Nearly half of all the female and sixty percent male population is in the throes of hair loss. The most famous choices for countering it are topical treatments for mild hair loss. But for major hair loss, there are other treatments which can help us out. Hair Transplant is one such method. It is a technique in which hair is added to the part which is balding. The grafted hair may be taken from denser parts of the scalp. This technique started as early as 1939 wherein Japanese experimented with it using a single hair strand. Over the years, the technology has evolved and the plug technique is common which involves transplant of a large volume of hair in a single go. The latest in the trend is the use of mini and micro grafts, which lends it a more natural look. Hair transplant in India has also kept up with the global trends.
The Efficacy of Transplants
The efficacy can be judged by the fact that nearly 10 to 80 percent hair regrows within a span of 3-4 months. On the downside, the transplanted hair thins out with the passage of time. If the person has dominant hair follicles (follicles which have hair underneath the skin but fail to grow hair) may be disappointed with the results of hair transplant but a recent study suggests that plasma therapy can invoke the activity of seventy-five percent of the transplanted hair. Transplants are helpful in the cases in which the patient who lose hair because of hair thinning, balding naturally or lose hair as a result of head injury. Transplant may not be helpful in dealing with hair loss due to chemotherapy, thick scars on the scalp due to injury, baldness and thinning on a major level.
The fiscal factor
Hair transplant cost in India ranges from anything Rs.30, 000 to above 1 lakh depending on the number of grafts needed. The other factors which influence the cost factor are the availability of the surgeon, the experience and track record of the potential surgeon the technique chosen, the health insurance coverage. As hair transplant is considered more of a cosmetic procedure than a medical one by many insurance companies, you may be liable to spend the entire package yourself. The final cost also includes the cost of overnight stay and the post-surgery medication. Thus you can see that hair transplant cost is a highly dynamic term which depends on a variety of factors.
The internal functioning of a hair transplant
The procedure calls for extracting the hair from the head’s backside and transferring it to the area in need. The first step is the sterilization of the area to be treated and numbing the sensation. Although a local anesthesia is preferred, the patient can request for a general anesthesia. Although the surgeon might not prefer going for it, some patients can be put under the general anesthesia but it will require an extended stay at the hospital.
If the FUT method has been chosen, the surgeon removes a strip from the scalp using a scalpel, which can be as short as 6 inches and as long as the distance between the ears. The area is then closed with the help of stitches. The strip is then separated into smaller pieces which may be up to 2000 in number. Some grafts might contain only single strands of hair. The area where the transplant is to be done is punctured using small needles. The hair from the piece of scalp is grafted on the area. This process is called grafting. After grafting, the area is bandaged. The number of grafts required depends on the thickness and type of hair, the hair color and whether the target area is large or small.
If you have opted for the FUE method, the surgeon shaves the hair from the denser areas, preferably the back area. Then the surgeon extracts individual follicles and grafts them on the target area after making small holes. Thereafter the head is covered with bandages. FUE hair transplant is on the rise these days.
Both the procedures may require many hours or many days to complete. The duration of recovery also depends on the area covered and the extent to which the surgeon has done the work. If you have opted for an overnight stay, you will have to stay overnight as extra time is required to recover. The bandages are carefully removed after the surgery. If the area has swelled up, which is very much possible, the surgeon might administer triamcinolone injection to alleviate the swelling. Pain or soreness might be experienced for some days in both the donor and the target area. The surgeon will prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory tablets, antibiotics, some other medications which help in stimulating hair growth. Ibuprofen tablets provide relief from pain. Finasteride or minoxidil are used to facilitate hair growth.
While you will be able to resume your daily routine after three days, be careful about not pressing a comb over the treated area and use a mild shampoo when you wash it after some days. Immediate washing is not recommended. Exercise, wearing hats or garments which need to be pulled over the head should be avoided until the surgeon gives a green flag. Hair fall is natural so don’t panic if you experience some.
The after effects
Scarring is one of the major side effects while some patients might experience crust formation or problem of pus around the area. Numbness, pain, swelling, bleeding, itching might be felt. A continued loss of hair if you are prone to balding, inconsistency in thickness of hair might be observed in some cases. Some medications might cause dizziness, headaches, swelling in certain areas and problem in having sexual relationships. The patient need not worry as these signs subside after some time.
The right surgeon
Find the right surgeon by taking care of these aspects:
The surgeon should be certified and licensed. Go through their portfolio to have a look at their track record. It will be wise to read the reviews their former clientele has written about them. Be specific in asking whether their policies are in sync with your healthcare plan.
The last word
The surgeon is the best judge of which technique you should opt for. Both will leave scars on your scalp and neither of them guarantees hundred percent results.