1. Detailed information discussion
Hair loss is a stressful experience for many people, be it due to genetic predisposition or various illnesses. An increasingly popular solution to this is hair transplantation, a surgical procedure in which hair follicles are transplanted from a donor area to bald or thinning areas. This text highlights various aspects of this procedure, from definition and implementation to alternatives, appropriate patient profiles, recovery, expected outcomes, risks, and costs. The aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of hair transplantation and related aspects.
Table of contents
- What is a hair transplant and how does it work?
- What alternatives to a hair transplant are there?
- Who is a suitable patient for a transplant?
- How are hair transplants performed?
- How long does hair transplant recovery take and what care is required?
- What results can patients expect after a hair transplant?
- What risks and complications are associated with hair transplants?
- How much does a hair transplant cost and what factors influence the price?
1. What is a hair transplant and how does it work?
Many people suffer from hair loss. This is often hereditary but can also be caused by illnesses and often impairs and puts a lot of strain on those affected.
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure in which hair follicles are removed from one part of the body, usually the back of the head, and transplanted to another location to treat bald spots or thinning hair. The harvested area is called the donor area. Where the hair is transplanted is called the recipient area.
There are two main methods of hair transplantation: in the FUE method, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), the hair follicles are removed individually with a hollow needle and then transplanted individually into the recipient area. This very gentle procedure is carried out by dermatologist Dr. Med. Hero Schnitzler and his team at the derma competence center in Zurich Enge, which specializes in hair transplants.
In the FUT method, follicular unit transplantation (FUT), a strip of scalp is taken from the donor area and divided into small follicular units, which are then transplanted into the recipient area. This method is rarely practiced these days.
Hair transplant step by step – individual steps of a hair transplant. @gritsalak – AdobeStock
Regardless of the hair transplant method, the hair follicles are placed so that the transplanted hair corresponds to the natural hair growth. This requires a lot of knowledge, skills, and experience, because a natural result is the most important goal.
The healing process varies depending on the patient and the hair transplant method. Usually, this process takes several months for the transplanted hair to fully grow and the final result to be achieved.
2. What alternatives to a hair transplant are there?
There are various alternatives to hair transplantation, depending on the individual hair loss pattern and the patient’s preferences.
- There are medications and hormones or hormone-related substances, such as Finasteride and Minoxidil, that can help slow or stop hair loss and promote hair growth. These are either applied to the head or taken orally.
However, they mainly serve to preserve the existing hair; they usually do not achieve thickening or regrowth.
Unfortunately, such applications are often accompanied by undesirable side effects.
- PRP-Therapy: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is obtained from the patient’s own blood and injected into the scalp to promote hair growth. This therapy is often performed in addition to skin grafting to promote rooting of the hair.
- Hair Replacement Systems: also known as wigs or hairpieces, can provide a quick and affordable solution to hair loss. However, they need to be replaced regularly and require meticulous care.
- Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP): This non-surgical treatment involves injecting pigment into the scalp to create the appearance of a fuller hairline or shaved head. It must be extremely well done so that it doesn’t look unnatural.
3. Who is a suitable patient for a transplant?
Both men and women can be affected by hair loss. This often presents itself to varying degrees.
A suitable patient for a hair transplant is someone who:
- Has advanced hair loss that does not respond to medication or other treatments.
- Has stable hair growth on the sides and back oof the head, from where the hair follicles can be removed for transplantation.
- Expects realistic results from surgery and has reasonable expectations of hair growth restoration.
- Is in good health and has no medical problems that could increase the risk of surgery.
Stage wise hair loss men and woman
@artinspiring – AdobeStock
It is important that the potential candidate has a detailed consultation with an experienced dermatologist, such as Dr. med. Hero Schnitzler to obtain an accurate assessment of their condition and to decide whether a hair transplant is suitable for them. The doctor will consider hair density, hair texture, scalp condition, age, and family history before making a recommendation.
4. How are hair transplants performed?
A hair transplant is usually performed under local anesthesia and can take several hours to a day, depending on the size of the area being treated. The exact process depends on the hair transplant method, but generally it includes the following steps:
2. Set desired hairline
On the day of the procedure, before the actual transplant begins, the treating doctor discusses the desired hairline again which is then marked. Above all, attention is paid to an age-appropriate and natural progression in order to achieve a natural result. This will be documented with photos.
Care is taken to ensure age-appropriate and natural hairline progression!
