After a transplant, will I have the same head of hair I had when I was younger?
No. Although results can be dramatic and cosmetically enhance your looks, patients will not achieve the same level of density as they had in their youth. With today’s technology using the right surgeon, a hair transplant will be virtually undetectable, though you may personally notice the difference between your younger hair and your hair now.
What is Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and how is it different from Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)?
In Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation hair is transplanted as it grows, in naturally occurring groups of 1-4 hair follicles. A donor strip of hair is removed from the patient's 'safe zone,' from which these units are taken and dissected. That area is then sutured closed, leaving a linear scar, which will not be perceptible under an expert surgeon's skilled hands.
A FUE procedure is a modern version of the old “plug” method used back in the 1980s and 1990s. Doctors are trying to sell the FUE procedure as a scar less surgery, however there is no such thing and instead of an almost undetectable linear scar from FUT, you will end up with hundreds of tiny red and white dot scar which are detectable.
Is there a way to prevent hair loss?
While hair loss cannot be completely stopped, it can be slowed down with the use of both Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine). These two medications are the most prescribed medications to slow the hair loss process.
Finasteride is available in pill form to men by prescription only and should not be used or handled by women, as it has been known to cause birth defects. In clinical trials it has been shown to stop progressive hair loss and can even re-grow hair, though it be on a minor scale.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available to men or women without a prescription. It is a topical application and can be administered by rubbing it into the scalp twice a day. New hair growth may be wispy and thin. Best candidates for Minoxidil are those younger than 30 years of age with less than 5 years of hair loss.
How does the quality and quantity of my donor hair affect the results?
Clearly, you need to have a good amount of your own hair to be used for the transplant. The higher
number of hair follicles you have per square centimeter of scalp, the more donor hair is available.
As coarse hair is thicker than straight hair, it can be transplanted using fewer hairs per graft while giving more coverage. Fine hair has less-bulb and can deliver a natural look, but with less coverage than coarse hair. Wavy and curly hairs lend themselves to good visual results and can camouflage thinning areas better than straight hair while giving the appearance of greater coverage.
When will my new hair start to grow?
Immediately after the transplant, the newly grafted hairs will continue to grow, but will shed by week three. Approximately 25% of hair from the transplanted follicle cells will become visible within 3-4 months and will become more apparent as time goes on.
Some people have faster growth than others. Smoking, health status and age can contribute to a slower rate of growth. At six months, you should see approximately 50% of potential growth and 80% at month nine. Growth occurs in a staggered fashion with some areas experiencing faster growth than others. It can take up to one full year to see fully optimized results between 90-100% of new hair growth.