BIRMINGHAM HAIR TRANSPLANT CENTER

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
 
Why me?

More often than not, losing your hair is because of genetics. Your hair loss was pre-planned at womb stage actually. In most men, an excess of the hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes the hair follicles to shrink and fall out. Your hair follicles will become finer over time, and will eventually fail to produce and new hair. Baldness genes are inherited from both sides of your family. The genes can skip a generation as well. You may have thinning hair, yet your sibling has a full head of hair. Thanks to today's Technology, we can give you back the hair that you have progressively lost.

Surgical Hair Transplantation

 

Do I need a donor?

When we say your own growing hair we mean that you will be the donor for your own procedure. Even in severely balding men, there is a good supply of hair follicles found within a horseshoe area on the lover back portion of your head referred to as the "donor area". One of our surgeons will remove excess hair follicles to be transplanted into a pre-determined area on the top and/or front of your scalp. It is not uncommon for a surgeon to transplant thousands of hair follicles for a successful restoration procedure. Please do not confuse this process with the procedure which was know as hair "plugs". Hair plugs are rarely performed today, and was prone to less that flattering results.

How is the procedure performed?

Your hair restoration procedure will be performed as an outpatient procedure in our Birmingham office, with a local anesthetic. Typically, the procedure will take three to four hours depending on the amount of hair restoration that is required. Most patients choose to read or watch TV, some have even "dozed off" during the procedure. Our surgeons will work meticulously and tediously to provide you with a professional micro grafted hair restoration procedure. 

How long does the transplant last?

Virtually all the hair that is transplanted will last indefinitely. Some patients may require a second procedure, depending on how much hair is lost. There will be some instances however, that as a patient ages some additional hair loss is likely to occur. We may also advise the continued use of PropeciaT, an approved medication to help prevent continued hair loss.

 Surgical Hair Transplantation

 The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is hereditary balding or thinning known as androgenic alopecia (hair loss).  Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) in men and Female Pattern Baldness (FPB) in women is secondary to genetics and hormones.  More than two-thirds of all men and women have some form of hair loss during their lives.  In the more severe form, a male may lose all his hair extending from his forehead hairline and continuing back beyond the crown leaving only a horseshoe-shaped area of hair located in the back and along the sides.  In females, typically there is a thinning in the mid scalp and crown regions of the scalp.  This hair loss is all pre-determined before birth in our genetic blueprints and may be inherited from either the mother or father's side of the family.  Usually the person's age determines when their hair loss will begin, although the onset can be altered by many factors.

The Principle:

The only permanent, safe and effective solution for significant hair loss is Hair Transplant Surgery.  At the onset of hair loss when we first notice a slight thinning, the application of Rogaine (Minoxidil) may be helpful in slowing down the process, but unfortunately only about 10% of the patients notice some benefit.

The success of hair transplantation depends on the fact that transplanted hair follicles (roots moved from their original location to another area) will behave as they did in their original site.  In Male Patterns Baldness (MPB), even in the most advanced cases, a horseshoe-shaped fringe of hair persists.  Hair follicles moved from the hair fringe to a bald area on the same patient's scalp will take root and grow.  Continuing hair growth in such transplants has been observed since 1956 and have proven to grow a lifetime.  Many of the less common types of hair loss can be helped by this procedure.

The innovative use of mini, micro and conventional sized grafts have allowed us to recreate what has been lost, but the artistic development of a natural realistic hairline by a skilled and creative practitioner is essential to an excellent result; one in which your hair can be combed in a natural way, even straight back.  This can only be accomplished by placing the single, finer micro grafts toward the anterior hairline and more dense grafts in the back part of the scalp.

In women, baldness is usually less severe and some hair is resent in the sites to be transplanted.  As a result, only the smaller transplants are used.

The Procedure: 

