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Do Hair Transplants Really Work?

Reviewed on 11/20/2020
A hair transplant is typically done as an out-patient procedure in the doctor's office
A hair transplant is typically done as an out-patient procedure in the doctor’s office

Modern-day hair transplants provide natural-looking hair compared to the unnatural looking hair of the hair transplants performed in older days. The results are typically permanent. The outcome of the transplant, however, greatly depends on the expertise of the surgeon performing the procedure. The presence of underlying health conditions such as diabetes may also influence the healing after the procedure. Nonetheless, surgical hair restoration or hair transplant is the only proven procedure to get natural hair growth in bald areas of the scalp. You may see the results of the procedure between six and nine months after the surgery. In some patients, the results may take a year to appear. There may be hair fall in the transplanted area between two to eight weeks of the procedure. This is a normal occurrence, and you do not need to worry about it. The hair may look thinner by around the third month of the procedure, but hair growth occurs thereafter to provide you a fuller scalp.

What is a hair transplant?

A hair transplant is a procedure in which there is the removal of small pieces (punch grafts) of tissue from the hair-bearing scalp. This is called a donor area, and it is cut into smaller pieces to place these on a bald or thinning area of the scalp. The procedure is also called hair restoration surgery. It gives good and long-lasting results. A hair transplant is typically done as an out-patient procedure in the doctor’s office or any other out-patient setting. People who have significant hair loss are generally the candidates for hair transplant procedures. Compared to the olden days hair transplants where there used to be unnatural looking hair with visible hair plugs, modern-day hair transplants provide natural-looking hair and thus a higher satisfaction in the people who undergo the procedure. 

What happens during a hair transplant procedure?

A hair transplant is typically done as an out-patient procedure in the doctor’s office or any other out-patient setting. The procedure typically takes around four to eight hours to complete. In people who need a large amount of hair transplant, there may be a need to return for a few hours the next day. During the surgery, the surgeon cleans the scalp and injects the scalp with a numbing medication (local anesthesia). The patient stays awake during the procedure. The surgeon may give a mild sedative to help the patent stay comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.

The surgeon will then remove the healthy hair by either cutting a strip of the scalp skin with healthy hairs or removing individual hairs. This is done to give natural-looking hair and avoid the appearance of visible hair plugs. Removing individual hair is a time-consuming exercise but gives more aesthetically acceptable results. Before transplanting the harvested hair, they need to be prepared. The area of the scalp to be transplanted with hair is also prepared by the surgeon.

The hair to be transplanted is then placed in the area that needs hair. Two to three members of the hair transplant team may be involved in the procedure depending on the number of hair to be transplanted. After all the hair has been transplanted, the scalp is bandaged. The patient is given instructions about the care needed at home and when they have to come back for a follow-up.

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References
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/treatment/transplant

https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/hair-transplant/procedure

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