What you need to know about hair transplant surgery

Hair transplant surgery has hit the headlines in recent years after high-profile celebrities, including England football star Wayne Rooney, showcased the results of surgery. Hair transplants have become increasingly popular as a result of advances in science and technology and an increased focus on beauty and attractiveness in society. Many people experience a loss of confidence when they lose their hair and a hair transplant can help to restore their self-esteem, as well as making them look younger.

What is hair transplant surgery?

Hair transplant surgery is designed to restore the natural hair and prevent any further hair loss. There are various surgical and non-surgical methods available, but the most well-known and effective procedure is known as follicular unit extraction (FUE). Follicular unit extraction involves taking individual units of hair follicles from an area where the hair is thick (usually at the back of the head, but it could be any part of the body) and implanting them into the area where the hair is thin or completely non-existent (usually at the front of the head). Surgeons pluck the healthiest hair follicles and implant them into the agreed area by creating tiny incisions. This procedure is preferable to strip transplants as the healing process is quicker, results are more natural and there is much less scarring.

When do results start to show?

Every individual is different but after FUE the results usually start to become visible after 3-4 months. After this time the hair will start to grow and will be the same thickness and colour as before the transplant. The hair will simply grow in areas where it was previously thin, creating a fuller, thicker head of hair.

Will the transplant be noticeable?

In the past techniques were used to remove large strips or pieces of hair (known as the plug technique) and implant them on another part of this head. This caused a kind of ‘doll’s hair effect’, which meant the results looked very obvious and unnatural. Today, thanks to amazing advances in technology and techniques, the results are incredible and it is very difficult to tell that an individual has had a transplant. The follicle unit extraction procedure enables surgeons to remove and implant individual units, creating a natural and healthy look.

Are there any risks?

If a trained professional carries out a hair transplant procedure it should be highly effective and safe. However, as with all medical procedures there is a risk of complications, although it is important to stress that these are rare and usually mild. There is a risk of infection but this should be minimal and scarring is also a risk. Since everyone heals at a different speed and in different ways, it is difficult to say how severe scarring may be.

FUE tends to be much less invasive than traditional strip transplants and scarring is less severe. The other risk associated with hair transplants is that the hair may not grow as quickly as anticipated, but again everyone is different and the expected growth times are only a guideline. Your surgeon will outline all the risks before you agree to go ahead and have treatment.

Richard is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on subjects ranging from hair transplants to dentistry and even weight loss. He welcomes your visit @thefreshhealth on Twitter if you would like to learn more about these topics.

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