A hair transplant simply is removing a graft of scalp from a spot on the head that has sufficient hair and placing it in a spot where more hair is desired. The spot from which the scalp is removed is the donor site. The recipient site, where new hair will grow, is where the scalp is grafted.
Hair transplant surgery can be conducted in the hospital or at a doctor’s office, either under local or general anesthesia. This will depend on the extent of the surgery that is how many grafts will be made and how long the surgery will take.
So is hair transplant safe? The short answer is yes. Hair transplants are safe. However, as with any surgical procedure, some risks are involved. The risks associated with hair transplant surgery are minimal and are explained in more detail here.
Hair Transplant: Types of Surgery
Those undergoing hair transplant surgery can expect to undergo one of two techniques.
- Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS). The surgeon will remove the skin from the patient’s head, usually from the back. The 6-10 inch strip is divided into multiple grafts that are quite small. Each tiny graft contains a few hairs or even just one that will be transplanted into the recipient site.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). The back of the patient’s head will be shaved and from that spot, the surgeon will remove hair follicles.
It is only the process of hair removal that differs in the two techniques. The grafting is the same. The surgery takes between 4 and 8 hours, though a second surgery might be required if the patient’s hair doesn’t come in as thick as he wished.
The risks associated with hair transplants are minimal, as previously mentioned. Knowing the risks will allay the patient’s fears and give cause to expect a good and healthy outcome from their hair transplant surgery. Knowing the risks also will promote an honest conversation with your surgeon.
- Inflammation is normal with hair transplant surgery as it is with all surgeries. Just as the patient’s hair begins to come in, inflammation may occur. However, folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles is a little more intimidating and cause for concern. If your scalp should become inflamed, your surgeon will prescribe an antibiotic for folliculitis and the inflammation should subside. Cold compresses on the affected area will also have a palliative effect.
- Slight hair loss. After the surgery, the patient may notice a tiny loss of hair. This is referred to as shock loss. In most cases, the hair loss isn’t permanent.
- Following the transplant surgery, the patient will find that the head and scalp are tender. This is quite normal. The surgeon may prescribe pain medications and perhaps an antibiotic to ward off possible infection. Also, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can assist in alleviating the discomfort of a tender scalp, as well as alleviate swelling at the graft site.
Hair transplant surgery is safe for most people, but there are certain risks that could be unique to some patients. For instance, if the patient is taking prescribed medications like blood thinners or beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure, then this could be cause for concern. This doesn’t mean that hair transplant surgery will be detrimental for that patient, but that the patient’s personal medical history must be taken into account before moving forward.
Are you considering hair transplant surgery? An honest conversation with your surgeon will ensure that the best outcome is attained. Whatever is causing your hair loss, MAXiM Hair Restoration has plastic and hair transplant surgeons who every day artfully create an attractive hairline that is unique to each client. We have convenient locations throughout the United States in New York, Long Island, Connecticut, Chicago, Dallas, and the Washington, DC area, as well as several international locations. Contact MAXiM today to find out if you are a candidate for a hair transplant.