Understanding Hair Transplantation

HAIR TRANSPLANT SURGEONS obtain living hair follicles from the back of the patient’s own scalp and then transplant them into the balding areas.

Fortunately, for most men, baldness is most often confined to the top of the head, leaving a horseshoe of remaining healthy hair at the sides and back of the scalp in a permanent wreath. This allows for healthy hair ready for harvesting. This hair is genetically programmed to continue to grow even in the worse cases of male pattern baldness. These areas are the donor region from which the hair you donate to yourself is removed, along with the follicles (hair roots) and some surrounding tissue.

Once the hair follicles have been extracted, they are transplanted to the balding parts of your scalp, into tiny slits made by the hair surgeon with specially designed cutting tools. The hair follicles, surrounding tissue, and skin are called grafts, and each graft contains one to four hair follicles with accompanying hair, tissue, and skin. No two heads are alike, and you will see that the art of hair transplantation is just as important as its science or medical aspects.

Hair density is the number of hair follicles you have per square centimeter of scalp. Scalp laxity is the flexibility and looseness of your scalp. More grafts of hair can be transplanted when your density is high and the scalp laxity is high.

Coarse hair is bulkier and can therefore be transplanted using fewer hairs per graft since it gives more coverage of the scalp. Fine hair has less bulk and can give a very natural look, but less coverage than coarser hair. Wavy and curly hair lends itself to good visual results in transplantation because a single wavy or curly hair curls on itself and therefore covers more scalp area than straight hair. Curly hair also rises from the scalp and holds its shape, and these factors also give the appearance of greater coverage.

The closer your hair color is to your skin color, the better the appearance of the hair’s coverage. Afro-centric hair is dark and very curly and therefore provides the least contrast against various shades of dark skin, giving the best visual hair transplant results.

From a visual point of view, people with dark, straight hair and a light complexion pose the most artistic challenge in hair transplantation because they have the most contrast between their hair and skin shades.

When designing your procedure, your doctor must keep in mind your future hair loss pattern and the rate of potential hair loss. The design of your restored hairline is crucial. Natural frontal hairlines vary in shape and density from person to person. Your doctor will choose the recipient sites for the trans-planted hair based upon an overall design that may take more than one hair transplant session to achieve. These sessions typically take place a minimum of twelve months or even years apart, depending upon the progression of your hair loss.

The front and top of your head will receive transplanted hair first because these are the areas that frame your face and make the most impact on your appearance. The crown is usually the last area to receive hair (in later procedures), unless it’s your only balding area.

The number of procedures needed depends upon the extent of your hair loss, the projected hair loss rate, the amount of donor hair you can spare, and other artistic and medical considerations. Men can often have the results they’re looking for in just one or two hair transplant sessions in which thousands of hairs are transplanted in follicular unit grafts of one to four hairs each. Women need more sessions to achieve acceptable cosmetic density. These sessions can last between five and ten hours each, but this depends on how many grafts are being transplanted and the type of procedure; FUT or FUE.

Animated Patient Education Video : Hair Transplantation, 8 minutes
Topics Discussed: A visual animation and explanation of follicular units and how state-of-the-art hair transplant surgery is performed.


See Also:
Understanding Hair Transplants
Follicular Unit Hair Transplants
Follicular Unit Extraction
Typical Procedure in Eight Steps
Frontal Hair Transplants
Crown Hair Transplants
Facial Hair Transplants
Hair Transplants for Women
Eyebrow Hair Restoration
HT Questions & Answers
Patient Reviews
In-Depth Hair Transplant Info