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What exactly is a hair transplant?

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure in which hair is transplanted onto bald or thinning areas of the scalp. It is usually reserved for people who have tried other hair loss treatments. It is also known as hair restoration or hair replacement. Hair transplants are performed by dermatologists (healthcare providers specializing in the skin) or plastic surgeons (healthcare providers specializing in reconstructive procedures).

Why is hair transplant surgery is performed?

There are numerous reasons why you may be losing your hair. Hair loss is sometimes temporary, but it can also be permanent. Hair implants may aid in the treatment of permanent hair loss caused by:

  • Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that targets hair follicles.
  • Pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia.
  • Thyroid conditions and hormonal imbalances.
  • Burns or traumatic injuries.

What are the risk factors involved?

A hair transplant, like any other surgery, has risks. They are:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia is one of them.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Grafts or flaps that have failed.
  • Infection.
  • Loss of sensation in your scalp.
  • Scarring.

What are the various kinds of hair transplant surgery?

There are numerous techniques for hair transplant surgery, including:

  • Grafting. Hair grafting is the most prevalent form of hair transplantation surgery. A medical professional removes tiny pieces of healthy hair from the scalp. They sometimes use a small, round punch to remove the skin with 10 to 15 hairs. These grafts were previously referred to as “hair plugs.” Micrografts are made up of one to two hairs. The procedure may take several hours. Most patients remain awake during the procedure but are given medication to numb the scalp. You may require multiple procedures depending on how much hair your provider needs to move. Between procedures, your scalp will need to heal for a few months.
  • Scalp Reduction. Scalp reduction is also known as alopecia reduction by providers. During this procedure, a surgeon removes a small patch of bald skin from the scalp. They loosen nearby hair-bearing skin and pull it over the bald spot. They then sew it in place. Scalp reduction is ideal for treating bald spots on the top and back of the head. These areas are typically surrounded by skin and hair. To achieve full coverage, providers may combine scalp reduction and hair implants. Scalp reduction, like grafting, usually only requires numbing medication on the scalp. This means you will not require general anesthesia.
  • Flap Surgery. If you have large bald patches near the front of your scalp, your surgeon may recommend flap surgery. Flap surgery is performed in stages over a few weeks. The surgeon makes three superficial cuts around the donor site. The fourth side is still attached and receives its original blood supply. This technique assists the surgeon in cutting the flap and lifting it over bald spots. General anesthesia is required for flap surgery.
  • Tissue Expansion. Your provider may recommend tissue expansion surgery if you have burn-related scalp baldness or disfigurement. Tissue expansion necessitates general anesthesia and consists of several steps:
    1. A reconstructive surgeon places an implant beneath the scalp, where hair still grows. It’s called a tissue expander because it’s shaped like a balloon.
    2. The expander is gradually inflated over several weeks to stretch the skin.
    3. The stretched skin is used to cover the bald area in a second procedure performed by the surgeon.

What are the benefits of hair transplant?

Benefits include:

  • Fuller hair with fewer bald spots.
  • Self-esteem has improved.
  • Permanent hair loss treatment.

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