In the hands of the right surgeon, hair transplants have a high chance of success and are a far more reliable long-term solution than using restoration products.
However, if you’re contemplating a hair transplant it’s essential to consider the following;
• Hair loss is not a scalp problem; it's a hair follicle problem
• The transplanted hair will thin over time
• If you have dormant hair follicles, a transplant may not have a great long-term effect
• A successful transplant relies on the quality of your existing hair
• It may not be appropriate for those with widespread thinning and baldness
How a Hair Transplant Works
Hair transplants have become popular in recent years to replace hair that is thinning or balding. Predominantly, this is used on the head but can also be applied to other parts of the body including eyebrows and beard.
The procedure involves taking hair from thicker areas of the scalp, or body, and grafting it to the thinning or balding section of the scalp. According to recent surveys around two-thirds of males and approximately half of the female population suffer from some hair loss.
When Was the First Ever Hair Transplant?
The first time a surgeon attempted a hair transplant was 1939. It took place in Japan and involved moving single scalp hairs. Over time, physicians began using the renowned plug technique which involves transplanting large tufts of hair. This technique, while quick and affordable, did tend to leave scars which lead to an increasing popularity in using mini and micro-grafts.
Does a Hair Transplant Require Anaesthesia?
First, the surgeon sterilises the area where the hair will be taken from and numbs the skin with anaesthetic.. The surgeon then applies one of the two transplant methods and takes the hair from the fuller parts of the scalp, typically, the back of your head.
Patients can choose from one of two types of procedure, below is a brief explanation of both.
Why choose FUE?
Confidentiality: As FUE produces small round scars which are minimally visible, making it perfect for people with short hair.
Comfort: FUE recovery is arguably more comfortable, recovery is less painful, with no sutures or stitches to be removed, making aftercare very simple.
Choice: FUE can be more selective in the choice of hairs used for transplant, minimising both discomfort and visibility of the transplant.
If you prefer to wear your hair short FUE is the most suitable.
Why choose FUT?
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), or strip harvesting is another option. FUT is considered an advance over older hair transplantation procedures that used larger grafts and often produced an unnatural look. FUT will mimic the way the hair grows and will be undetectable as a hair transplant.
With FUT, a strip of hair is removed from the back or side of the scalp. FUT allows the surgeon to safely transplant thousands of grafts in a single session, which maximises the cosmetic impact of the procedure. You are given a local anaesthetic in the donor area of your scalp. A donor strip is then removed, and the area is closed with skin staples. This typically leaves a scar that’s easily hidden by your remaining hair. The follicular units are then divided under microscopic control into natural groupings of one, two and three hair follicular units.
Why choose FUT?
Convenience: An FUT hair transplant can be finished in one day without any problem.
Cost: FUT is often more economical because more grafts can be gathered in less time, making it slightly cheaper than some other hair transplant options.
FUT was the transplant method used for both of Embarrassing Bodies star Christian Jessen's hair transplants at Crown Clinic. Dr Jessen had his first procedure at Crown Clinic in 2009 and then a second procedure in 2013. On both occasions around 3,000 hairs were transplanted from the back and sides of the scalp to fill out the front of Dr Jessen's hairline. Read his story and what he had to say here.
Patients may benefit from both forms, as techniques can both be used to obtain a specific number and specific kind of grafts for your transplant procedure.