About Hair Restoration
Not everyone will be suitable for, or want to have, a hair transplant so the potential choices for managing hair loss can be divided into Surgical and Non-Surgical options. Some patients hair loss may be too extensive to be considered for a hair transplant and some patients hair loss may be considered by the Hair Transplant Surgeon to be too early to warrant a hair transplant. Very young patients are often counselled to wait until they are older to consider a surgical option. Patients may be concerned about hair loss but reluctant to undergo surgery, preferring to opt for a less invasive method of treating or managing their thinning hair.
Surgery is the only guaranteed treatment to combat hair loss.
Many of the members on this site are specialists in the surgical specialism of hair loss treatment. To create the most natural results the process requires in depth consultation. Surgeons design and precisely restore the hairs one by one, in units of hairs called grafts.
There two main methods of surgical hair loss treatment FUT and FUE, click the links below to read about each in detail.
Ultra-Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT or Strip)
Hair transplantation is the only treatment that can be guaranteed to grow hair.
Ultra-Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation, using stereoscopic dissecting microscopes, is the refinedand ultimate form of hair transplant surgery. It involves taking hair roots from a donor area at the back or sides of the scalp, where the hair generally continues to grow throughout ones lifetime, and relocating them to the bald or thinning areas at the top the head.
Here it grows as normal on a permanent or at least long-term basis. Follicular Units are the natural groupings of the hairs in their original habitat. This ranges from 1-4 hairs per unit with the average being 2.2. Keeping these Follicular Units intact when transferring them to the recipient site undoubtedly results in better survival of the hairs and a more natural-looking result.
When it comes to the hairline, individual hairs are placed avoiding a particular pattern but following the direction and angle of the natural growth of the hair, to form a totally realistic look. The result is hair that performs in the same way as the hair you used to have.
Using injected local anaesthetic, the site from which donor hair is to be taken is numbed. A thin strip of scalp containing hair roots which are genetically programmed to grow for the rest of your life is removed. With the aid of stereoscopic dissecting microscopes, the strip is then divided into the individual follicular unit grafts each measuring approx. 1mm in width. By using microscopes about 30% more hair is visualised and can be harvested than with older techniques.
The follicular unit grafts are individually inserted into micro slits in the recipient scalp made with a variety of needles or tiny blades. The grafts are blended in amongst the thinning or balding areas in such a way as to match all the original growth characteristics of your original hair.
The site from where the donor strip was taken is closed with small surgical staples (or sometimes stitches) during the treatment and immediately covered by your surrounding hair. Although there are individual variations, it normally heals in a vague and hard to detect scar in amongst your permanent hair.
The procedure is very clean and no dressings or bandages are required. Within half an hour of the end of the treatment session you can be on your way home. The follicular units stay securely in the slits and heal naturally.
Each hair transplant treatment normally takes 4-12 hours depending on the number of grafts or hairs being transferred.
From the day of the treatment it takes approximately 4 months for your new hair to start to grow and then it simply carries on growing at your natural rate (normally 1/2 inch or 1cm per month). Hence itcould take at least 8 months after the procedure before you have substantial amounts of hair resulting in a gradual change of appearance that could properly be assessed. As a matter of fact, your new hair continues to mature in colour, body and texture for up to 18 months after surgery.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Most of the information described on the FUT page applies equally here. The main difference is the method of extracting or harvesting the donor hair. For the same number of healthy and intact grafts though, the harvesting method should have no impact on the aesthetic result of the hair transplant.
In FUE, the follicular unit grafts (not necessarily hairs) are individually extracted using 0.8-1mm drill bits. This is done manually or mechanically using a variety of equipment. Instead of a linear donor scar, there will be a large number of very small dot scars. FUE is a lot more time consuming relying on spreading the extractions over a large area of the scalp, and therefore significantly limited in the number of grafts possible to transplant in a session compared to strip or FUT. Over-harvesting could lead to risking taking the hairs from non-permanent areas resulting not only in losing the transplanted hairs but also visible FUE scars. In the majority of cases, when a significant number of grafts is required, the entire back and sides of the scalp will need to be shaved on the day.
FUE is a good technique which is more appropriate where a smaller number of hairs are required or where the strip method is not possible. Such a situation may arise where a very short haircut such asa no. 1 or 2 is necessary or particularly desired or where the hair characteristics make it difficult to adequately disguise the donor scar. Other situations include extensive previous transplant scars or where hair needs to be harvested from the body rather than the head. FUE could also be used to refine old-style plug surgery.
It is a medical fact that any tissue cannot heal without forming a scar. The issue is about what the scar looks like and how well it can be disguised. Therefore, it is deceptive to promote FUE as scar-less.
Furthermore, due to the nature of the technique, there is a higher rate of hair transaction with FUE and therefore potential wastage. FUE grafts can also be more vulnerable as there tends to be less protective tissue around the roots.
For those patients for whom hair transplant surgery is not an option, there are non-surgical possibilities that can be considered.
Medications Minoxidil for men and women, Finasteride for men
Low level light therapy
Hair Micro-pigmentation tattooing Camouflage products hair microfibers and scalp dyes
Hair Replacement systems partial or complete hair pieces and wigs