Advanced Hair Clinic, a clinic based in Tirana, Albania, is a specialized hair transplant clinic committed to the restoration of hair in areas where patients have experienced hair loss. We acknowledge that a hair transplant procedure is a big deal for many people, as it has the potential to make you self-confident by addressing balding or thinning areas and restoring natural hair growth. Considering the wide available options, we have taken the initiative to create a comprehensive guide that answers the fundamental question: How does a hair transplant work?
In this article, we have covered a wide range of topics related to hair transplants. We dig into the procedure itself, discuss male pattern baldness, explain the concept of hair grafts, provide insights on pricing considerations, and explore the patient journey. By the end of this guide, you will have access to information that will enable you to gain an understanding of the hair transplant process. Let's delve into the guide and explore the details.
What is a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is a surgical intervention during which healthy hair follicles are extracted from one part of the scalp, generally the back or sides of the head, and harvested into a balding area.
This type of procedure is commonly used as a solution to genetic and hormonal hair loss or even hair loss that comes as a result of an injury or rare condition. Numerous men find undergoing a hair transplant an alternative to restoring a more youthful appearance boosting their self-confidence and general well-being.
The hair transplant should be performed by a trained and qualified surgeon. Before commencing the procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic to make sure that the area is numbed and you will not feel any type of discomfort during the carrying out of the surgery. Two are the most common techniques of hair transplants: FUT (follicular unit transplantation) and FUE (follicular unit excision). The difference between the two will be discussed in greater detail later in this guideline.
How does a hair transplant work?
FUT hair transplants involve removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head, followed by stitching the region, separating the extracted strip into small pieces of hair, and ultimately, implanting them into the recipient area.
FUE hair transplants involve cutting out healthy hair follicles from donor regions situated at the back and sides of the head with small punch incisions before implanting them in small holes in the recipient region. The full procedure can take up to four hours. In the event that you have non-dissolvable stitches, they will be removed within ten days after the procedure. Following the procedure, the clinic will be giving out clear and simple instructions on the recovery and aftercare process, which enables most patients to rest and recover at home without any problem.
The full procedure can take up to four hours. In the event that you have non-dissolvable stitches, they will be removed within ten days after the procedure. Following the procedure, the clinic will be giving out clear and simple instructions on the recovery and aftercare process, which enables most patients to rest and recover at home without any problem.
Hair transplant techniques and procedures available
Let's look closer at the two primary hair transplant techniques: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). FUE Hair Transplant Surgery
FUE Hair Transplant Surgery
The FUE technique involves the removal from the back of the head of hair grafts as individual follicles. This is completed thanks to hundreds or in some situations even thousands, of tiny punches.
The hair follicles can then be placed carefully in the small holes created at the recipient area. Once the transplantation of the individual hair grafts is done and over with, the back of the scalps where the hair follicles have been taken from will be bandaged, for at least 24 hours.
Using the FUE hair transplant surgery technique, hair grafts are removed from the back of the head as individual follicles.
The hair follicles can then be placed gently in the small holes which have been created at the recipient site. Once all the individual hair grafts have been transplanted, the back of the scalp where hairs have been taken from will be bandaged, and remain so for 24 hours.
FUT Hair Transplant Surgery
Using the FUT hair transplant surgery technique, a strip of scalp is removed from the back of the head. The strip is generally several centimeters long. The region can then be stitched up using the strip of scalp split into numerous smaller sections of hair grafts using a surgical tool. Ultimately, the hair grafts are implanted into the recipient site.
Is a hair transplant a painful procedure?
Is a hair transplant a painful procedure? This is the number one question for somebody who is considering one.
Numerous people might believe that the hair transplant procedure is quite painful. Nonetheless, those who have undergone the procedure will tell you that you won’t feel anything during the procedure itself, taking into account the fact that a local anesthetic will be administered via an injection into the target site of the scalp.
To aid in reducing discomfort further, we will provide you with pain-relieving medications. Moreover, to increase the level of comfort of patients during the procedure there are taken many other measures. For one, you may enjoy watching TV or listening to music, to keep your mind off the procedure. All these entertaining measures are offered at Advanced Hair Clinic, our custom-built clinic offers aromatherapy to help in relaxing your body and mind and is temperature-controlled.
Throughout recovery, there is no place for any significant pain. The aim is to take sufficient time resting, typically, for four to five days, and following the aftercare and recovery instructions. The patient's recovery process should be relatively pain-free with the discomfort easily managed with over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
To protect or guard against any infection there are antibiotics used and if there is any post-operative swelling, there is medication provided by the surgeon.
Who qualifies as a suitable candidate for a hair transplant?
Let’s move on forward, to the next question, the question of suitability. Generally, suitable or adaptable candidates for a hair transplant should be in good general health and have hair follicles in good condition and are capable of remaining healthy afterward the transplant has been performed.
