the first two to three weeks. New hair growth will typically begin to appear within three to four months, and the final results will be visible within a year.
It’s important to note that hair transplantation is not a one-time procedure and multiple sessions may be needed to achieve the desired result, depending on the extent of hair loss and the patient’s desired outcome.(2) See how much hair transplant costs.
Risks and Complications of Hair Transplantation
Complications of hair transplantation are rare, but can include bleeding, infection, and poor healing. It’s also possible for the transplanted hair to fall out or not grow in the desired area. It’s important for patients to have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure and to understand that it may not be a permanent solution for hair loss.
One of the main risks associated with hair transplantation is the possibility of complications during the procedure. These can include bleeding, infection, and scarring. In addition, the transplanted hair may not grow as well as expected, or may not grow at all. This can be due to a variety of factors, including poor blood supply to the transplanted area, poor quality of the transplanted hair follicles, or an inadequate number of hair follicles transplanted.
Another risk associated with hair transplantation is the possibility of an allergic reaction to the anesthesia used during the procedure. While this is rare, it can cause serious complications, such as difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.
There is also a risk of postoperative complications such as, swelling, pain, numbness, itching and redness around the transplanted area. In some cases, patients may experience itching, redness, and scabbing in the transplanted area, which can be uncomfortable and unsightly.
Hair transplantation is not recommended for individuals with advanced hair loss or for those who are not good candidates for surgery. It’s important for patients to have a consultation with a qualified hair transplant surgeon to determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure and to discuss the potential risks and benefits.
Hair Transplantation Controversies.
CME article Part II. Hair transplantation: Surgical technique.
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