Many factors cause hair loss but the main one is a hereditary genetic predisposition for both men and women.
Hair can be successfully transferred in a similar way to other transplants of limbs and organs. Success relies upon maintaining a constant flow of blood to the scalp so that the hair remains healthy. Some 50,000 men benefit from the procedure each year. Because the newly moved hair acts in the same way as before it blends with existing and surrounding areas, but has a better chance of survival because it genetically reflects the area from which it came rather than the balding area. It will take the characteristics of its host and age naturally alongside neighbouring hair and to this extent will be virtually the same in colour texture and flexibility, so that it can be washed dressed combed and treated without any noticeable difference.
Patients all receive individual attention in relation to their desires and the nature of the operations they require. There will be no evidence of the transfer of the hair since no visible linear scar is left in donor areas.
Light head cover can be worn immediately but immediate exercise should be avoided for five days. Any numbness around the recipient sites will diminish in 3 months and the donor hair will shed to be replaced by new growth in 14-28 days and hair growth commences in 3-4 months.
Procedures will look natural when skilful use of FUE is evident and in most cases, may not even be detected by hairdressers. Patients do not need to cut their own hair before surgery although some areas will need to be shaved to perform FUE.
Follicular units provide the basis from which individual or clusters of hair grows and there may be up to five hairs in a follicle. A transplant involves carefully moving the healthy follicles and allowing their hair production in recipient areas.
Over time, the replaced areas will blend with surrounding areas covering thinning and maintaining a natural look. Short term scabbing and marks from the original sites are to be expected but disappear relatively quickly as the transplants take place and new hair becomes established through growing into place.
Bandages are kept to a minimum, and not routinely used, a light dressing may be used to deal with slight bleeding on the first day of the procedure.
Often patients return to work immediately, although some wish to take time to adjust to their new appearance and regain their personal stature composure and confidence. Many procedures can be disguised by similarly cut surrounding hair or areas combed over, but some time may be needed for hair to grow back. Hats may be worn immediately after surgery and may be necessary if a person works outside to protect them from sunburn to the scalp.
Realistically hair will come back in three to four months but will need extra time before it makes a cosmetic difference. If there are not protracted problems of scarring the full effect of the surgery will be recognised in a year to eighteen months.
But most will attain this at 12 to 14 months. Sometimes, a result may take longer to show when working with scars or filling in a previously transplanted area.
Hair transplant surgery takes between four to eight hours per session, but the surgeon will endeavour to make the patient as comfortable as possible throughout.
Generally a single session would allow the transplant 25-30% of the original density in a treated area. For most patients, a session is required for each bald patch to regain sufficient density, but this must be considered against existing hair and the natural look of the outcome.
The procedure is not designed to restore overall baldness or provide permanent full heads of hair, but rather to compensate for thinning and replace patches. With expert help though it is possible to give the impression of having more hair whilst also guarding against further scalp deterioration.
The recommended procedure works best for men above the age of 25, when hair loss is likely to become more obvious and usually less easy to disguise. Attempting it too soon may lead to underestimating further loss of unhealthy areas giving a long-term unnatural patchy effect, and the need to later further rectification.
When the procedures are done in sympathy with the natural looks of the donor, the effect should last forever, especially as the transplant will integrate into a person’s style and appearance over his lifetime.
Anaesthesia may be administered into the scalp to make the actual procedure, pain-free and the patient will be made to feel as comfortable as possible by finding him a suitable position of rest throughout the operation. Since he will be awake, although mildly sedated throughout he may be able to do light stationary activities to detract him from the procedures.
FUE is minor cosmetic and relatively safe surgery. Patients are well looked after before during and after their procedures and have access to full professional advice and experienced support throughout by exceptional nursing staff and hospital standard equipment.
Most patients can resume their favourite sports within a week of return after surgery, and the transplanted hair will respond in the same manner as existing hair. It will continue to grow and can be cut curled and dyed as required, but care should be taken in cleaning and the scalp and maintaining general health.
Compared with other options the outlay for a transplant is initially more but offers benefits that other options do not. The results are natural and lasting and add to genuine levels of confidence by reducing worry or potential comment or embarrassment otherwise associated to the wearing of hairpieces or wigs.
Everyone will be treated in accordance to their needs, requirements and personal budgets to provide the fullest most relevant service possible. There are many variables which need to be taken into consideration including hair types, levels of confidence and desired expectations and outcomes which are best dealt with through individual consultancy and discussion.
Final decisions as to whether to undertake surgical procedures rest with the surgeon. Full disclosure openness and honesty about background, pre-existing medical intent are however prerequisites of proceedings and continuation or curtailment, are at his discretion in the light of available and disclosed information.
The hair used in the procedures offered must come from the donor’s own head as this reduces the chances of rejection, and mitigates the need for additional drugs which would otherwise need to be taken for a lifetime.