Hair replacement

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Hair has always been a symbol of beauty and an important part of one's appearance. Thinning or the loss of hair can be very frustrating to many people. Cosmetic surgery may have an answer: hair replacement.

What is hair replacement?

Hair replacement - or a hair transplant - involves the transplantation of your own hair grafts or micro-grafts to fill places left bald because of missing or thinning hair. The treatment is best for men who have conventional hair loss, after hair loss or thinning has slowed or stabilized. Hair loss is caused mostly by ageing, changes in hormonal processes or a hereditary predisposition.

Hair loss can be also caused by burns or traumas. In such cases the treatment is considered to be reconstructive and therefore is usually covered by an insurance company.

If you and your doctor have decided that a hair transplant is right for you, you can rest easy knowing that this operation has been done for more than 30 years. If you are considering hair replacement, the following text can help you understand the operational procedure, provide information about preparing for the surgery and expected results of hair replacement surgery. It isn't possible to answer all questions concerning hair transplants as each person's situation is different.

Hair transplant surgery

Hair replacement is done under local anesthesia and is relatively time consuming. It lasts quite a few hours, but naturally, it depends on the area which is being transplanted. The operation begins with a cut of hair graft with good hair cover from the nape area. The size of this graft depends on the size of the bald place which will be covered. Usually it is 1.5 x 10 cm. Immediately before the surgery, just the hair where the hair graft will be done, is cut to 2mm in length. It is not necessary to cut any other hair. The edges of the site of the hair graft are subsequently stitched together and only a discrete scar remains on the nape.

Hair graft

In the next phase, the skin graft with quality hair is divided by a scalpel into small grafts containing either 1 – 3 (micro-grafts) or 3 – 6 (mini-grafts) hair roots. Micro-grafts are used to treat the future front hairline, it helps to give a natural look. The formerly used grafts containing more hair roots cause an unnatural look of new hair cover. You could compare it to the hair of a doll, because a lot of hair grew from one point and between these bunches of hair there were places without hair.

During the most common method of hair replacement surgery used nowadays, the grafts with hair roots are inserted with the help of micro-forceps into incisions in the area to be transplanted. These cuts are usually done with a special scalpel and their size should correspond to the size of grafts to be inserted. In the new area, the inserted transplanted hair has the same characteristics as in the original place of the hair graft. The hair grows naturally, it can be cut, dyed etc. It is however necessary to realize that real hair growth begins later after the treatment and the results of the hair transplant cannot be assessed for about five to six months after the treatment. You can view before and after photos of hair transplants here.

This text has been created with the kind assistance of Tomas Dolezal, M.D.

Updated: 2013-01-22

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