A hair transplant is the process of removing hair “roots” (follicles) that exist in abundance in the back of the head (the donor area) and placing them into the thin and balding areas on the front and top of the head (the recipient area). This hair takes “root” and then grows.
There are two ways a modern hair transplant can be performed:
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT): The FUT method involves removing the hair roots from the back and sides of the scalp in a thin strip.
- Non-Strip Methods – Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or modified FUE (mFUE): With the non-strip (FUE, mFUE) method, hair roots are removed from the back and sides of the scalp individually or in small groupings.
The Hair Transplant Procedure
The patient begins with a consultation with the surgeon. During the consultation, hair loss will be evaluated and the surgeon will explain the risk and benefits of treatment. From there, the patient will work with the surgeon to create their individualized treatment plan before booking his appointment for the hair transplant surgery. Every appointment must be booked with a non-refundable first payment.
On the day of the hair transplant surgery, the patient will travel to our New York office. Patients should opt for casual and comfortable clothing, such as jeans and a t-shirt. The patient and surgeon will review the plan before photographs are taken. The surgeon will use drawn lines to demark the area that will receive the hair.
The patient will once again review the risks and benefits of the procedure before signing a consent form. The patient will then move to the procedure room to take a mild sedative. The hair and scalp are cleansed and disinfected. The hair in the back of the head will be gently combed upward and taped out of the way so that an electric razor can be used to shave away just a small band of hair in the back.
After the skin is exposed, Dr. Feller and Dr. Bloxham will numb the area with a local anesthetic and a strip of hair-bearing skin is removed. This strip of skin will be taken into a dissecting room where the staff will carefully remove and separate the hair roots for implantation. The grafts will be placed under a microscope by a team of experienced technicians and be refined into follicular units.
If the patient is having an FUE, he will not have a strip removed or sutures (staples). Instead, tiny holes will be made in the donor area less than 1.0 mm. If the patient is having an mFUE, small “groupings” of grafts will be removed and separated into hair roots under microscopes for implantation; this patient will not have a strip removed either.
Local anesthetic will then be applied to the bald or thinning area of the patient’s head. Once the numbing effect is felt, the surgeon can then painlessly creates hundreds or thousands of tiny sized slits in the area. All slits made by the doctor are under 1.0 mm in length and are made at the proper depth and angle to maximize results. Each graft will be placed one by one into the skin under magnification. The patient will be free to watch TV or use their smartphone during this time.
Patients will only see the small, bump like scabs of the new hair follicles by the end of the procedure. After 4 days, the scabs usually fall away as the grafts continue to heal. After about a week, the patient will return to the office to have the sutures/staples removed. Patients may have a thin scar no bigger than the edge of a few playing cards. This fine line scar is easily concealed by surrounding hair.
The transplanted hair on the top should grow for another few weeks and then go into a sleeping phase. In most patients, the hair will begin to sprout and grow in the first four months. By the sixth or seventh month, the patient will visit the office for follow-up pictures. This hair will usually continue to grow naturally throughout the life of the patient and it can be treated just like the original hair. Whether you cut or shave, it will just grow back naturally!