If you have thinning hair, try to think back to when it first started. Were you in your 30s or 40s? Perhaps it was later than that—or perhaps it was much, much sooner. Sooner could even be right now. Because pattern baldness can begin at just about any time past the age of puberty. And with many people of both genders, the younger they are when it strikes, the more damage their self-esteem endures. Since 2007 Parsa Mohebi Hair Restoration has been treating patients of different ages for different kinds of baldness. We spoke to them about the before and after of hair transplant procedures.
Before The Procedure
At the initial consultation, we’ll go over the patient’s medical history, provide a physical exam, find out the patient’s expectations, and conduct a microscopic evaluation of the affected area. For those who live too far away from our location, or for some other reason are unable to attend, we also offer consultations by video or phone. Whichever the case, we develop a plan for that patient’s specific kind of hair loss. Indeed, the most effective treatment depends greatly upon what exactly we’re up against. The three most common types of treatment in the field are:
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
- Hair grafts are harvested individually from the donor area
- Several methods can be used to accomplish this
- The most effective method differs from patient to patient
- Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)
- Also commonly known as the strip hair transplant
- In FUT, entire follicular units are transplanted into the treatment area
- Stereoscopic magnification is used to harvest high-quality hair grafts
- Female Hair Transplant
- FUE is typically used in these cases
- Can treat female pattern baldness, or lower a high hairline
Five to ten days before treatment, we’ll evaluate the patient’s medical issues (if there are any), and once we clear him/her for surgery, will likely request they hold off on medication that includes blood thinners. Some of these medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen (Aleve).
Three days before treatment we ask the patient to abstain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol, when combined with the medication we use during surgery, can sometimes create adverse effects. Smoking constricts the blood cells, which in turn can reduce blood flow to the scalp.
Dress comfortably on the day of the procedure, as it normally lasts from five to ten hours. So that the sedatives we use during surgery will be more effective, we also advise that the patient skip breakfast, and refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages after midnight in the hours leading up to the procedure. Patients also need to arrange for transportation after FUE, as they will not be able to drive while under sedation. If needed our office can assist you in getting a ride home.
Most FUE patients feel very little pain after the procedure if any at all. Common painkillers can treat the issue, but do try to avoid any that include blood thinners as an ingredient. On the first night after the procedure, do not touch the recipient area, or wash it. While outdoors, keep your head covered with the hat we provide.
On day one we teach patients a special hair washing method that will not damage or loosen the donor hair. Over the following days, they may notice bruising, swelling, or discoloration around the eyes and other parts of the treated area. This bruising will normally begin to subside within one week. Also, after one week, most patients can no longer notice that the donor area has been treated. Within two to three months, transplanted hair begins to grow, getting longer and thicker as time progresses. After twelve to eighteen months, the entire process is complete, with the final results in full evidence.
On the day of FUT surgery, our team will map out a hairline that best suits the patient’s condition and expectations. Ethnic background is also considered, as well as the patient’s gender, age, and facial features.
For a few days after this hair transplant surgery, some redness may occur in the recipient area. Mild pain and tightness may accompany the discoloration. Normally this goes away on its own, but there are pain medications that can make your healing time more comfortable. As with FUE, hair washing is done with a particular technique over the first five days to one week.
After ten days the donor area will start to look normal again. Sutures or staples are removed. Some patients may begin to lose their transplanted hair at this time, but it will grow back over the following months.
After four to six months patients usually see new hair growth becoming more and more visible in thickness and length. In about eight months’ time the new hairs will be almost completely grown, though even beyond this point they will continue to get stronger. In twelve to eighteen months the final results will be in place.
For any procedure, it is important to note that sunburn can damage the transplanted hair. Direct sunlight should be kept off of the treated area. We provide a hat for patients to wear outdoors for the first few days after their surgery. SPF 15 or above sunblock is also acceptable as the protection once patients are beyond the first-week post-surgery.
Another common issue for transplant patients is folliculitis. This is an infection that shows itself in the form of small, red pimples up to six months after treatment. Folliculitis does not impede the growth of new hair and typically goes away on its own after about five days.