So you’ve decided to get a hair transplant. You’re by no means alone. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) found that there has been an amazing 157% increase in hair transplant patients between 2008 – 2019. Asia was the most popular choice of destination with 196,630 procedures performed in 2019. With 735,312 individuals undergoing a hair transplant surgical procedure in 2019, this article focuses on the things you should know before getting a hair transplant.
IS A HAIR TRANSPLANT RIGHT FOR YOU?
Surprisingly, experiencing hair loss doesn’t necessarily make you an ideal candidate for hair transplantation for several reasons, which you may discover during your consultation. If you have widespread baldness, thick scalp injury scars, or hair loss due to certain medication or medical procedures, such as chemotherapy, a hair transplant may not be effective. This is because a hair transplant works best for hair loss such as natural balding, thinning, or hair loss from the injury. A good hair transplant clinic will advise you of this rather than encouraging you to pay for hair transplant surgery that will more than likely be unsuccessful.
Furthermore, undergoing this treatment at a young age or too soon may cause more hair loss. Therefore hair transplantation works best for individuals whose hair loss is somewhat stabilized and is not occurring.
EVERYONE’S HAIR TRANSPLANT JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT
Post-procedure regrowth varies from person to person, partly because hair loss is genetic and the surgery depends on the quantity of hair in your donor site (the area from where the hair follicle is removed). In addition to this, another thing to be aware of is whether you have dormant hair follicles because, if used, they could also lead to a less effective hair transplant. However, plasma therapy has shown to be up to 75% effective in encouraging transplanted hair to grow back.
POSSIBLE HAIR TRANSPLANT SIDE EFFECTS
Aside from scarring, which is the most common side effect, other possible side effects include
- Continued hair loss, especially if you’re still losing hair because of baldness
- Crust around the surgical sites
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hair follicle inflammation
- Loss of sensation around the surgical sites
- Pus drainage around the surgical sites
- Scalp itching, pain, or swelling
- Visible areas of hair that doesn’t match the surrounding hair or appears noticeably thinner.
POST SURGERY PRECAUTIONS
To minimize the side effects experienced, it’s important to be aware of post-surgery precautions you can take beforehand.
- Be kind to yourself and take a few days to rest and recover from the procedure, taking particular care of the transplanted area.
- Do not exercise for at least a week. Before returning to exercising or any strenuous activity, seek your doctor’s advice about whether you can.
- Wait a few days, post-surgery, to wash your hair and use a gentle shampoo.
- Do not add pressure to the area when you comb or brush your hair.
- Do not wear any headwear and avoid clothing that has to be pulled over your head until your doctor says you can.
- Wear a shower cap whenever possible to protect the follicles.
- Do not allow the transplanted area to come into contact with anything because your follicles will be extremely fragile.
- Try to keep your head straight when sleeping. This is to allow the follicles to connect to your bloodstream. When this happens, the blood connects to the follicles, securing them.
TRANSPLANTED HAIR IS REAL HAIR
You need to have patience whilst waiting for your transplanted hair to grow because real hair growth takes time. You could experience hair loss, but this doesn’t mean the hair transplant has failed. It typically takes four months for the hair to appear in the transplanted site. In eight months, approximately 80% of the hair in the recipient site (where the follicles are transplanted) will have grown. Although if the recipient site is the crown of your head, it could take longer. Your surgeon will advise you, accordingly. However, once the hair grows, you can maintain it in the same way you would normally do as it doesn’t require any special treatment.
Hair transplantation is a permanent process so you need to carefully consider whether it is the right procedure for you. If it isn’t, there are other methods you can use beforehand, such as over the counter medications or micro-pigmentation. If you undergo the procedure and are unhappy with the results then initially discuss the matter with your surgeon before contacting the appropriate authority in your country.