Hair transplant is, in essence, an organ transplant surgery; therefore, the procedure involves meticulous efforts by experts in this field.
Dating back to the ‘50s, hair transplant brings many individuals with hair loss around the world a solution. Thanks to hair transplant, individuals re-gain their self-esteem, become at peace with themselves, happy to look in a mirror, and show progress in their social lives.
People have many questions in mind regarding the hair transplant. We often encounter questions such as: “How hair transplant is made?”, “Will I feel pain in the procedure?”, “How long does the procedure take?”, “What the recovery period is like?”, “Is hair transplant hard to perform?”, “Is hair transplant risky?”. People find out much information, including correct and incorrect ones, on the internet. Therefore, we have prepared this article for you, to address all these questions.
For those who have no idea about hair transplant, we can explain the procedure as removing a flower from its soil and planting it to another space. In this example, we remove the flower without harming the root and preserving some soil around it, and plant it to somewhere else that is previously prepared for this operation. Then, we close the peripheral area. In simple terms, hair transplant and changing the location of a flower are very similar procedures; hair is removed with some tissue around it, canals are drilled on the transplant area by incision, and grafts are placed in these canals.
Hair transplant consists of three phases: Harvesting or extraction of the hair follies (grafts) from the donor area, incision/preparation of canals and transplant. The order of grafting and incision may change depending on the need of patient. This procedure takes 6-8 hours in total.
Prior to hair transplant surgery, there are some necessary points to be taken into consideration, which we have mentioned in our article "Before Hair Transplant”, such as the stages to be implemented, and nutrition recommendations by physician and selection of proper clothing. More importantly, head, back of the head, face and forehead are assessed, hair follicles are examined, hair transplant is planned and the patient is informed about all possible consequences in an understandable manner in order to make the patient have realistic expectations. Otherwise, individuals feel themselves deceived and disappointed. To avoid such outcomes, the best option is to receive clinical support from professional and trustworthy clinics.
At the beginning of the operation, local anesthetic agent is administered into the scalp. A syringe can be used for this procedure, but needleless anesthesia can also be preferred that is performed using high-end devices. You may click and read our article, Needleless Anesthesia, for further information. This method leads to milder pain compared to the local anesthesia that requires use of syringes and recently, it gained substantial popularity. The patient is completely conscious in the course of the transplant surgery and feels very minimal pain; meanwhile, certain medications can be given to relax the patient. Needleless anesthesia is, unfortunately, used as a marketing trick and patients are given unrealistic promises, such as “pain-free anesthesia”, which does not reflect the truth.
For hair transplant, grafts are primarily harvested from the back of head. In medical terminology, graft is defined as any piece of body tissue without any neurovascular bundle in order to be transferred to another body part. In hair transplant, graft implies hair follicles and some tissue around the follicle that are harvested in combination. Grafts are stored in optimum conditions until they are transplanted. If there is no sufficient hair at the back of the head, the procedure is performed by extracting hair follicles from other body parts. Grafts should necessarily be harvested from the transplant patient; hair transplant from another donor is not possible.
Nurses are involved in the operation and they classify and sort the grafts, using certain chemicals at appropriate temperature, according to the number of follicles in a graft and their certain features. This stage requires ultimate care and attention in terms of satisfactory postoperative results, which means hair that looks good and natural.
What creates the natural look and what yields the negative results when applied improperly in hair transplant is channeling. The growth direction of hair varies from one person to the other and also in different areas of head. The canals, wherein hair follicles will be placed in, should be incised at optimal angle and depth in line with the natural look of the hair. Physicians' expertise and experience in this field is of great importance at this stage.
Hair transplant procedure is completed when hair follicles are placed in said canals.
Patients can discharged to their home or hotel as soon as hair transplant procedure is completed. At this stage, as we have mentioned in our article titled “After Hair Transplant” , patients should strictly follow the instructions given by physicians. The most important tissue that requires ultimate attention is to protect the recipient area from impacts.
The most significant concerns of patients about the hair transplant is whether this procedure is a painful or difficult one. Since local anesthesia is administered before the procedure, no pain is felt in the entire procedure. Recently, needleless anesthesia technique converted the local anesthesia into a far easier and safe procedure.
It is normal for the patients to feel anxious before the procedure; these concerns usually disappear once the procedure has started, and patients do not feel severe pain after the procedure is terminated. Symptoms such as bruising and swelling may occur. Patients can also take pain killers that are recommended by physicians to ease the postoperative period.
Hair transplant does not bear any risk, provided that the procedure is performed by physicians with expertise and experience in this field, with proper devices and under necessary hygienic conditions. Albeit rare, some complications may develop.
Hair transplant can be considered as a long-standing treatment process. Some patients get perfect results even in one session of transplant, while other patients with limited number of follicles at the donor area and very large recipient zone may need more sessions in the following one or two years after the first session. Patients feel very happy and get the impression about how the hair follicles will grow in the first several weeks after the hair transplant surgery; on the other hand, the transplanted hair follicles will normally shed after this interval. The shed hair will be replaced by healthy and rejuvenated hair within the first 6 months after the hair transplant, but it may take 12 to 24 hours to see the ultimate results.