Whatever the cause hair loss can be disheartening and getting the right information about why this is happening and the treatment options available is an important first step. At Sthetix we will help you to make the right decisions for now and in the long term.
Introduction To Hair Transplant
Hair loss occurs both in men and women and almost everyone suffers with this to a degree, at some point in their life. For some this can be very distressing and seeking information about the cause and range of treatment options available is the first step. This will help you decide on a plan that is right for you.
Transform your look and restore lost volume and texture with a hair transplant at Sthetix. Using innovative techniques, our highly qualified team of plastic surgeons have extensive experience performing this surgery, delivering truly life-changing results.
Reconstructive V’s Restorative Hair Transplant
There are different causes of hair loss, some more common than others. It is important for your surgeon to understand the cause of your hair loss, to ensure they devise the correct management plan.
A Restorative Hair Transplant is undertaken where hair loss has occurred through more the more classic ‘male pattern baldness’ or medical reasons. A Reconstructive Hair Transplant is, on the other hand, undertaken on the site of skin trauma, where scarring has occurred in a hair bearing site, leading to a bald patch where skin or scalp can be seen. This may be due to a wound, post-surgery scarring or a burn.
Below we have described some of the more common causes along with their typical management plan. However, it is important that you discuss your hair loss with your surgeon to ensure you get the right treatment.
Male Pattern Baldness
‘Male pattern baldness’ (which can also occur in women), is known as ‘Androgenetic alopecia” (AGA), this tends to run in families. Testosterone is a normal hormone present in all men and by itself does not damage hair roots or follicles. However, when it is converted by an enzyme (5-alpha reductase II) into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), this causes the roots of susceptible hair to shrink and become inactive.
Based on the extent of damage, further hair loss can be stalled and in some cases hair growth reactivated using other treatments such as medications, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), supplements etc. Your surgeon will advise you on whether or not these treatments may be effective in conjunction with a hair transplant. However, when the damage is permanent re-growth of hair at the same site cannot be stimulated and a transfer of hair from another place on the scalp or body is the only option to achieve hair restoration. Typically, hair from the back of the head (the ‘safe zone’), which is naturally resistant to hormonal changes and therefore long lasting, is used as the donor hair.
Female Hair Loss
Hair loss in women is not uncommon and is often more upsetting for the individual. It can also be more complex and can occur for a number of reasons. Careful assessment is essential as in some cases this is caused by a medical condition that can be reversed. In men the classic male pattern baldness tends to follow a typical pattern, while in women the pattern of distribution on the scalp, age at onset etc, may be different. We recommend that any woman experiencing hair loss consults their GP in the first instance before they come for a consultation.
Scar related hair loss
As previously described above hair loss can occur at the site of any skin trauma where scarring has occurred, for example a burn, a wound, site of surgery (scalp surgery, cleft lip surgery etc) or scalp scarring from birth. This type of hair loss cannot be satisfactorily treated by non-surgical treatments. Reconstructive Hair transplant is often effective in these instances, but a detailed consultation with Professor Vaiude, who has an interest in this surgery will be important, to understand the suitability of this treatment in your case. It may be that you require additional treatment, such as scar revision or fat filling of the scar, to encourage the transplant site to be as receptive as possible to treatment.
A long term plan
At Sthetix your surgeon will work with you to devise a long term management plan, with appropriate treatments for your hair loss, ensuring you have the best outcome possible for the future. In more classic male pattern hair loss this may mean a combination of PRP, supplements and Restorative Hair Transplant, whilst for those with hair loss due to scarring treatment may involve scar revision or fat filling prior to Reconstructive Hair Transplant.
Hair Transplant Technique
The first stage in hair transplantation is for the surgeon, along with the patient, to design the transplant (or recipient) area, keeping in mind the direction and angle of the original hair in that zone. Following this local anaesthetic is administered, using a technique to minimise pain. Next, hair grafts (a group of hair follicles) are harvested from the ‘safe zone’ or donor site, on the back of the head by individually extracting grafts. This technique is called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). An alternative technique is the ‘strip’ technique or Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT), where a strip of scalp is harvested and used to create multiple hair grafts (FUE leaves ‘dot’ scars whilst FUT leaves a straight line scar. ‘Scarless’ surgery is a myth, however usually FUE scars are so small they may not be seen easily). These grafts are then prepared and transferred into the bald area one at a time. Your surgeon will discuss with you both options and the benefits and risks for you.
How many sessions will I need
This will depend on a number of factors; the extent of your hair loss, the tolerance of your donor site, recipient site and the result you are hoping for us to achieve. Your surgeon will be able to give you a plan after your first consultation.
Results after the hair transplant are not visible straight away. After the initial transplant the transplanted hair drops out – this is known as the “resting phase”. However, the root of the hair has already developed an attachment to the recipient site and after 3 to 4 months new hair growth is visible. As a rough guide you can expect over 90% of transplanted hair to grow in normal scalp and possibly 70% in scarred skin, but individual results may vary.
The final outcome will depend on the scale of hair loss, the size and quality of donor site and the type of hair you have. For the same number of hair grafts someone with straight fair fine hair won’t get the same effect as someone with thick dark curly hair.
Return to work
There will be a phase of temporary swelling and discomfort, and about 3 days of rest at home is recommended. Most patients will be able to return to work in 1 week.
After care following a hair transplant is relatively straightforward. You will be given detailed post-operative instructions at the clinic, which cover washing, exercise, travel and returning to work etc.
After your hair transplant you can expect some swelling and slight discomfort. For most people painkillers such as Paracetomol, taken regularly over the first few days post surgery will be sufficient to relieve any discomfort.
Take The Next Step
Ready to learn more about a Hair Restoration? To request your consultation, fill out the form on the side of this page or call our practice at 0151 669 1114. Sthetix is based in Liverpool, Merseyside UK and also serves Chester and Ormskirk.