A complete shave of the head hair is often NOT necessary.
• Most patients can return to normal activities after a few days, but it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions for care of the transplanted hair to ensure successful healing.
5. How long does hair transplant recovery take and what care is required?
Recovery after a hair transplant depends on various factors, such as the type of transplant, the number of follicles transplanted and the general condition of the patient.
However, the patient can work again just 1-2 days after the operation (except in jobs that involve heavy strain on the skin due to dirt, dust, gases, or strong physical exertions).
Strong physical exertion, sports, saunas, and swimming should not be practiced at all or only very occasionally for 2-3 weeks.
After about 4 weeks, primary wound healing, rooting of the transplanted hair and healing of the donor sites should be complete.
However, it generally takes a few weeks to months for the hair to fully recover and the result to be visible.
During the recovery period, patients must follow specific care instructions to protect and support the graft and surrounding tissue. Some of the most common care instructions after a hair transplant are:
- Rest and relaxation: Patients should rest and avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting in the first dew days after the transplant.
- Protecting the transplant: Patients should protect the recipient area from direct sunlight, wind, and other influences. A bandage or head covering may be helpful.
- Medication: The doctor may prescribe medication to reduce pain, inflammation, or infection.
- Shampoo and cleaning: The doctor will provide specific instructions for cleaning the transplant to ensure it remains clean and free of dirt and oil.
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol: Smoking and alcohol can delay recovery and affect the health of the transplant.
In the first few weeks after the transplant, some of the transplanted hair may fall out, which is called “shock loss”. This is normal and should recover over the following months.
It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully to ensure a successful recovery and optimal results.
6. What results can patients expect after a hair transplant?
The results of a hair transplant can vary from patient to patient and depend on various factors such as the type of transplant, the number of follicles transplanted, the condition of the recipient area and the patient’s individual ability to heal.
Of course, the treating doctor cannot provide a guarantee as the result can depend on numerous, sometimes unforeseeable factors over which the treating doctor has no influence.
Most patients see a significant improvement in their hair condition after 6-12 months. The transplanted hair should look thicker, fuller, and fill out the recipient area. However, the final result may only be visible after 12-18 months when the hair has completely grown back.
It is important to note that a hair transplant does not replace existing hair and does not prevent additional hair from falling out. Therefore, patients should have realistic expectations and be aware that they may need additional treatments, even with the above alternatives, to achieve the best possible result and stop or slow down hair loss.
7. What risks and complications are associated with hair transplants?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and complications that can arise with a hair transplant. Here are some possible complications and risks:
- Infections: Infection can occur when bacteria enter the wounds made during the procedure. It is important to follow recommended post-operative care instructions to minimize the risk of infection.
- Bleeding: Bleeding may occur during the procedure, but this is usually minor and stops on its own.
- Swelling: Swelling in the recipient area and donor area is common but is usually temporary and disappears within a few days or weeks.
- Pain: Pain may occur during and after surgery, but this can usually be relieved with painkillers.
- Scarring: Although modern hair transplant techniques typically do not leave noticeable scars, some patients may experience visible scarring. But this is extremely rare.
- Uneven hair growth: In rare cases, uneven hair growth can occur, in which the transplanted hair does not grow or grows insufficiently in certain areas.
- Loss of transplanted hair: Some of the transplanted hair may fall out in the first few weeks after surgery, which is called “shock loss”. However, this is normal and should recover over the following months.
It is important to choose and experienced and qualified doctor and discuss any questions and concerns with them in advance to minimize the risk of complications.
8. How much does a hair transplant cost and what factors influence the price?
The price of a hair transplant can vary depending on the country, clinic, doctor, and procedure. Prices in Switzerland are usually slightly above the European average.
In other countries, a hair transplant may cost less, but the prevailing standards may also be lower there and coordinated pre-and follow-up care for the patients is not sufficiently guaranteed.
There are a number of factors that can influence the price of a hair transplant, these are mainly the number of grafts required and the time involved.
The larger the area to be treated and the more grafts needed, the longer the procedure will take, and the higher the price.
It is important to be thoroughly informed. Ultimately, however, the price should not be the deciding factor in the decision.
What is more important is trust in the practice, the doctor, and his team.
The exact costs will be provided by dermatologist Dr. med. Hero Schnitzler and his team will explain this to you in detail in the consultation before the transplant.