What is a hair graft?
Hair grafting, hair transplantation, hair micrografting, hair transplant, or hair implant, as it is also known, is a minimally invasive surgical technique.
Basically what you do is a hair redistribution from the body, that is, hair is taken from a donor area and transplanted into a recipient area.
What is the hair graft for?
Hair grafting is generally used as a restorative treatment in cases where the hair and follicle have been lost for some reason, such as androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness, alopecia areata or some scar.
It is important to mention that hair transplantation is not limited to head hair only; since you can also transplant other areas of the body such as: eyebrows, tabs, beard and body hair; as well as in alopecia in women. Therefore, you do not necessarily have to have an obvious baldness problem to undergo transplant surgery.
Related topic: «Can someone else's hair be grafted?«
What is the cost of a Hair Graft?
Each treatment has its price, which also depends on the area to be covered. So the prices that we will see below may vary according to the particular case and, of course, the clinic.
Treatment starts from the average base of 57,000 to 60,000 pesos. From there, and depending on the number of grafts to be made, the price will increase or may decrease a little.
Hair transplant surgery is a minimally invasive procedure. However, specialized training and experience in performing surgical procedures is required. Therefore, the procedure must always be performed entirely by a surgeon, with proven experience in diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions that affect the hair, and with solid training in the surgical technique of hair transplantation.
How is a hair transplant done?
From the patient's point of view, the hair graft procedure is relatively simple. It is an outpatient procedure, therefore, no kind of hospitalization is required. Surgery is usually performed with Anesthesia local; therefore, only the areas to be worked sleep. In this way, the patient is conscious during the duration of the procedure. Although on some occasions, a sedative can be used to keep the patient calm and relaxed during surgery.
The surgery consists of several steps, which can be somewhat different depending on the technique used. The first, extraction of the follicles; second, dissection and storage of follicles; third, preparation of the hair implant area and placement of the grafts.
The hair implant procedure is carried out in stages:
At this stage, the follicles are removed from the donor area one by one until the follicles necessary for the implant are obtained. This part lasts approximately 40 minutes to 3 hours depending on the number of follicles to be removed. Once the extraction is completed, the next stage of the procedure is passed.
Preparation and design of the implant area
During this stage, the doctor will explain how the implants will be distributed, which areas will be covered, your opinion will be taken into account for the implant. It is very important that you agree with what the doctor will tell you in this part, so that you are satisfied with the results. Remember that implanted hair is permanent, so you must be sure that you understand everything the doctor says. If you have doubts, ask as many times as necessary to make it clear what they are explaining to you.
Implantation in the grafts
At this stage, the follicles are implanted one by one. The duration of this stage also depends on the number of follicles to be implanted. On average it lasts from 1 to 4 hours. This is the longest stage of the procedure and the most crucial, since the way the hair is implanted must be carefully taken so that the result is very natural.
Because the procedure can be very long, sedative medication is sometimes given to keep you calm during the procedure and to move as little as possible. You may fall asleep during surgery. So it is very likely that you do not realize the time that passes. If at any time you feel pain or discomfort it is very important that you mention it.
Hair grafting techniques
For the extraction of the follicles from the donor area there are two main techniques:
FUT or "Strip" Technique
La FUT technique or transplant of follicular unit. It is also known as a strip technique. This was developed in the early 90's, being the first technique to be used. Currently it is widely used by doctors. In this technique, the follicles are extracted by making an incision in the scalp with a scalpel blade, a complete strip of follicles is taken and then they are divided to implant.
The FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction technique. This technique was later developed and is also widely used by many doctors. Here, follicles are taken one by one and a special punch-like device is used to make an incision around the follicles. Because the follicles are removed without using a scalpel blade, the scar on the donor site is much less visible than with the strip technique. In this case, only slight brushing can be seen by completely shaving the scalp. After the extraction of the follicles, they will be implanted one by one using a special device.
What hair transplant technique should I choose? WAS or Tira?
Both techniques are good if done properly. There are doctors who specialize in a particular technique, there are others who do the two techniques or even combine them. Each one has its advantages, disadvantages and particularities. To use one technique or another, it will depend on the preference of the patient as well as the judgment of the doctor who performs the procedure.
Recently, an increasing number of patients have been found who prefer to use FUE technique, due to the general perception that it has that it generates better healing and has less discomfort; in addition to being perceived as a less aggressive technique. Although we repeat, both techniques are good if done properly.
