Every hair transplant is different, here's why
March, 02 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
If you are suffering hair loss, it is highly likely that you have heard of hair transplants. You would have also heard that hair transplants have not just become more effective but more sophisticated compared to what they used to be, all thanks to the advancements in modern medicine. They are also affordable and accessible, and remain the only permanent solution to genetic hair loss. They are, therefore, much sought after by men across age groups around the world. There are, in fact, many celebrities and people in the public sphere that get hair transplants. From Matthew McConaughey to Sylvester Stallone, many actors and sports stars are flaunting their luxurious manes even in their 50s or 60s because of hair transplants.
Now, hair loss patients see that and it gives them a lot of hope. Since the surgery is widely available, patients assume they can get a brand new mane just like a celeb. However, hair transplants show different results for different people, and it is important for hair loss patients to understand that so they can set right expectations in the beginning itself.
Let’s first understand what the different kinds of hair transplant techniques are. There is FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction and FUT or Follicular unit Transplantation. FUE involves extracting individual hair follicles from the donor areas of the head, which are hair fall-resistant, and implanting them on to the bald or balding spots. FUT is extracting a strip of hair follicles from the donor areas, dissecting it into individual units, and then transplanting these. A lot of patients and surgeons nowadays pick FUE as it is more modern, leaves only tiny puncture scars and patients will experience very little post surgical discomfort. However, it is also more time consuming. The type of procedure that your surgeon picks for you is one of the factors that determines your hair transplant. While FUE will leave tiny scars which are barely noticeable, FUT leaves a linear scar on the back of the head, which is visible but can be hidden by keeping the surrounding hair longer. The surgeon is the best placed to pick the best kind of procedure for you after they study the extent of hair fall, gauge future hair loss, and keep your specific requirements in mind. Depending on what they choose, different hair transplant techniques will yield different results.
The second factor that determines how a hair transplant will look and makes every procedure different is the availability of donor hair. Patients who are younger or in early stages of hair transplant usually have more donor hair, therefore there is more to harvest from. This means that the surgeon has more to play around with and can give the patient a fuller hairline and fill in the bald spots densely. However, in patients who are in later stages of hair fall, the donor hair available for harvesting is limited. This means that they will have lesser hair to cover their bald spots and for the hairline. Some patients, who are in late stages of hair fall, will barely be able to get a combover post a transplant. Also, those patients who have to get Body Hair Transplant (BHT), wherein hair from arms, legs, chest etc is used as donor hair, will get a different looking transplant. Body hair is curlier, grows shorter, and has different characteristics than head hair. Therefore, BHT patients will get a different look, not the same as those where head hair is harvested for the procedure.
The skill of the surgeon and the team that the patient is going to has immense bearing on their hair transplant as well. An experienced surgeon and team will be able to handle the patient’s scalp more efficiently, and deliver more aesthetically pleasing results. It is important to consider here that hair transplants are not just about surgical skill, the doctor needs some bit of artistic abilities as well to design a pleasing hairline which suits the patient’s face and is age appropriate. This is something that only an experienced surgeon can do. The experience of the technicians and assistants working with the surgeon, who are responsible for handling the grafts and sometimes even placing them also determine the kind of hair transplant a patient will get.
Even factors like how fast a person’s hair grows, the texture of their hair, whether the surgeon planned a hair transplant anticipating future hair loss, all determine the final look and are different for every patient. It is therefore important for patients to visit an experienced surgeon and with their help, set up the right kind of expectations. What worked for a celeb or your friend or an acquaintance who underwent the procedure will not work for you. In fact eve every hair transplant experience is different as well; your pre- and post-surgery care, the clinic and surgeon you opt for, all determine your surgery. The most important thing is to choose well.