The procedure is more efficient and suitable for those men who suffer from male pattern baldness, and have stabilized their hair loss condition thanks to medications or naturally with age. It is also convenient for men and women who have lost their hair due to trauma, burns, or even rarer conditions.
If you are now wondering about the appropriate age to get a hair transplant, it is advisable for men to wait until they are 30 or older since hair loss typically begins to slow down and become more predictable.
Hair loss stages (Norwood Scale)
It is highly recommended to consult with a certified hair transplant specialist to evaluate your hair loss condition.
Male hair loss is commonly classified using the Norwood Scale, which offers visual illustrations of various stages of balding. It is important to note, however, that alternative classification scales may be utilized by certain doctors and surgeons.
The Norwood Scale classifies hair loss into seven stages, which are defined as follows:
- Stage 1: No significant hair loss or receding hairline.
- Stage 2: An adult or mature hairline is characterized by a subtle recession of the hairline around the temples.
- Stage 3: The hairline undergoes a prominent recession at the temples, forming a distinct M, U, or V shape. The recessed areas may be completely bald or sparsely covered with hair.
- Stage 3 vertex: While the hairline remains at stage 2, there is noticeable hair loss on the top of the scalp, specifically at the vertex region.
- Stage 4: In this stage, the recession of the hairline becomes more pronounced. Additionally, the vertex region experiences significant hair loss, with sparse or no hair present.
- Stage 5: In stage 5, the areas of hair loss are larger compared to stage 4. While they are still separated, the band of hair between them becomes narrower and sparser.
- Stage 6: In stage 6, the balding areas at the temples join with the balding area at the vertex, resulting in a more extensive hair loss pattern.
- Stage 7: In this stage, only a band of hair encircling the sides and back of the head remains. However, this hair is typically sparse and may have a finer texture.
By utilizing the Norwood Scale, healthcare professionals can better understand the progression of male pattern hair loss and tailor treatment plans accordingly, ensuring optimal results for patients.
What is the estimated number of grafts required for my hair transplant?
Following the extent of balding will also vary the number of grafts required. What grafts consist of are strips of skin that contain healthy hair follicles, harvested and transferred to a bald area of the scalp during a hair transplant procedure.
With the FUE technique, hair grafts are taken as specific follicles from the donor region of the scalp. Meaning, there will be hundreds, or maybe thousands, of tiny punch incisions necessary to remove the grafts of individual follicles.
When the FUT technique is used, a considerable number of hair grafts are removed as a single strip from the donor region, generally situated at the back of the head. After the strip has been removed, it is disjointed into individual grafts with the help of a surgical tool. These individual grafts can then be implanted in the recipient area.
The patient’s journey
So how does the hair transplant procedure go? In this section, we will delve into the hair transplant patient journey at Advanced Hair Clinic.
On the morning of the procedure, the lead surgeon and his team will be welcoming you, talking you through the procedure, and taking your consent. Once the consent is given, there will be drawn a planned hairline or crown in detail to make sure that you are satisfied with what was discussed in the initial consultations. Subsequently, you are moved to a customized surgical room where the preparation of the extraction and implantation regions will commence.
Whether you are a fan of watching TV, listening to music, or relaxing with some aromatherapy; everything will be done in accordance with your preferences and to make you feel as comfortable as possible throughout the surgery.
To numb the back of your head, you will be given injections of a local anesthetic, and if necessary, you will also be given pain-relieving medication tablets. Immediately after you get comfortable, the careful extraction of hair follicles for implantation will start.
To ensure the appropriate planning for the creation of the hair density and style you like, the hair follicles are kept in cooled Petri dishes and separated into bundles. Before the commencement of the implantation, there will be enough time for you to eat lunch with a meal customized to your dietary requirements.
Once lunch is done, you can relax with the television or music while your scalp is being administered an anesthetic, before the implantation commences. After you have been fully numbed, hair follicles will be placed to blend in with the natural hair density and direction.
When the implantation is over, there will be aftercare steps such as bandaging the extraction area and fitting with a cap to cover the scalp and protect it in the days following the procedure.
The aftercare packages provided by Advanced Hair Clinic contain different medications and materials necessary for the protection of the newly implanted hairs, and you will be supplied with detailed aftercare instructions to take home.
The post-operative care and recovery period following a hair transplant procedure
This section of the article is thoroughly concentrated on the hair transplant post-operative and recovery period, the very ultimate part of the hair transplant journey. A part that commences the moment you leave the clinic and ends with a full head of healthy hair.
It is quite essential for the hair grafts to be looked after appropriately following a hair transplant, so they can become robust and the follicles can grow normally. Within the first weeks following the procedure, any type of physical activity should be avoided in order to reduce scarring.
