Hair transplants for men are not often spoken about but remain the single effective treatment for male pattern baldness.
Did you know that by age 49, 53% of men will experience moderate to extensive hair loss? This can start from as young as 16 years old and becomes more likely to occur the older we get.
While there are several reasons for hair loss, male pattern baldness remains the most common issue. And while good hygiene and careful attention to health and wellness can help to stave off hair loss, the fact is there is currently no cure.
Let’s explore this procedure in detail so you know what to expect and what tripwires to look out for.
What Is a Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that moves healthy and genetically unaffected hair follicles from one part of your scalp to the affected area, creating greater hair density.
With male pattern baldness, hair loss is generally experienced first at the temples and crown, and will recede from these areas. This leaves a healthy portion of hair at the back of the head (a donor area), which can be used to reintroduce natural hair growth to affected areas.
The first step to getting your desired results is deciding which type of hair transplant is most suitable for you. Your surgeon should talk you through both options and discuss their recommendation with you.
Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS)
Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS, also known as FUT) is a common type of hair transplant surgery. In this procedure, thin strips of skin containing multiple hair follicles are removed from your donor area and transplanted into balding areas on your head.
This method requires that a strip of skin between 6 – 10 inches is taken from the area, and the scalp is then sewn closed where the surrounding hair camouflages it. Thereafter, the surgeon will separate this piece of skin into hundreds of small grafts that each contain a single hair or a few hairs. The team will then anaesthetize the area receiving the graft. They carefully create numerous holes or slits where the harvested hair follicles are inserted.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) involves extracting individual follicles using tiny punches instead of removing complete sections of scalp tissue at once as FUSS does. These follicles are then implanted into thinning areas on the head, where they will grow new hairs over time. This method takes longer and costs more than FUSS. Each punch must be done by hand by an experienced surgeon, but it results in fewer scars overall since no large pieces of skin need to be excised. Additionally, this procedure will heal quicker than the FUSS method.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
A typical male pattern baldness patient undergoes about 6-8 hours of surgery. (Sometimes more if he has very large areas needing treatment) It most often takes place under local anaesthesia. The transplant method you choose will also affect how long the procedure takes.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Hair Transplant?
As with all cosmetic procedures, the best candidates are those who are healthy. You will have no scalp infections or other medical problems that would make a transplant difficult. Besides this, you need to have enough donor hair for the procedure. The number of grafts needed will depend on how large your thinning area is and how many hairs you want to be transplanted into it.
You should also feel comfortable with the doctor’s approach and philosophy. This will influence how successful your results will be.
What Is the Recovery Process Like After Getting a Hair Transplant?
After your surgery, you will undoubtedly feel tender and sore, and you may well need pain medication for a few days. To protect the sensitive areas, you will likely wear a bandage for a few days and take anti-inflammatories and/or antibiotics to prevent infection.
You can return to work after a few days if your doctor agrees, but you should avoid strenuous activities for about three weeks after your transplant procedure.
When Will I See Results?
We encourage you to be patient after your hair transplant; as much as you want to see immediate results, your body still needs to do a little work.
After 2 -3 weeks, you will probably notice that the transplanted hair has detached as the transplanted follicle settles into its new space. Depending on your hair type and overall health, most people expect to see about 60% hair growth after six months. Some surgeons may prescribe Minoxidil to boost hair growth, but the best way forward is to stay as physically healthy as you can and take a gentle approach to any styling or products for the first 12-18 months at least.
What Risks Are Associated With Hair Transplants?
It’s essential to communicate well with your surgeon before your hair transplant procedure. There is the possibility that your new hair growth will be different from what you had before, so it’s important to manage your expectations.
There is also the possibility of
- Unnatural-looking hair growth
- Scalp infections/ folliculitis
The most natural-looking and successful transplants rely very much on the artistry of the surgeon to develop a realistic hairline, match direction of hair growth and natural density of the hair.
Will I Need More Than One Procedure to Achieve the Result I Want?
How many procedures do you need? The number of procedures needed for a successful hair transplant depends on the person and the results they’re trying to achieve. In most cases, a single session can be enough to give your head a full new look. But if you have severe baldness or want a more dramatic change (or both), multiple sessions may be required.
The best way to determine how many transplants are necessary is by consulting with your surgeon about what options will work best for your particular situation—especially if you have any concerns about scarring or other side effects of the procedure itself. Also, the number of procedures you need depends on how fast your hair grows back: some people’s hair grows back quickly, while others may take longer.
Your doctor will help guide you through these factors so that together you can make an informed decision about what procedure(s) will result in optimal growth without taking too much time away from life’s other responsibilities!
If you’ve decided to choose surgery as a solution to your hair loss, we encourage you to talk to professionals. We can guide you on your path and are always here for you to support your recovery post-surgery.
If you are still considering other options to maintain your hair for as long as possible, please feel free to contact us. We are certain to have a solution for you.