Hair Transplant Surgery for Women
Hair transplantation is an outpatient procedure whereby your own existing hair is transferred from a donor area to the recipient area.
Before we examine hair transplant surgery in detail, let’s clear up a few common misunderstandings about what hair transplant surgery is not.
Follicular Unit Hair Grafts
Although Hollywood likes to joke about “hair plugs” in movies and television shows, 21st Century hair transplants are virtually undetectable. The hair plug [a single hair graft consisting of 8 to 20 hairs] is ancient history. Even if a patient wanted “hair plugs,” they would find it impossible to convince a hair transplant doctor to implant them.
Modern hair transplant surgery has advanced substantially over the last two decades, and now, hair restoration surgeons only work with hair grafts known as follicular units.
The hair on your scalp grows naturally in groups of 1, 2, and 3 hair groupings known as follicular units. These groups are termed follicular units and this is the size of hair grafts that doctors will implant into your hair loss affected area. Because doctors are implanting the smallest possible grafts in their natural follicular unit state, the results are virtually undetectable and appear the most natural.
Hair transplant surgery is not just a procedure for men anymore. Approximately 40 percent of Scottsdale Institute patients are women. The procedure for women is performed much the same way as for men, with the noted exception of where and how the follicular units are implanted due to hair loss patterns. You may have noticed already that male hair loss patterns look quite different from how women lose their hair. Unlike the receding hair lines and bald spots that men get, female pattern hair loss can be characterized as a general thinning of the hair. See the diagram below.
The following outline describes an approximate step-by-step guide of a hair transplant procedure with the Scottsdale Institute.
Before Dr. Friedman can recommend the best treatment options for you, he needs to first learn all he can about you, and your hair loss. During your consultation, Dr. Friedman will conduct a detailed medical history, with a special focus on female relatives with hair loss; medications you are taking (which have been known to cause hair loss in women); and if the hair loss was sudden or developed gradually, over a long-period of time. Dr. Friedman will also conduct a close examination of your scalp to search for more clues about your hair loss.
In addition to this detailed medical history and examination, Dr. Friedman may suggest blood tests to rule out the following conditions known to cause hair loss: iron deficiency, protein deficiency, thyroid problems, or hormonal imbalances.
By taking all these factors into account, Dr. Friedman will be able to narrow down the cause and type of hair loss, which will determine the best course of treatment. The best course of treatment may be non-surgical, or surgical, which we discuss more below.
The Day of Your Procedure
Anesthetize the Donor and Recipient Areas.
On the morning of your procedure, you will be offered a valium 30 to 60 minutes before the actual procedure begins. This will help to relax and calm your nerves.
Using local anesthesia, Dr. Friedman will numb the donor area, and the hair loss affected area where you will receive your new hair grafts.
Extraction of the Donor Strip
The next step in the procedure is the removal of the donor strip. The size of the donor strip will depend on the desired number of hair grafts; hair density; and elasticity of the skin.
Dividing the strip into follicular units and suture donor area.
Once the doctor has removed the strip, our highly experienced technicians will begin dividing the strip into follicular unit hair grafts. This is one of the most important steps in the hair transplant procedure and one that other doctors seldom discuss. Dividing the donor strip into tiny follicular units takes a steady, practiced hand with the visual aid of a microscope and a LED lamp that illuminates from the bottom of the microscope. This help provides the view with a 3D like visualization of the hair grafts.
While the experienced technicians are dividing your grafts, Dr. Friedman will suture your donor area using special techniques that will minimize and camouflage the inevitable scar. Again, this is an important step other hair transplant doctors seldom mention to their patients.
Following the suturing of your donor area, you will be moved from lying on your stomach to comfortably reclining on your back in the surgery chair. At this point, the doctor will begin preparing your hair loss affected area for the follicular unit hair grafts to be implanted. Many patients sleep through this step. Or, you can choose to watch television while the grafts are inserted.
Implanting the New Hair Grafts
After numbing the recipient area, Dr. Friedman will use a custom made scalpel blade that is .6 to 1 millimeter wide. [A new blade is manufactured in our office for each new patient]. With this scalpel, Dr. Friedman will make tiny “paper cuts” that will receive your new hair grafts. Although you will not feel anything, due to the local anesthesia, you may sense a “tapping” in your hair loss affected area as Dr. Friedman works to make the slits.
It’s during this step in the hair transplant process that the experience and care of the doctor are most needed. The pattern in which the grafts are implanted must appear natural, and special care has to be taken to insure there is adequate blood flow to the new hair grafts. With Dr. Friedman’s thirty-years of experience, he will have to imagine how it will be when your new hair grows in to help guide him with where and how the recipient sites are made.
We Take Our Time…
Doctor Friedman and his highly experienced staff like to take their time when working with each patient. Unlike other hair transplant surgeons, there is no race to get done, and there is no assembly line approach. True, his team is efficient in their duties, but slowing things down will help us provide you with the best looking results. The average procedure, for women, will begin at 8:30 in the morning, and end around 4:30 in the afternoon.
When the procedure is over, Dr. Friedman will give you oral and printed instructions on how to care for your new hair grafts over the next week or two. He will also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection, a mild steroid (prednisone) to decrease swelling, and a mild pain killer—if needed.
It is important to remember that in all cases of hair transplantation the new transplanted hair will fall out in 7 to 30 days. Do not be alarmed by this because it is completely normal. Your new hair grafts have gone into the resting phase of the hair growth cycle and will reappear as new, permanent hair growth in 4 to 8 months on average.
Normal daily activities can be resumed 24 hours after surgery, but your exercise routine will have to wait for two weeks.
If you have any more questions about hair transplants, hair loss, or non-surgical treatment options, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at 480 500-7443.
“Excellence in Dermatology Health for Hair Loss. I investigated many marketed solutions for hair loss; none of them made sense. I never considered hair transplant until it was explained to me by Dave. Dr. Friedman gave me an understanding and confidence that led to my hair transplant solution. I am so grateful to Dr. Friedman and everyone in his organization for their thoughtfulness and expertise.”