Hair loss is a common problem and is seen more commonly in males and in some females. The loss in male is down to hormonal interactions at the level of the hair follicle. Male pattern baldness follows a particular pattern with the frontal-temporal areas earliest affected. Fortunately there are areas in the scalp which can be used as donor areas as they do not tend to be affected in the balding process.
Essentially in a hair transplant, hair is harvested from the back of the head in a strip and the site is closed by the Trichophytic closure method. This leaves a well hidden scar. The strip of hair bearing tissue is then used to harvest the hair follicle in the advanced technique of Follicular Unit Transplantation. These follicles are then inserted into the bald areas of the scalp.
You will have a detailed consultation with Dr Sanjay Azad who will assess the hair loss after taking a full history. It is important at this point not to have cut you hair less than 1 cm in length. He will then decide on the procedure and discuss with you all related aspects of hair transplantation.
The procedure takes between 4-8 hours. It is done under local anaesthetic and both the donor area and the recipient area are completely numbed during the operation.
Once you have had the operation you will have a light dressing on the head. Followup is typically in a week after surgery and then longer term. It is important not to traumatize the transplanted area after surgery and using a hat for the first week is certainly useful.
It is important to remember that it can take from 1-2 operations to get the desired end result. Hair growth will start 4 months after transplantation, typically at a rate of 1cm per month. It takes about 8 months to get substantial hair growth, and this continues for upto 18 months.
Regular analgesia is only required for the first few days after surgery and can then be reduced. Time of work is individual but need not be for more than a week.
Risks and Complications
The scar of the donor site is barely visible after surgery and will rarely become lumpy. Infection and bleeding are both uncommon. The donor area can feel quite numb after surgery due to division of superficial nerves but will get better in few months.
Hair growth takes time and will be assessed as you are followed up.