Hair transplant procedures
Preparation phase of hair transplantation
During the consultation, the doctor determines whether the person is a good candidate for hair transplantation and what are the specific risk factors for the procedure. They will assess the patient’s health history, medications and vitamins as well as food supplements they take.
Furthermore, blood and urine tests will be conducted to investigate the underlying cause of hair loss. Other factors such as time elapsed from the onset of hair loss, hair thickness, history of hair loss, reason for the hair loss (androgenetic, generalized, alopecia areata), and whether it is reversible, and factors that affect hair growth or worsen the hair loss are carefully considered and addressed, if needed.
The scalp may even be biopsied to examine the scalp and hair follicles under the microscope, and identify the root cause of hair loss. Once it is determined that the hair transplant is the most effective choice for treatment of their condition, the doctor will discuss the expectations to suggest the best type or method of hair transplant procedure.
Before the Hair Transplantation operation, the medical team will recommend:
- Do not consume medicines such as aspirin and Vitamins B and E or other similar medicine at least one week prior to the operation
- Stop drinking alcohol 3 days before the operation
- Inform the medical team if there are allergies to certain drugs or anaesthesia
- Quit smoking 24 hours before the operation as smoking affects the convalescence time
- Medicine for chronic conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, tuberculosis, or acute illnesses must be informed to the doctor during the consultation period
- Take comfortable button shirts and sweat pants for the procedure
- Do not use any hair gel or sprays prior to the operation
During the procedure:
Patients are usually given local anaesthesia for the hair transplant surgery, and they remain awake during the entire procedure. The anaesthesia only makes the scalp numb. Sometimes, a mild sedative is also used to help patients relax.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Hair Transplant Operation: the most commonly used hair transplant in Istanbul
FUE hair transplant is considered the gold standard for hair replacement. It was introduced in 2005 and has been continuously improved and advanced over the course of time. Though, the basic principles of FUE remains the same, it is known to be the most advanced technique in hair transplantation.
The FUE technique leaves no scars and its recovery time is shorter than past methods. The FUE technique can be performed with a variety of different instruments, all while under local anaesthetic. The technique is known with different names, such as Classic FUE (via micro motors), Robotic FUE. DHI technique (FUE performed with Choi implanters), and Sapphire FUE (FUE performed with Sapphire blades).
FUT is another popular technique but it is less used due to residual scarring. Another technique called Direct Hair Implantation (DHI) is preferred for high-density hair transplants, and makes them look very natural.
Process of Hair Transplantation involves the following basic steps:
- Harvesting the hair follicles from donor area
- Creating incisions
- Implanting hair follicles grafts (as per the need)
Hair follicles are harvested from the nape area (donor), where the hair are genetically resistant to hair loss. A special thin needle is used to extract the hair follicles and there is no need of incisions on the scalp in the FUE technique for hair follicles (graft) collection. This results in no scar tissue formation. Depending on the length of a hair follicular unit, the size of needles (diameter of 0.7 mm to 0.9 mm to 1.0 mm is used. The needle is a single-use equipment for each patient. It is important that hair follicles are extracted with precise accuracy, to avoid any follicular damage.
Preparation of the Recipient Site
The hair follicles are then prepped for the transfer. In a classical FUE hair transplant technique, steel blades are used for creating the recipient sites for the transplanted area. However, much sharper and smoother sapphire blades are now available for this process. These sapphire blades make it much easier to identify the correct angle and direction for the transplantation procedure. It is very important to follow the right direction and angle of the existing hair while making slits in the recipient area. This ensures that the transplanted hair look natural.
Transplanting Hair Follicles
In this is the process of transplanting, the hair follicles are transferred one at a time, at an angle of 40-45 degrees, in to the incisions created at a direction that allows accurate placement. Then, some very tiny holes are drilled using a device called micromotor on the recipient site. These holes are drilled in the direction of the hair growth. This is to make the transplanted hair look natural as they continue to grow after hair transplantation.
Once the required number of hair follicles are transferred as per the pre-transplant plan and drawings, the scalp is covered with bandages and dressing. FUE hair transplant technique doesn’t leave any marks or require any stitches.
After the hair transplant
It is normal to experience mild redness and discomfort after the transplantation procedure and it usually do not require any treatment. The doctor will discuss and inform in detail about complications or side effects that may occur and to pay attention to certain conditions.
Patients are usually able to return to their normal tasks or work (desk job) in about 2-3 days after the procedure. It is important to avoid strenuous activities for the next 15 days and protect the scalp against external traumas.
The doctor will schedule a follow-up visit to the hospital the next day after the procedure. They will remove the bandage during this visit and perform a was-up and dressing. The medical team should be immediately consulted or informed if the patient experiences warmth and remarkable pain around the donor or recipient site, and have a fever or any symptoms that can be linked to the hair transplant after the hospital discharge