Hair loss is one of those things that, although in the big scheme of things may be considered harmless, can have a significant effect on a person’s self-esteem. Therefore, if you’ve recently noticed that you’re balding — or losing more hair than usual — you may be wondering what you can do to fix it. Hair transplants have been a solution for a long time. But, has modern technology brought forth more efficient ways to do it? Turns out that yes, it most certainly has. Such is the case with follicular unit extraction (FUE) transplants.
How does a FUE hair transplant work?
A hair transplant consists of taking hair follicles from a full part of your scalp, and moving it towards thinning parts of your hair. The process involves injecting anesthesia to numb your head, then harvesting healthy hair follicles to implant into the balding spots. This is usually done to provide a fuller appearance at the top of the head or at the front of a receding hairline.
Hair transplants are often performed on men. However, it’s also a good alternative for women with thinning hair, or for anyone who has lost hair due to a scalp injury. That being said, a hair transplant isn’t a viable solution for everyone. Specifically, it won’t work for people who don’t have enough healthy hair follicles or those who have scalp scars after surgery.
FUE Hair Transplant Risks
FUE hair transplants are safe. Yet, you should always talk to your specialist about whether the procedure is a good option for you. Depending on the circumstances, some complications may include:
- Nausea and vomiting from pain medication
- Bleeding (less than 5%)
- Infection (less than 1%)
- Excessive swelling
- A temporary headache
- Temporary numbness of the scalp
- Scarring around the grafts
- Poor growth of grafts
- Reaction to medications (less than 1%)
- Fainting (less than 1%) or syncope episodes
- Occasional small-ingrown hairs – causing a cyst (less than 10%)
- Scarring of the donor area-wide scars are possible (less than 5%)
- Delayed wound healing and lower graft yield (in patients who smoke)
To reduce the risk of complications, we recommend that smokers refrain from doing so for at least three weeks prior to the procedure. In addition, if you’re a younger individual, you may experience additional hair thinning as you age. Therefore, you may require additional transplants five to 10 years after your initial procedure.
What to Expect After a FUE Hair Transplant
Recovery may vary from person to person. However, expect scalp tenderness and some discomfort — such as redness and irritation — for several days after the transplants. You will also have to wear bandages over your scalp while you heal. Your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic ointment to apply on your head to prevent infections, and give you instructions about how long to wait before you can start washing your hair again. If you experience pain, you can reduce it with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller.
It’s also crucial to keep in mind that it may take up to 12 months for you to see full results. During this timeframe, the transplanted hair will fall out, and you’ll start noticing new hair growth in the formerly balding areas. If it looks patchy or that it’s not enough hair, give it time. It’s also common for these first new hairs to come out thinner and/or lighter than the rest of your hair. This will become more uniform and fuller as hair continues to grow.
Contact Innovations Medical for Hair Restoration Treatment
If you are experiencing hair loss, Innovations Medical is here for you. Our skilled professionals help you decide which hair restoration treatment is best for you – keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 2005, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.