Dr. Thompson: Some people would like to know, what is the overall process from start to finish with a hair transplant. Basically, once someone reaches out to our office and contacts us we then like to see them in person and sit down together, discuss their age, the course of their hair loss over the last several years, and what their expectations are, what their hopes. Once we have all that information we can go through what the options are. This usually involves a combination of medical therapy and maybe surgical therapy depending on the specific situation.
Dr. Henstrom: There are a lot of non surgical options for hair restoration. The number one thing is when patients come in to see us and have questions about thinning or loss of hair, is that they should be evaluated by their primary care physician first to make sure we can explain the possible cause and try to reverse that. That could be really important and stop the process right then and there.
When we move beyond that, we talk to people about medical therapies, such as finasteride, which is an oral medication, or Rogaine, otherwise known as minoxidil, is a shampoo. Both of those things are proven clinically to be effective in thickening the hair and promoting restoration of hair follicles that are still alive.
Then we move beyond those things to less invasive hair restoration treatments where we can inject the scalp with a product that will actually promote the growth of hair follicles that are still there as well as thicken the hair that might be thinning.
Dr. Thompson: Once we’ve decided that a patient is an appropriate candidate for surgical hair restoration then we have two basic methods that are available. One is called a follicular unit extraction technique where hair follicles are being removed one at a time and placed into the areas that are thinning. Then that hair over the next year will grow and thicken. The other method is hair is taken out as a strip of hair and that hair is then divided into individual follicles that are transplanted into the area that is needed to be thickened.
Both techniques work very well to thicken the hair and to create more hair. But it’s also dependent on what the patient prefers and the consultation that we will have in the office.
The transplant itself takes anywhere from 2 or 3 hours for a small session to up to 8 hours for a large session. They are completely numb so they do not feel any pain at all. It’s not an uncomfortable process but it is a long and laborious process and then there are some instructions we review on how to take care of things for the next week and next month. And there a multiple follow up visits over the course of the next year to access the results and make sure everything is processing in the way that we want them to.
It is really important to understand that there is a whole process that the hair follicle goes through when it’s transplanted and it can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months for that follicle to start growing and to grow in. So, usually we access final results at about one year but even sometimes from 12 to 18 months we will see some improvement.
Dr. Henstrom: Expectations should be realistic based on how thin a persons hair is to start with and how much hair we’re transplanting. What we should expect is that a significantly high percentage of the follicles that we do transplant should last, should live and should continue to grow hair. The techniques for hair transplant have come a long way over the last decade or 2. When they first began doing them, it’s very different than how we do it now. Now, we have very natural looking results. Hair loss can effect both men and women. It can be something that is very difficult to handle emotionally and could take a big toll on someone but there are options available.
The proper hair restoration technique is decided upon during the consultation. And if done correctly, can be a life changer for some people as far as the amount of confidence that they can regain and just belief in themselves and so forth.
Dr. Thompson: People come in and they’ve got thicker hair and they’re just confident and it looks good and they are really excited and happy about it. So, it brings us a lot of satisfaction as well for clinicians to take care of these patients and see what good a hair transplant can do for someone.
To learn more about hair transplant surgery, call (801) 776-2220 or contact us HERE.