What technique do specialists prefer?
In the case of doctors, either for fashion or for the perception of better results, some have chosen to switch entirely to the FUE technique; but several continue to use the strip technique only, or combine the two. Remember that each doctor has his preferred technique and the result will depend on the level of experience he has in it. In later articles we will talk in detail about the techniques that exist.
Where do you get hair for transplanting?
The nature of the donor area depending on each case in particular, for a case of androgenetic alopecia the ideal donor part is the posterior area of the scalp; specifically speaking of the occipital and parietal area of the head, that is, the nape and the posterior laterals; This is because the follicles in this area have slightly different genetics than those on the front and top, therefore they are immune to the fall process.
Because the donor area is limited, when a patient has undergone previous procedures, it may be considered unsuitable for a transplant. Some patients may also have an insufficient donor area from the start; for these cases it is possible to use alternate areas, such as body hair.
The length of the procedure depends on many factors, such as: the number of follicles to be transplanted, the type of technique being used to extract the follicles, the skill and experience of the surgeon. Although it is generally done in the course of about 4 to 9 hours. As it is a procedure that does not require hospitalization, patients can go to rest at home the same day of surgery.
After Hair Grafting
Once the hair transplant procedure is finished, you are likely to feel a little dizzy or sleepy, due to the medications that were administered to you. Immediately after the procedure, you will come out with a special bandage in the extraction area, the implantation area will be crusted, and you may look very swollen, so don't panic. You will not feel pain after the procedure, although you can feel itching or a strange sensation in the worked areas, such as numbness, or as if you had something on your head. Those sensations will gradually subside over time.
After the procedure, your doctor will explain in detail all the care you will need to take to ensure that your result is as expected. It is important that you pay attention to this information. Because you may be dizzy or sleepy after the procedure, it is highly recommended that a family member or friend be with you so they listen to the doctor's explanation and can later support you with care.
What care is needed after the hair implant procedure?
Although it is a minimally invasive procedure, there are a number of subsequent care. After surgery, it takes about 5 to 7 days for the grafted follicles to fully fix to their new area. Therefore, during this time it is important: do not touch the implant area, do not expose yourself to the sun, do not make intense physical efforts and do not drink alcohol.
These indications may vary depending on the doctor and the place where the procedure is performed. It is also required to be very careful when cleaning the implant area during this time. Depending on the number of follicles implanted, some patients may experience significant inflammation in the face area; It is not dangerous, but it can be annoying.
Taking care of the washing the days after the procedure, will allow us a better result
Hair graft complications
Although the risks are very low if done properly, some post-procedure complications can still occur.
The most frequent are:
- Cyst formation: They can form in up to 20% of patients. They are usually reabsorbed on their own, although topical or oral antibiotics may be required. In some cases it may be necessary to remove them.
- Inflammation: It can be very severe at first, but it will go away on its own in about 3 days.
There are some rare ones, such as:
You may also be interested to know about the «Shedding on Hair«
Are there any complications secondary to the hair transplant procedure?
Due to the nature of the procedure, the chance of complications occurring is relatively low; therefore, it is a very safe and effective surgery if patients follow the doctor's recommendations to the letter; however, like any medical procedure, complications can occur.
The most important are of two types, for the hair implant:
- Those of the donor area, which can be: infections, visible scars, necrosis, neuralgia and arteriovenous fistulas.
- Those in the recipient area can be: necrosis, cyst formation, folliculitis and unnatural appearance of the transplant.
If you are interested or are already determined to perform a hair transplant procedure, it is important that you go to a specialized clinic, which has medical professionals, with experience in hair transplantation.
How long do you see results of the hair graft?
The transplanted hair takes about a year to come out after the procedure. Although the exact time depends on each person, on average an evident result begins to be seen approximately 6 months after it was performed.
When the transplanted hair is taken from the proper donor area, the result is permanent. I mean, this hair is not going to fall out. However, it is very important that you understand that non-transplanted hair can continue to be lost and the time it will take to completely lose it is very difficult to predict. So it is important that you ask your doctor, so that he recommends a maintenance treatment.
During the year it takes to observe the final result, it is very important to have patience, remember that if the procedure is carried out properly and you follow the recommendations and care of your doctor to the letter, the result will be very satisfactory.