Top 5 Things to Know About Hair Transplantation

Top 5 Things to Know About Hair Transplantation

Hair transplant surgery is more popular today than ever before. It is almost impossible to not hear or read something about hair transplantation in 2024 due to the massive increase in acceptance that the procedure has gained. But is hair transplant surgery as easy and simple as what many social media posts and articles will have you believe? It can be, but the one fact that cannot be overlooked is that hair transplantation is real surgery.

Like with any surgical procedure it makes sense to do your research so that you know your options, what the side effects may be, and if you’re a good candidate to begin with. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is the leading organization worldwide educating and advancing the state of the art hair transplantation and is an excellent resource for information.

Read More >>

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW?

There are many things to know when considering hair transplant surgery, but we are going to discuss the five most important things you should know before getting your own hair transplant.

1. Are your expectations realistic?

This is usually not one of the first things patients think about. They focus on what they see on the website and dream of getting results as good as what they see online. The truth is, there are limits to what you can achieve with hair restoration surgery, and this usually depends on one reason: supply and demand. In hair restoration surgery, the concept of supply and demand is very simple.

The patient's supply of donor hair is limited and is a non-renewable resource. This means that once it is transplanted to the lost area at the top of the scalp, the hair will not be replaced or regrow in the area where it was originally harvested. When we look at the bald scalps of many hair transplant patients, the amount of hair lost at the top of their scalp exceeds the amount of hair available and growing in the donor area.

This means that the surgeon performing the surgery must decide how to achieve the greatest cosmetic improvement with limited hair. There was simply no way he could replace every lost hair on a one-to-one basis because such quantities of donated hair didn't exist. That's why when you search through various hair transplant galleries, you won't see patients with severe hair loss regaining full hair at their teenage hairlines.

But what about cases of mild hair loss, such as a receding hairline? In these cases, will there be enough graft to restore the entire head of hair? Yes, it does, but if the patient continues to lose hair, the hair used to create a low hairline and high density will not be able to cover the newly lost areas as the patient ages. This is why a properly trained doctor will avoid being too aggressive, as there is always the possibility that more work will be needed in the future. If this happens, you as a patient do not want to be in a position where you do not have more donor hair to slightly cover your bald scalp.

2. How soon can I return to work?

There is no single answer to this question, as it depends on what you do and what procedures you have in place. Generally speaking, the minimum time a patient should wait before returning to work is one week if the procedure being performed is FUE or two weeks if it is FUT (undressing). As a procedure, FUT can be more physically invasive, so recovery may take longer. Because wound closure occurs during FUT, most clinics also require patients to wait one to two weeks before sutures or surgical staples are removed.

However, there are other considerations to keep in mind. With FUT, you usually don’t have to shave your entire head. If you have a FUE hair transplant, many clinics will require you to shave part or all of your head in order to perform the procedure properly. The reason for this is that it provides the surgeon with a clear view of the donor area for efficient and safe follicle harvesting. The recipient area can also be shaved to obtain the same benefits of clear vision. For FUT, usually only the immediate area of the strip resection is shaved.

This allows the longer donor hair above the excision to cover the sutures or staples used for wound closure and helps hide the donor area during the first few weeks of healing. If your clinic does not shave the recipient area for graft placement, you may not even be able to return to work in less than a week due to the lack of any visual evidence that you had surgery. However, if your clinic does require area shaving, this may delay your return to work as you will inevitably encounter hairstyling complications. No matter which surgery you decide to have, ask your doctor about the recovery and recovery time you will experience.

3. How many surgeries will I need?

This is an issue that is often overlooked because patients will think that one surgery is enough for their lives and they can forget about their hair loss once their dream results grow back. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. In fact, hair loss is a progressive problem. This means that once you start losing hair, you will continue to lose it to varying degrees throughout your life. This does not refer to your transplanted hair, but to the native hair that you have not lost.

There are some medications that people can consider, but even then, there's no guarantee that your hair loss will stop completely. The probabilities will vary from patient to patient, but a general rule of thumb is to always treat your hair transplant as your first hair transplant and don't get too greedy with your hair restoration ambitions. Remember Tip #1, your donor hair is a limited resource, so saving some for the future is always the best approach.

4. Will you meet with the doctor before surgery?

This is a question that's rarely asked, but it's important to know if you want to talk to your doctor or consultant. Hair transplant consultants are an important part of any hair restoration practice, but they should not be considered the final word when it comes to hair restoration consultations. Only a licensed physician can make medical recommendations, let alone surgical recommendations.

A consultant should only serve as an educator for the hair transplant procedure you are considering and can be extremely valuable in answering basic questions related to the specific clinic you are considering. The benefit of having a qualified physician make surgical recommendations to you is that the physician has the opportunity to visualize your case for themselves and can develop a sound surgical plan only through their experience and training.

  1. Will a doctor or technician perform a hair transplant on you?

This is one of the most important questions you should ask. This issue has more to do with FUE surgery than FUT surgery, since only a doctor can physically remove the donor strip. With FUE, there is an explosion of new clinics around the world due to the low capital and resource investment required to start up, and it is this difference that allows more criminals to see the opportunity to cut corners.

ISHRS strongly urges you to consider the possible consequences of having your hair transplant performed by an unlicensed medical professional. FUE hair transplant surgery is a real surgery and comes with all the potential disadvantages that come with any surgery. The question you should ask yourself is: Would you feel safer having your hair transplant performed by an experienced doctor or by an unlicensed technician who lacks medical knowledge and training?