Do I need a hair transplant? - A guide to Hair Transplant Surgery

Many people with hair loss – both men and women, are likely to be good candidates for hair transplant surgery. But before any of this can happen there are a few things which need to be taken into consideration before surgery.

What to consider:

  • Your expectations
  • Age
  • Hair texture
  • Contrast between hair colour and skin

The biggest and most important consideration to start with is being realistic about what this surgery can achieve. If you only have a minor amount of hair loss then there is a very good chance that you will get the results you want.

On the other hand, if your hair loss is at an advanced stage then you are unlikely to have sufficient donor hair to cover your bald areas. If this is the case then the surgeon may recommend that you choose an alternative such as a wig rather than have patchy results.

The aim is for a flattering and natural looking head of hair and not one in which there are bald patches next to your donor area. Age is another factor: male pattern baldness advances over time and the older you are the greater the amount of hair lost. You will also find that the surgeon will want to assess the progression of your hair loss.

The texture of your hair is also important as thick, coarse, curly hair tends to work best. It looks more natural and covers the scalp better than fine hair. If your hair is fine then you will need several transplant sessions in order to cover your bald area.

Even people with thick, curly hair often find that they require more than one session.

But if you have thick, curly hair then your rate of coverage of your scalp will be double or even triple that of someone with thin hair. The amount of coverage will depend upon the number of follicular units placed in your recipient area (bald area) and the number of sessions.

It is usual for 2,000 to 3,000 follicular units to be placed in a single transplant session.

Note: a ‘follicular unit’ means a donor graft or strip that contains 2,000 to 3,000 hair follicles which will sprout new hair once they are implanted.

Don’t forget about the contrast in skin (scalp) colour and the colour of your hair. If your hair colour is a good match with the colour of your skin then your hair transplant will look natural. What you don’t want is a situation in which other people notice that you have undergone a hair transplant due to the marked difference between your skin and the colour of your hair.

For some people this is the deciding factor between having surgery or not. The aesthetic side of things is just as important as other reasons. After all, someone’s hair is often the first thing we notice when we meet someone and you want your hair to look healthy, natural and at its best.

Something else to think about: if you have a ‘low hairline’–in other words, your hairline sits low down on your forehead then you will require more grafts than someone with a ‘high hairline’.

Your genetics will play a part in the type of hairline you have. A younger person may prefer a low hairline but if you have inherited a high hairline then this is what you have to stay with.

A positive aspect of a high hairline is that you will need less hair transplanted than someone with a lower hairline.

Is there a situation in which someone doesn’t need a hair transplant or is not suitable?

Yes: if someone is prone to problems with scarring, for example, is likely to develop thickened, red scars called ‘keloids’ or is prone to poor wound healing. In this case a hair transplant may not be a good option.

If the surgeon feels that your donor hair is not suitable for transplantation or that you are unrealistic about the results of this treatment then he/she may advise you to look at an alternative.

Hair transplant surgery does work but keep in mind that once baldness has started it is likely to continue so plan ahead for this.

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