Can you describe the process that occurs during the hair transplant surgery?
In the typical hair transplant surgery procedure, the patient’s medical history is detailed to rule out medication allergies and medical illnesses which could complicate the surgery. Occasionally, surgical clearance may be needed from the patient’s Internist or Primary Care Physician.
The day of surgery the patient and the surgeon revisit the proposed hairline for height and design as well as the area planned for transplantation and the approximate number of grafts required for coverage. Once these points have been agreed upon, the surgeon cleans the scalp with an antiseptic cleanser and then trims the planned donor region allowing the hair above the planned strip to comb over the incision.
Many surgeons either premedicate the patient with a tranquilizer such as Valium orally or by intravenous injection. As soon as the patient is drowsy, the scalp is anesthetized with a local anesthetic such as Lidocaine.
Once the scalp is numb, the donor strip is harvested from the safe fringe which is insensitive to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) and therefore will grow for the remainder of the person’s life. The donor strip is then handed to the hair technicians who under stereomicroscopes cut the tissue into follicular unit grafts containing 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs. After the technicians receive the donor strip, your doctor will suture the donor area using methods to minimize the scar that will later be visible.
After the follicular unit grafts have been prepared, the width of the grafts is measured and custom made blades for the recipient sites are made using the Cutting Edge Custom Blade machine. By customizing the width and height of the recipient blades we can achieve more density per square centimeter and reduce scalp and vascular trauma to the scalp.
The surgeon then begins the process of making the recipient sites in the angle and direction we want the hair to grow. This is the part of the surgery which requires artistry to achieve a natural, undetectable surgical result.
Once all the recipient sites have been made, the long process of inserting the grafts begins. In most hair transplant offices, the insertion of the grafts is performed by the specially trained hair transplant technicians. The grafts are held within their sites by the body’s natural glue called fibrin. This allows the grafts to stay firmly in place while clotting occurs.
For the past 15 years I have not applied a post-operative pressure bandage since we started transplanting Follicular Unit Grafts. The patient is instructed to sleep on their back in a 45 degree angle for the next three nights to prevent swelling. The morning following surgery, the patient returns to the office for a shampoo and cleaning of the donor and recipient regions. WE also teach the patient how to prevent scabbing and crusting over the grafts by applying a particular ointment four times per day for four days. If the patient follows our post-operative instructions diligently, their scalp will return to its normal appearance in approximately 7 days.
— Dr. Shelly Friedman, DO
Board Certified Hair Restoration Surgeon
Arizona’s Most Trusted Hair Loss Doctor
Named Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doc – Hair Transplant Surgeon