How does a hair transplant work?

Tags:woman age 45-54 balding hair loss options

I am a woman in my late 40's and have gradually seen more of my hair coming out in the shower.  I do have some spots that are very thin now and was wondering what I can do about it?  The word hair transplant seems quite daunting, is this as painful as it sounds?

JudyG1964

F, 49, Georgia

I did share the same fear as you did and my doctor told me that the reason for my hair loss was type 2 diabetes. I was under quite a lot of pills at that time. This surgery was performed over a year ago.

I remember my situation. Just talking about these things made me sweat through my tee and caused me to panic every time. Undoubtedly this was a tough time in my life and I had lost a lot of confidence in these years. There were a few side effects of diabetes but the one that affected my personality was this since it was a visible condition.

After multiple consultation with various doctors through visits and even phone calls I decided to undergo hair transplant. 

Just to let you know, NO it is not as painful a process as one might expect it to be since the doctor usually will use anesthesia during the surgery.

A year after the surgery, I can say that I am glad i went through this process since this surgery has successfully restored my confidence and I can walk out of the door without being ashamed or shy.

I really hope that you recover well and fine after the surgery!

Cheers!

You usually have the procedure in the doctor's office. First, the surgeon cleans your scalp and injects medicine to numb the back of your head. Your doctor will choose one of two methods for the transplant: follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) or follicular unit extraction (FUE).

With FUSS, the surgeon removes a 6- to 10-inch strip of skin from the back of your head. He sets it aside and sews the scalp closed. This area is immediately hidden by the hair around it.

Next, the surgeon’s team divides the strip of removed scalp into 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts, each with an individual hair or just a few hairs. The number and type of graft you get depends on your hair type, quality, color, and the size of the area where you’re getting the transplant.

If you’re getting the FUE procedure, the surgeon’s team will shave the back of your scalp. Then, the doctor will remove hair follicles one by one from there. The area heals with small dots, which your existing hair will cover.

 
After that point, both procedures are the same. After he prepares the grafts, the surgeon cleans and numbs the area where the hair will go, creates holes or slits with a scalpel or needle, and delicately places each graft in one of the holes. He’ll probably get help from other team members to plant the grafts, too.

Depending on the size of the transplant you’re getting, the process will take about 4 to 8 hours. You might need another procedure later on if you continue to lose hair or decide you want thicker hair.

After the surgery, your scalp may be very tender. You may need to take pain medications for several days. It is also helpful to have multivitamins at this stage as it can help relieve the pain while also giving the hair the vital minerals and vitamins that it needs. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages over your scalp for at least a day or two. He may also prescribe an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory drug for you to take for several days. Most people are able to return to work 2 to 5 days after the operation.

Within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out, but you should start to notice new growth within a few months. Most people will see 60% of new hair growth after 6 to 9 months. Some surgeons prescribe the hair-growing drug minoxidil (Rogaine) to improve hair growth after transplantation, but it’s not clear how well it works.

If you have diffuse thinning, a hair transplant may not work for you. The reason for this, is that transplanted hair does not typically fall out (because DHT is unable to attack the hair follicles on the sides of your head, which is where the transplanted hair is taken from) and if you have diffuse thinning, you run the risk of having spots of hair that are full, surrounded by areas that are bald. 

For males, I'd recommend Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine to slow down your hair loss. Propecia can not be used by females, but I believe Rogaine can be used by females. However, I am not a medical expert and I recommend visiting a board certified dermatologist who can diagnose your condition and then come up with a treatment plan. 

Sorry I don't have better advice! 

 

I believe that they make a Rogaine specifically for women so its worth checking out!

At first it was just one area but I am def noticing it thinning in a couple areas now :(

When you say you have 'some spots,' are the spots diffuse (spread throughout your scalp) or located in an area or two?