Also known as Hair Restoration or Hair Transplantation – the surgical process of moving hair follicles from one part of the body, rich in hair (known as a donor site) and embedding them at the recipient site (the bald area).
It is a minimally invasive procedure, performed under local anesthetic only and is most commonly used to treat male baldness but the technique can also be used to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair and to fill in scars. The procedure usually lasts between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the number of grafts.
While there are many causes of hair loss, the most common issue, especially for men, is genetics. Hereditary hair loss as men age is the number one leading factor of baldness.
We lose approximately an average of 100 hairs a day. However, these hairs are immediately replaced by new hairs that are also growing at the same time. Hair loss can occur suddenly or on a gradual phase and it may affect your scalp or your entire body, depending on what’s causing it. Furthermore, other causes of hair loss may also include the following:
- Stress – a lot of people may experience hair thinning for several months due to a physical or emotional shock. However, this type of hair loss is only temporary.
- Certain Hairstyles and treatments – hairstyles that pull your hair like tight pigtails, ponytails or braids can actually cause traction alopecia. Permanent hair treatments and hot oil treatment may also lead to hair loss; these hair treatments cause inflammation to the hair follicles. If there is scarring, hair loss may be permanent.
- Radiation Therapy to your head
- Certain medical conditions and hormonal changes – in women, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth menopause or thyroid problems may cause temporary or permanent hair loss. As for medical conditions, hair loss may be due to: alopecia, scalp infections like ringworm and hair pulling disorder known as trichotillomania.
Sudden hair loss may also be a sign of a specific medical condition that will require treatment. You will need to consult your doctor if you experience more than your usual hair loss whenever you are combing or washing your hair and also if you encounter a sudden patchy loss of hair.
Hair transplant is the usual treatment procedure performed on people who are experiencing baldness due to aging and heredity. However, if you are completely bald with absolutely no hair left then this type of treatment procedure may not be applicable for you.
The hair transplant procedure is basically taking the hair you have (donor site) and transfer it to the area where you don’t have hair (recipient site). As for the aesthetics used during the procedure, you may be given local anesthesia or if you wish to be asleep during the whole procedure you may request stronger sedation.
There are two methods used in a Hair transplant procedure:
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) – strips of tissue will be removed from your donor area, these strips will be cut into individual follicular units. Small cuts will be made on your scalp where the follicular unit grafts will be placed. Be aware of the potential scarring that can be caused by the FUT method, as shown below.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) – individual hair follicles will be directly extracted from your donor area and moved to your recipient site using a specialist microsurgical needle. This method is considered to be a modern approach and is also the preferred choice by patients.
Length of Stay in Destination
Both methods used in Hair Transplant treatment procedure usually takes 4-8 hours to complete and you should be able to go back to your hotel the same day after your procedure is completed. Expect that your stitches or staples may be removed after two weeks, but this can be done back home, so you won’t need to stay overseas for long after the procedure, just allow a few days to be sure before traveling home.
Pain and soreness are to be expected a few days after your treatment procedure. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you with the following medications to help you with your recovery:
- Pain killers
- Antibiotics – to lessen the risk of infection
- Anti-inflammatory – to help with the swelling
Most people can also return back to work, daily routine and exercise several days after the procedure.
Note that it is normal for the transplanted hair to fall out after two or three weeks. This will make way for your new hair to grow. Some will be able to see such improvements eight to twelve weeks after the treatment procedure.
The success rate for a Hair transplant procedure is actually as high as 98%. This type of treatment procedure is considered more successful than using over the counter hair products to restore your hair.
Scarring is the most common side effect of Hair transplant, just like any other procedures, this specific type of side effect cannot be avoided. Other potential risks and side effects may also include:
- Loss of sensation around the surgical sites
- Inflammation of hair follicles (folliculitis)
- Scalp pain, itching, and swelling
- Crust or pus around the surgical sites
- Continuation of hair loss
Alternatives to Hair Transplant
Laser therapy is one alternative to Hair transplant, a low-level laser device will be used as a treatment for a hair loss specifically caused by heredity. This low-level laser with a wavelength of 650 nanometres can actually stimulate your hair growth. However, long term effects for this type of alternative still remains uncertain.
PRP Therapy is another alternative to Hair Transplant. This type of treatment will make use of your own blood to promote hair growth. Your blood will be spun in a centrifuge to separate your blood’s plasma component from your red and white blood cells. Plasma contains many growth factors that promote hair growth when injected into the scalp.
Other non-surgical alternatives may be: shaving completely your hair, trying other hairstyles and using a wig or hairpiece.
To check prices or to book a Hair Transplant procedure in Thailand or anywhere else in the world, head on over to MyMediTravel now!