What do Hair Transplants Involve? - Hair Loss & Hair Transplant Surgery Guide

Hair transplant surgery is performed by a skilled surgeon on an outpatient basis. Once you have selected such a surgeon and clinic, you can book a consultation and discuss all the pertinent issues. When you are happy with all the details, the clinic can set a date for the surgery.

The basics of Hair Transplant Surgery

Sedation and local anesthesia are used to ensure maximum comfort for the patient. The surgical procedure can last on average for four hours, although this depends on the type of donor harvesting and the extent of treatment. Before the harvesting process begins, the scalp will be shampooed and coated with an appropriate antibacterial chemical.

What occurs next depends on your choice of transplant method. Your surgeon will talk you through the options beforehand, and the best way forward for you will depend on individual factors such as your finances, tightness of scalp skin, hair type and thickness, and how long you wear your existing hair. This final concern can be particularly important when choosing between a method that leaves a visible linear scar and another that does not.

The Procedure

In Strip Harvesting, the surgeon removes a strip of hair from the scalp, which is then used to cut into grafts along the lines of the natural hair follicle units (usually between 1 and 4 hairs) while the patient’s wound is sutured up. The assistants who carry out the graft cutting part of the procedure also ensure that fatty and fibrous tissue is removed; they use binocular stereo microscopes to try for maximum accuracy without causing any damage to the harvesting follicular tissues.

The grafts are safely transplanted into the site of thinning hair, with a scar remaining at the donor site. The donor scar is often covered by slightly longer hair, though you should talk to the surgeon prior to the procedure if in doubt about the likelihood of high visibility. Trichophytic closures are now implemented at many clinics and this closure method seeks to guarantee finer, less intrusive scars.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) aims to offer a more natural hair transplant while also eliminating linear scarring. Individual units are extracted with minute precision, which requires an experienced and skilled surgeon. The grafts are transferred directly to the thinning area, using the Direct Hair Implants principal, where tiny holes are punctured to receive the flourishing hair follicles. This greatly reduces the size of extracted tissues, with no need for the extraction of large areas. However, the procedure is more costly and time consuming, with possible limits on the amount of grafts which can be made per session (depending on the surgeon, clinic and other factors).

More information on both of these approaches can be found on our page exploring the methods for harvesting donor hair.