Hair loss affects millions of men and women each year and is primarily caused by a combination of genetics, age and changing hormones. A hair transplant can help restore your self-confidence and make you feel more social and attractive, so you can get back to feeling like your true self again.
Maybe you've looked into different treatment options for hair loss and are close to making a decision and scheduling a procedure. But before you pull the trigger and make the investment, you have just one more question: Do hair transplants really work?
When performed properly, the success rate and level of patient satisfaction is extremely high with hair transplant procedures, but not all hair transplant methods are created equally. Hair transplants have been around since the 1950s, but the technology and techniques have come a long way since then.
The two most popular types of hair transplants today are follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
Strip Surgery vs. FUE
With FUSS, also known as strip harvesting, a long strip of skin from the back of the scalp — typically six to 10 inches long — is removed and divided into tiny grafts. With FUE, hair follicles are removed one at a time without the need for scalpels or sutures. In both cases, the harvested grafts are delicately placed in the areas of the scalp where you want more hair.
The FUE process takes a few hours and sometimes requires additional procedures to obtain thicker results. Most people are able to go back to work within a few days. The associated risk factors are minor bleeding and occasionally inflammation or infection of the hair follicles, which can be treated with antibiotics.
The main benefits of FUE are that there is no cutting, no sutures and, therefore, no linear scarring on the back of the scalp. NeoGraft, for example, uses gentle pneumatic pressure to extract the hair follicles rather than cutting away a large section of scalp to harvest follicles. The procedure is virtually painless, and only a local anesthetic is required.
This technique is also more effective at harvesting follicles than strip harvesting, which can damage the follicles. If more follicles survive the harvesting process, you have a better chance of a successful transplant.
Other, more invasive transplant procedures include tissue expansion, which uses a balloon-like device beneath the scalp to grow new hair-bearing follicles; and flap surgery, in which a section of bald scalp is cut out and a “flap” of hair-bearing skin is stretched over and sewn in its place. Scalp reduction, another technique, removes a segment of bald scalp and pulls forward a segment of hair-bearing scalp to fill in the bald area.
Does Hair Transplant Work?
The success of a hair transplant procedure largely depends on the quality of the donor hair — the number of available hair follicles and the viability of those follicles — the skill of the surgeon and the patient’s overall expectations.
Ideally, 95–98% of the grafts will successfully grow hair. Within two to three weeks, the “new” transplanted hair will fall out and new growth will begin within a month or two. Most patients report seeing about 60% of new hair growth after six to nine months. On average, hair grows about a half-inch each month.
The full effects of a hair transplant can take up to a year. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend also using Rogaine (Minoxidil) to help with hair growth for up to six months after the transplant procedure. There is always a risk that some grafts won’t "take." After the initial transplant, some patients have another “touch up” procedure to create even better natural-looking results.
The best candidates for a hair transplant are those who have healthy hair in donor areas of the scalp. Your hair color and texture will also affect your overall results. Remember, hair replacement procedures use your existing hair, so if you have very little hair to begin with, there are limits to what a transplant can accomplish.
Ultimately, if you feel better about yourself and your appearance when you look in the mirror each day, the procedure was a success!
Before choosing a hair loss treatment, carefully consider all the options and decide which is the best fit for you and the results you're trying to achieve. Always have your hair transplant performed by a qualified, certified professional.
Want to learn more about how NeoGraft can help you regrow your natural hair and regain your self-confidence? Request a consultation with our team of specialists at NeoGraft Dallas today.