Q. What causes hair loss?
A. Hair loss can be caused by any one of, or combination of, a large number of factors. These include lifestyle and environmental factors, various illnesses, and even hair products. But the most frequent cause of hair loss is Male and Female Pattern Baldness, which is an inherited condition. For a more detailed discussion of factors resulting in hair loss, refer to the page Causes of Hair Loss.
Q. What is hair transplantation and how does it work?
A. Most people, even if they are very bald, do have a certain quantity of permanent lifetime hair. Hair transplantation involves taking permanent hairs from a donor area, usually the back and sides of the head, and redistributing them over the balding areas. These redistributed hair follicles, which have been genetically programmed to grow where they are sited, take root quickly and continue to grow for life. For a more details discussion of the hair transplant procedure, refer to the page FUE Hair Transplant.
Q. What results can I expect from my hair transplant?
A. Results from hair restoration depend upon several factors. Firstly it depends on the presence of an adequate supply of hair follicles in the donor area (typically the back and sides of the head). It also depends upon your age, the current stage of hair loss, your health and how many grafts you choose to have transplanted. However FUE is the most modern technique in Hair Transplant Surgery and will generally produce excellent results, typically resulting in a more natural and fuller look than produced using the older FUT method. At consultation prior to electing for surgery, your consultant will discuss with you the likely outcome of surgery based on your individual circumstances.
Q. What is FUE?
A. FUE is the widely used abbreviated term for Follicular Unit Extraction, and is one of two primary methods of obtaining follicular units for transplantation. The other is known as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). FUE in its various forms represents the latest advancement in hair transplantation procedures. In the FUE procedure the practitioner takes individual grafts from the donor area using a special instrument, whereas in FUT (also known as strip harvesting) a strip of skin is removed from the patient and then dissected into many individual follicular units. FUE generally has a quicker patient recovery time and significantly lower post-operative discomfort than FUT. The surgery is conducted under a local anaesthetic and using a high power microscope.
Q. How long does the procedure take?
A. The overal duration of the procedure is entirely dependent upon the number of grafts being transplanted. A procedure involving a relatively small number of grafts, such as may be required for covering a scar, might take 2-3 hours, whereas a procedure involving 1500 to 3000 grafts for treating baldness will need to be carried out during the course of 2 days.
Q. How soon will the transplanted hair grow?
A. Typically within a few weeks the transplanted hair will fall out due to an effect known as “shock loss”, leaving only the follicles. Then about 3 months later, the hair begins to grow and continues to grow at the normal rate of about 1cm per month.
Transplanted hair can take as long as 18 months to mature to its final and permanent integrity. However each patient is different: some will see significant growth at around 6 months; for others it will take 12 months. However, it is important to have realistic expectations of new hair growth and not to feel any anxiety during this time.
Q. What is the cost of hair transplant surgery?
A. The cost of your surgery entirely depends upon the number of grafts needing to be transplanted and the precise nature of the procedure. The total cost will thus vary from patient to patient. Following an initial consultation, our clinic will be able to provide a personalised quotation.
Q. How is FUE Hair Transplant Surgery performed?
A. The donor site will first of all be shaved, leaving short hairs 1-1.5 mm in length. This area is then treated with a local anaesthetic. The follicle extraction is carried out using a specialised punch device to extract follicular units complete with neccessary glands. This device seperates surrounding tissue from the unit, resulting in minimum trauma and better results, as well as avoiding detectable scarring. Tiny recipient sites are then prepared in the balding area of the scalp using a fine needle-point instrument.The follicular units are placed into the recipient sites one unit at a time where they will grow into healthy hair-producing follicles. For further details concerning the FUE Hair Transplant procedure, refer to the page FUE Hair Transplant.
Q. Is Hair Transplant Surgery painful?
A. In most cases FUE Hair Transplant Surgery results in only minor discomfort. The use of a local anaesthetic permits pain-free removal of grafts. Following the operation, some patients may experience some discomfort, swelling and/or pain, the degree of pain felt being dependent on their sensitivity to it. Some patients do not require any pain relievers at all, while others will take a pain reliever for only one or two days until the discomfort is gone.
Q. Will there be visible scarring in the donor area?
A. In FUE Hair Transplantation, wounds are so small that they are self-healing and a quick recovery is possible. Scabbing will normally disappear within 2 weeks. This is significantly different from the linear scarring typically left by the FUT procedure.
Q. How do I prepare for the procedure?
A. Preparation for Hair Transplant Surgery involves the need to temporarily suspend the taking of certain vitamin supplements and anti-inflammatory medications at various points prior to the date of surgery. It will also be necessary for regular smokers to stop smoking 6 weeks prior to surgery. The consumption of all alcoholic beverages should also be stopped at least 3 days prior to surgery and not resumed until 1 week following the procedure. Further information concerning preparation for surgery can be found on the FUE Hair Transplant page, and a fully detailed pre-operative instruction sheet will be provided to each patient in advance of their surgery date. Patients will be provided with written pre- and post-treatment instructions.
Q. How long will I need to take off work?
A. This will vary from patient to patient, but generally one week off work is recommended following surgery. Scarring will not be visible as a result of FUE transplantation, but the grafts do need careful looking after. It will also be necessary to wear a loose cap to avoid the grafts being subjected to extremes of heat and cold. This must be worn when outdoors for at least 3 months following surgery.
Q. Will it be obvious that I have had a hair transplant?
A. Technical advances in Hair Transplant Surgery, particularly those related to FUE and Micro-FUE Surgery, have made it possible for us to recreate attractive, natural-looking hair which is virtually impossible to distinguish from the other hair on your head. The results that can be achieved today are very different from those of just a few years ago. In the past, people who had hair transplants often ended up with heavy tufts of hair spaced apart somewhat like rows of corn, which could be very noticeable. However advanced FUE and Micro-FUE surgical techniques avoid any such drawbacks.
Q. What hairstyles can I adopt following surgery?
A. Once your hair has grown to a sufficient length, it can be styled in any manner you choose. A wide variety of hairstyles will be possible. Transplanted hair can be combed, brushed, cut, coloured, curled, styled and washed just like the rest of your hair. One benefit of FUE Hair Transplantation is that, due to the absence of visible scarring, very short hairstyles are also possible following surgery. However some thought should go into selecting the hair style that you like and will suit you, since the right hairstyle can make a successful transplantation look even better.