  1. Pre-op; the patient is given a mild tranquilizer (Valium) either orally or intravenously.  This minimizes anxiety, reduces discomfort, and helps to prevent or decrease any side effects that might be caused by the anesthetic itself.
  2. The donor area (area at the back of the scalp from which the hair follicles will be taken) is prepared by clipping a narrow row of hair, being sure that the hair above will completely cover the surgical site.  The recipient area is never shaved and thinning hair in this area acts as a natural camouflage.
  3. The donor area and the recipient area (the bald or thinning area into which hair will be grafted) are anesthetized by injecting a local anesthetic with a tiny needle.  By our use of ice and topical anesthetic sprays, there is minimal discomfort.  Most patients find the "freezing" easier that going to their dentist.  Anesthesia occurs very rapidly and normally wears off in about four to six hours after the procedure.
  4. The donor tissue holding the hair follicles is then removed with a specially developed surgical instrument.  The donor area is then sutured completely closed and is easily hidden by the remaining hair in the area.  It is from this strip that our trained technicians meticulously harvest, clean, and trim the grafts to be used in the recipient areas.  These include single hair grafts, micrografts (1-2 hairs per graft), and minigrafts (normally 3-6 hairs).  In most patients, to achieve the most natural results, a variety of graft types are now used in the receptor area, including the standard smaller punch combined with mini and micro grafts.  The sites are placed approximately one graft apart assuring a good blood supply.  During subsequent sessions these areas may be filled in.
  5. The receptor sites are then prepared and the grafts are inserted.  Our technique has all by eliminated any bleeding.  The grafts are firmly held in place by the coagulated "blood and gravity."
  6. The donor site is then bandaged with a dressing, much like the headbands athletes wear.  The dressing is removed the next morning, in preparation for shampooing.

Creating The Desired Results: 

Using today's advanced micro transplant technology, the creative and skilled practitioner can offer each patient a most natural hairline modeled according to the needs an wishes of that patient.  Many factors are taken into consideration when planning the transplant session including the texture and color of the hair, its density, and even the relative straightness or curliness of the hair. 

The type and thickness of the graft itself is also carefully considered; in women, as an example, the tinier micrografts are more frequently used since hair loss is less complete in women than in men.  The smaller grafts, therefore, are more usable and more easily camouflaged.

Number of Transplant Procedures Needed: 

The number of transplant sessions that are required for any individual patient is quite variable and depends, of course on the size of the balding area that the patient wished to have treated.  This degree of thickness that the patient desires is also a factor and often is dependent on his or her lifestyle and age.  Sometimes patients are completely happy after a single session when they see that their stark baldness had been remedied.  As many as five sessions may be suggested or required by on average two to three sessions more than suffice.  Estimates will be made at the time of the interview. 

The interval between transplant sessions may vary from a minimum of four months for a fill-in to years.  Most all patients, however, opt for the minimal interval and want to complete the sessions and achieve the desired end result as soon as possible. 

Healing: 

Individual crusts or "dot-scabs" form around the graft sites within hours after the session.  They remain for as long as ten to fifteen days but become less visible each day with shampooing.  Most patients do not find them to be so unsightly as to interfere with their social activities. 

As the crusts begin to shed, patients will observe a few small hairs in some of the crusts.  This is expected and represents only the resting parts of the transplanted hairs.  The actual living hair roots (follicles) will begin to produce your new hair in about eight to twelve weeks.  In rare instances patients may not see full hair growth for eight or nine months.  But the hair will always grow!  The differences in the time it takes the follicles to recover fro the shock of transplantation are determined by individual genetically determined hair growth patterns and do not relate to surgical technique.  Your new hair will continue to grow for as many years as it would have had it remained in the donor area, usually the rest of your life. 

If a hairpiece was worn prior to the transplant it may be worn after the third post-op day.  We recommend that the hairpiece be worn as little as possible until all the post surgical crusts have sloughed off. 

When a large area is transplanted in one session, swelling of the forehead frequently occurs.  While this swelling is usually mild, and lasts only two to four days, it occasionally can be severe enough to cause a large amount of puffiness around the eyes that can result in "black eyes."  Generally the swelling begins two to three days after the procedure and is most noticeable after the first session.  It is important to understand that swelling is always temporary and has no harmful affect on the healing of the transplants. 

When a transplant session is preformed with the intent of thickening existing hair there is the possibility of the prior existent hair going into a "shock" or "resting" phase, much like newly placed grafts.  This effect is in no way harmful to the hair roots and they too will regrow at the same time as your newly transplanted hair. 

As related earlier, a great deal of skill and artistic ability is needed to give natural looking results.  Each patient is given our complete attention during each procedure.  WE work together to help you attain your goal.  Our experience of having preformed literally thousands of hair transplantation procedures over the past twenty-five years speaks for itself.  We have always taken great pride in our results. 

In competent hands, hair transplantation is one of the safest cosmetic surgery procedures, and medically it is the surgical procedure of choice for most patients with a hair loss problem.

 

 

Member of:
International Society of
Hair Restoration Surgery

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Birmingham Hair Transplant Center, Birmingham, MI

Phone: 248.645.1552, Fax: 248.645.0066

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Hours: Mon - Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM