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All You Need to Know About Hair Transplants before You Get One

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What are the best times to consider a hair transplant?

A man with male pattern baldness should not rush to a hair-transplant surgeon’s office. Before deciding to have a hair transplant, I recommend that you try other preventative measures. Surgery should always be the last resort.

You can try a variety of hair vitamins, conditioners, topical treatments and shampoos. The most important thing is to address the main reason men lose their hair, dihydrotestosterone.

DHT is the most common factor responsible for hair loss. Your body’s 5a reductase enzyme converts free-roaming testosterone into DHT within the hair cell follicle. The DHT binds to the receptor of the hair cell, causing it to shrink or atrophy. Your hair follicle will stop producing hair eventually and it will be gone forever.

It is important to try proven methods to stop hair fall as soon as you can. The two scientifically-proven products that have been FDA-approved for dealing with hair loss are Finasteride, a prescription drug that blocks DHT conversion, and Minoxidil (widely known as the brand Regaine in the UK), which improves circulation and blood flow to the scalp and encourages hair to grow. I have also had success with hair-loss shampoos, particularly groMD’s. These are specifically designed to promote hair growth.

Are there any age restrictions on hair transplants?

There is no upper or lower age limit for hair transplants. It is important to assess the patient’s health and suitability for the procedure. You might consider a hair transplant procedure if your hair loss is affecting your social life in such a way that you are unable to meet your friends or family, avoid socializing with others and withdraw from work/relationship opportunities, and you experience depression or anxiety.

Also, it’s a good idea for you to meet with a surgeon before you plan on having surgery. This will help you determine if you are a good candidate for surgery. The surgeon may also recommend other treatments that you can do before you have your transplant.

What Does a Hair Transplant Cost?

The average cost of hair transplant surgery is around £4,000-6,000. However, depending on the number of grafts required, it can be as high as £20,000. For FUT, expect to pay approximately £3 per follicule and for FUE, around £5 per follicule.

How to Find a Reputable Surgeon

This is crucial to your success with your transplant and your overall happiness. You need to find a trusted hair transplant surgeon and not someone who uses influencers on Instagram to advertise.

An ethical, high-quality surgeon will never advocate surgery as a last resort. If the results are good, word of mouth is a great way to find a reliable hair transplant surgeon. However, the IAHRS database (International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons) is by far the best resource to locate one.

IAHRS is an international organization that only admits the top-ranking physicians in each discipline. A Google search should bring up local providers, but you must be willing to travel to locate the best surgeon. It is vital.

Make a list of possible surgeons and then contact each one to verify their credentials. Look for reviews, testimonials from patients, and positive and negative media mentions. You can also look up fair trading and consumer rights websites.

Go to meet the couple you have chosen. Ask questions, get photos of patients before and after, and ask for a tour. This will allow you to gauge your feelings about the patient care, professionalism, and expertise of the practice.

What happens at the Initial Consultation?

You will be asked questions about your health and past treatments. To determine the extent of hair loss, and the best course of action, your scalp will be examined. As well as taking ‘before’ photos, scans and measurements will also be done.

If you are determined to be a suitable candidate for surgery, you will be given a detailed explanation of the procedure, the risks involved, expectations, costs, and what you can expect in the weeks and months that follow the surgery.

What is the Lead Time for Surgery?

The time you have to wait depends on your surgeon’s availability. A lead time of approximately one month is normal. It may take longer, but it will depend on how popular the clinic is.

Preparation For Your Hair Transplant

An ECG may be requested. You will also need to discontinue any blood-thinning, anti-inflammatory, or beta-blocker medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements, at certain times in the timeline.

To ensure that your scalp and body are in the best possible condition, you will need to quit smoking and drinking alcohol.

The Surgery and Hair Transplant Techniques

Follicular unit transplantation is (FUT) or follicular units extraction (FUE) are the two main methods of hair transplantation. FUT is the process of removing tissue from the designated donor area. The area is then stapled or stitched. This section is then carefully removed from the scalp and divided into individual follicular units (FU).

FUT surgery can leave a small, linear scar in the donor area. This scar can often be concealed with a low-grade haircut if the surgeon does it correctly and the patient’s body is able to comply. FUT has been traditionally considered more appropriate for patients who are severely bald and require larger sessions.

FUE allows for the individual extraction of follicular units using specialist tools. It’s considered a more attractive technique because it is less invasive, and there is less scarring in the donor area. However, FUE is still surgery and you can expect to see scarring.

Whatever method you or your surgeon choose, the follicular unit are removed and moved to the site of transplant using a surgical needle/implanter. The surgeon will need to have the assistance of skilled and experienced technicians in order to complete this task quickly.

To insert the hairs/grafts, the surgeon will make small incisions on your scalp. Scarring and pitting can occur if the incisions are not made correctly. This is why it’s important to hire an experienced and skilled surgeon. This is a labor- and time-intensive procedure. Rarely will a surgeon perform this task all by themselves. Instead, they will use technicians to insert the FU into the holes.

After Hair Transplant Surgery Recovery

Your anaesthetic will begin to wear off within three to four hours. You may experience some discomfort and pain. There may be some swelling on the scalp. This should resolve in a few days. The surgeon or team at the practice will give you information about how to care for your scalp and hair after surgery. An antibiotic might be prescribed to you.

For the first few nights it is best to rest semi-upright. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours, smoke for one month, and engage in strenuous activity for at least two weeks. Limit sun exposure for three months. Respect the investment and the process. Your hair transplant should not be performed within the first 24-72 hour after surgery.

You should contact your surgeon if you have any bleeding, swelling, or pain that doesn’t disappear with Paracetamol, or if you are experiencing significant bleeding.

Ongoing Maintenance After A Hair Transplant

No matter what method you used, transplanted hair will start to fall off around the 2-to-3-week mark. This is normal. The hair will grow over the next few months. Do not brush your hair after you shower. You should only towel dry your hair the first five days to allow your new hair to grow in.

Follow the instructions of your surgeon and use any hair-loss products as recommended. You will get better results and a quicker recovery if you follow all instructions. Different clinics may have different post-op protocols. Don’t be concerned if something you find online is not the same as yours. Follow the advice of your surgeon to the letter.

When will you see results?

Most patients see 50-60% new growth within six-to nine months. This is in line with the normal hair growth cycle. A natural-looking, healthy-looking hair can be achieved. However, it will take at least 12-18 months for the full effect to become fully mature.

What are the reasons you might need another hair transplant?

The first hair transplant will increase your hair density, improve your hairline shape and repopulate balding areas. Most patients are happy with their first transplant. However, many people mistakenly believe that if the first one was successful, the second one will be even better. Hair is like money. You always want more.

Because of the natural growth cycle, most hair transplant surgeons recommend patients wait 10 to 12 months before undergoing another procedure. Your transplanted hair should have grown out by this time and you will be able to see how it performs. To determine the final outcome, you can examine the texture, length, and diameter.

Because hair loss is progressive, few people get just one transplant. The non-transplanted hair will also continue to fall in line with your genes. If you plan to keep your hair healthy for the rest of your life, you should be open to it.

Knowledge is power, and every hair transplant patient should feel confident about making any decisions.

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