Understanding hair transplants is thoroughly important before you make a decision to move forward. Hair transplants can only be performed by harvesting DHT resistant hair from the back of your own scalp (donor area), and then transplanting it into the balding areas.
Typically, men experiencing male pattern baldness will have a permanent rim of hair surrounding the sides and the back of their head. Hair is harvested from from this area for a hair transplant. Unlike the hair on top of the head, this hair is genetically programmed to grow for a lifetime. There is an exception for men suffering with diffuse hair loss.
With diffuse loss, hair is thinning across the entire scalp leaving the sides and the back very sparse. If this hair were transplanted, there would be no guarantee that it would continue to grow in the recipient area. The reason: The hair appears to be genetically unstable and just as susceptible to DHT as the hair loss on top of the head. Women often experience diffuse thinning, and for this reason the vast majority should never have a hair transplant.
The following questions and answers will help you better understand hair transplant procedures.
Do surgeons use my hair for a hair transplant?
Yes. Unlike an organ transplants, hair transplant patients are the donor and recipient. Hair follicles from someone else (other than an identical twin), would be rejected without immune-suppressant drugs. Your follicles for the hair transplant are removed from the donor region in the back and sides of the head.
Where is the donor area?
There is a pattern to baldness and therefore it’s called ‘male pattern baldness’ and ‘female pattern baldness.’ As you may have noticed with many men, no matter how thin their hair is in the front, top, and crown areas of their heads, the sides and back still have a lot of hair. The hair on the sides and back are not affected by DHT because this hair has a different genetic code. This hair is not affected by DHT and lasts a lifetime.
Where is my hair placed by the doctor and his team during the hair transplant procedure?
Following extraction of the donor hair, the grafts are transplanted to the thinning/balding areas of your scalp. The doctor creates recipient sites (tiny slits) with his surgical tools. The grafts (1,2,3, and sometimes 4 hairs), are transplanted at a specific angle and direction based on the patient’s individual pattern. Because no two heads are alike, every hair transplant procedure is a custom work of art by the doctor and team.
How does hair density and scalp elasticity affect the procedure?
Hair density is the number of hair follicles you have per square centimeter on your scalp. Scalp laxity is the looseness or flexibility of your scalp. Doctors can transplant more hair when your density is high and the scalp laxity is high.
How does hair texture & color affect your hair transplant?
If you have fine hair, you will typically require more grafts than someone with coarse hair. Coarse hair is thicker and therefore fewer grafts are needed to cover the same area. However, fine hair that’s light may appear to have more coverage on white skin then darker skin. The reason: less contrast of the hair with the scalp. Curly or wavy hair offers good visual results in a hair transplant because a curly and wavy hair covers more scalp than straight hair.
Are there other visual considerations?
The doctor must consider your potential hair loss in the future. Hair line design of your transplant is crucial. Hair lines often vary in shape depending on ethnicity and density from one person to another. The doctor will create a design that is age appropriate and one that you will make you happy. Additional hair transplant procedures may be necessary in the future if you lose more of your native hair. Transplanted hair is permanent. Depending on preventative measures you take (Propecia, Finasteride, Rogaine, Minoxidil, Low Level Laser Therapy) to preserve your remaining ‘native hair’ you may need a future surgery depending on the progression of your hair loss.
How do doctors decide where to transplant my hair?
Most of the time, hair will be transplanted in the front and top of your head first. The front frames your face and makes the biggest impact on the way you look. The crown is usually last area to receive unless it’s your only balding area or if it bothers you more than losing hair in front.
How many hair transplant procedures will I need?
The number of procedures depends on how much hair you’ve lost, and the amount of donor hair available to restore it. Men often have the results they want in one or two hair transplant sessions. Many women are not hair transplant candidates, however Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been very helpful in giving women thicker healthier hair.