How long does a hair transplant surgery take to perform?
This depends on the size of the procedure (number of grafts) and which method is used to harvest the grafts. The FUT “strip” method can take from 4-6 hours, but an FUE procedure can take up to 2 hours longer.
Is a hair transplant procedure painful?
It doesn’t have to be. It all depends on the equipment the medical team uses and their level of expertise in order to deliver a comfortable experience. Our experienced medical team uses several techniques in order to limit a patient’s discomfort to slight feeling of “bee stings.”
What the difference between a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and a Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) “Strip” procedure?
The only difference between both is the harvesting method from the donor area. During an FUE procedure, each graft is harvested individually from the donor area, which leaves a dot scar, which is less visible for patients using a very tight hairstyle. In the FUT process, a strip of grafts are removed from the donor, leaving a slight linear scar that is not detectible as long as patient leaves hair ¼ inch long.
Am I a candidate for the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method?
This is a topic that has gained a great deal of attention recently due to highly marketed tools in the industry. First and foremost, NOT EVERYONE IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE FUE METHOD! Why? This type of harvesting method is what we call a “blind harvest,” meaning, a qualified surgeon that uses the right tool to harvest a graft cannot see under the skin in order to find the follicle. Therefore, he/she aligns the FUE tool being used with the direction of the hair into the skin in order to get a clean harvest. Unfortunately, patients with very curly hair, blonde hair vs. light skin make it harder to get a clean harvest, therefore increasing the rate of TRANSECTION, meaning the doctor cuts into the follicle by mistake, thus damaging it. This reduces the number of healthy grafts harvesting, thus limiting the overall result of the hair transplant procedure. In addition, patients with aggressive patterns of hair loss may not be good candidates for this method, as well. Since the FUE method of harvesting leaves dot scars in the donor area, multiple large size hair surgeries can produce a diffused look in the donor area. We are of the mind that it doesn’t make sense to try and help a patient fill a certain area while depleting another. There is an interesting article written by Dr. Walter Unger (FUE Article.PDF), which highlights his disappointment of how irresponsible some hair transplant doctors have been with the overuse of this technique with patients that were not good candidates for the method to begin with.
How long does it take to heal from a hair transplant surgery?
Every patient goes through a scabbing process after surgery. By using the Graftcyte Kit, a patient will get rid of his/her scabs within 7-10 days. It takes about 2 weeks for patients to rid themselves from their scabs if the healing kit is not used. The growth of the hair is not dependent on the healing kit. Graftcyte allows a patient to heal quicker, thus allowing them to return to their normal routing quicker.
When can I return to work after my hair procedure?
The answer to this question depends on your work scenario. If you do heavy lifting or work in construction, for example, you should take a week off before returning to work. If you work in front of people and are not able to wear a hat/cap, you should also take a week due to scabbing process. However, if you work from home or are able to wear a hat/cap to work, you are able to return to work after about 2 days.
How long does it take for my new hair to grow?
After surgery, some follicles may hold on to the original hair, allowing it to continue to grow. Other follicles may dislodge hairs and reproduce new hairs. On average, a patient can expect to start seeing a difference at about the 4-5 month mark. From 6-10 months is where most of the growth occurs. Final result reached from 10-12 months. Everyone’s growth experience is different, since our bodies are all different. We always let our patients know that it’s taken a while to lose our hair…it’s going to take a while to get it back!
What options do I have for medical therapy?
There are four therapies used to stop/slow down hairloss. The first and most effective is Propecia (Finasteride). This small pill blocks the conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hair loss gene. Some patients take it as a 1 mg form, others cut the 5 mg pill into quarters, taking a ¼ pill daily (whole lot cheaper). A doctor’s prescription is required. The second form of therapy to fight hair loss is Rogaine (minoxidil). It comes in a 5% dosage (for men) and a 2% dosage (for women). Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication that is used to attract more blood to an area of the scalp where applied. This allows a weakening follicle to receive more blood (nutrition), this keeping it from dying and continuing to help it produce hair. The third option is laser therapy. Whether using the HairMax or the iGrow, laser therapy shoots a painless ray deep enough into the scalp in order to reach and stimulate follicles, thus helping it to receive more blood. The fourth option is Viviscal vitamins. Although this option does not block the hair loss gene, it helps to strengthen one’s hair. It comes in a regular dosage available over-the-counter and a professional strength available through doctors’ offices only.
Am I required to take part in hair therapy even if I get a hair transplant procedure?
Evidence has shown that the most successful patient in the hair restoration process uses some form of medical therapy along with hair transplant surgery. Hair therapy is used to help reduce future hair loss of native hair in a thinning area, while hair transplantation is used to replace those follicles that are already dead. Therefore, while using therapy to keep your native hair and adding hair with surgery, results in a patient reaching his/her goal quicker and staying there longer.
Does Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) really work?
PRP is the process of taking one’s blood, separating its platelets, and injecting them into injured tissue in order to improve its health. Although there is proven evidence that PRP has helped athletes with injured elbows and shoulders, there is still not enough evidence to confirm its effect on hair restoration. There is an excellent article produced by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), which is the most respected hair restoration education board, which highlights this topic (http://www.ishrs.org/article/platelet-rich-plasma-hair-transplantation). Unfortunately, several doctors in the industry have “jumped the gun” in relation to PRP in order to use it as a marketing tool more than its actual effectiveness. We are of the mind that if a patient pays $3-4k for a medical therapy, there should be some kind of guarantee that doctors offer in order to protect a patient’s investment. However, most doctors that offer PRP therapy protect themselves with clauses in their websites or patient paperwork that covers them in case it doesn’t work. Until there is more concrete evidence supporting PRP’s results, we recommend patients invest their hard earned money in either FDA proven medical therapies and/or hair transplantation.
At what age should I consider a hair transplant procedure?
We have had patients down the hair restoration process as young as early 20s and as old as in their mid 80s. Although there isn’t a limit in the older age segment, younger patients should take precaution of how young to “pull the trigger.” If a patient has started losing hair very young and already has an aggressive pattern of hair loss, he/she may not be a good candidate for surgery if their donor is not enough to satisfy their goals. It is important to select an honest and ethical clinic to give you an accurate analysis in order to guide you down the right path. We always put a patient’s best interest first in every case we consider. If you have a question not covered above, please call us anytime at 239-277-9000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org