Typically, a bandage is worn for 24 hours, and surgeons advise avoidant washing the hair until around day 5 when you are enabled to carefully lather up using shampoo.
In the event that non-dissolvable stitches have been used following a FUT hair transplant, they can generally be removed after two weeks.
The following are some easy aftercare tips:
- Start washing your hair after the fifth day.
- Use pain relieving medication as needed.
- Wear a hat to provide protection to the scalp from sun exposure.
TO NOT DO:
- Avoid rubbing it with a fabric towel.
- Refrain from scratching your scalp.
- Do not engage in intense physical activities, for the first 14 days.
Scarring resulting from a hair transplant procedure
One possible side effect of hair transplant which we haven’t mentioned yet is scarring. Many people ask if hair transplants leave scars.
Unfortunately, both FUE and FUT hair transplant methods leave scarring to a fluctuating degree. Fortunately, however, in both situations, these scars are invisible to the naked eye. Let’s delve into each technique in greater detail.
As above mentioned, FUT hair transplants take hair grafts as a strip of scalp from the donor region prior to the strip being separated into smaller sections for implantation. This method, due to the larger area of tissue being removed in the extraction, can cause a noticeable linear scar at the back of the scalp.
Nevertheless, the scar will commence to fade naturally, after a few months, once the tissue has strengthened, as part of the recovery process. Another thing that will aid in concealing scarring is the growth of new hair. Numerous people decide to have a medical tattoo to conceal the scarring even further. Following the FUT surgery moving forward, there are required longer hairstyles to conceal the scar.
When compared to the FUT hair transplant, the FUE hair transplant is much less likely to leave noticeable scars. That is due to the way the technique itself is carried out.
Seeing as the hair grafts are taken as individual hair follicles, rather than as a strip, there are expected to be only small scars, less than a millimeter in diameter, at the donor region. These tiny scars become quickly unnoticeable once the hair grows beyond level 1. This is an approach more suitable for those individuals who wish to style their hair in shorter hairstyles moving forward.
The timeline for hair transplant growth
One of the most frequently asked questions after a hair transplant is about the timeline for new hair growth.
It's important to note that hair growth after a hair transplant does not occur immediately. It requires patience and strict adherence to the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon.
Let's explore the different stages that typically follow a hair transplant procedure:
During the initial days after a hair transplant, the focus is not on hair growth but rather on the survival of the transplanted hair follicles and the acceptance of these follicles by the scalp.
To ensure the success and future growth of your newly transplanted hair grafts, it is essential to protect them from potential risks such as dehydration and lack of oxygen. Avoid touching or tampering with the grafts in the days immediately following the procedure. Reputable hair transplant clinics will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions, including guidelines on when and how to wash your hair.
2 weeks - 3 months
It is important not to be alarmed if you experience hair shedding after a hair transplant surgery. This shedding is a normal part of the natural hair growth cycle, which consists of three stages: growth, transition, and resting.
After a hair transplant procedure, it is common for the transplanted hair to enter a resting phase. During this phase, the hair roots may shed their existing hair.
This shedding is a natural part of the hair growth cycle and should not be a cause for alarm.
You can expect your new hair to start growing, gradually increasing the volume and working towards achieving the desired look and style.
Around one year after the hair transplant procedure, you can typically expect the final results to become more evident.
The follow-up appointments
Reputable hair transplant clinics prioritize regular follow-up with their patients. At Advanced Hair Clinic, we ensure that our patients receive comprehensive care by offering follow-up consultations as needed. We encourage open communication throughout the recovery period, where you can reach out with any inquiries or concerns and share photos for evaluation.
How long can the results of a hair transplant typically be expected to last?
The results of a hair transplant can be long-lasting and may even last a lifetime. After the initial year, the transplanted hair tends to retain its growth and characteristics. While individual experiences may vary, it is not uncommon for the results to be maintained for 15-20 years or even longer.
If you are using medications to prevent further hair loss, it can have a positive impact on the long-term results of your hair transplant. These medications, such as finasteride or minoxidil, can help slow down or halt the progression of hair loss, ensuring that the transplanted hair remains in its desired position for an extended period.
What are some effective ways to find a reputable and reliable hair transplant clinic?
When searching for the best hair transplant clinic for your needs, consider the following four criteria:
- Verify that the clinic holds the necessary licenses and registrations
- Choose experienced surgeons who have a track record in successfully treating hair loss
- Check for online customer reviews to gain insights into the clinic's reputation
- Confirm whether the surgeons have an established online presence can provide additional confidence in their expertise
Advanced Hair Clinic offers comprehensive hair transplant packages that include tailored aftercare. With 15 years of extensive experience and low-cost prices that will blow your mind, Advanced Hair Clinic is at your service. Discover further details about our hair transplant treatments, or take the next step by contacting us to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced surgeons, who are renowned in the industry.