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Does hair transplantation really work?

hair-transplantation

When it comes to physical characteristics, like your hair style, and success, research has found there’s a definite correlation. Not surprisingly, the connection between hair and success applies equally to men as it does to women. The findings, published by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, were aptly titled “A Few Bad Hair Days Can Change Your Life”.

Well, if the findings of these and many other researchers are any indicator, the professional and social lives of men and women facing hair loss hangs in the balance. So, can men and women, who are either losing or have lost most of their natural hair, do anything to change the trajectory of their success? The short answer: YES – Hair transplant! Read on to learn more. 

WHAT IS HAIR TRANSPLANTATION?

Hair loss can be a traumatic experience for anyone to live with, especially for men and women living an otherwise full social, professional and intimate lifestyle. There are many reasons that people experience hair loss, and they vary among men and women. Some causes include:

  •     Hereditary and genetic predisposition
  •     Childbirth
  •     Illness
  •     Misuse or overuse of hair care devices (Hair dryers, Curling Irons etc.)
  •     Adverse reaction to medication
  •     Chemotherapy 
  •     Scalp injuries 

One way to address hair loss is through transplants – a procedure where surgeons relocate hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another. The transplanted hair then regrows naturally in balding or thinning spots.  Hair transplant is:

  •     a minimally invasive procedure
  •     usually performed under local anesthesia
  •     results in hair density unmatched by other treatments
  •     done using a patient’s own hair rather than from 3rd-party donors

Individuals desperate to regrow lost hair spend a lot of money on remedies like vasodilators, the most famous of which is Rogaine. However, these topical applications only work in certain types of baldness/hair loss – and only after many years of application. Additionally, patients who stop using the chemicals will quickly regress and descend into baldness.

Other options to cover bald or thinning-haired scalps include MicroDermal Pigmentation (MDP), wearing wigs or using hair extensions, hats and caps. However, when performed by trained professionals, surgical hair restoration (i.e. hair transplant) is the only minimally invasive, outpatient medical procedure that’s proven to be an effective solution for long-term, permanent recovery from hair loss. 

HOW HAIR TRANSPLANTATION WORKS

As noted previously, hair transplantation is about restoring hair in balding or thinning sections of the scalp, by harvesting follicles from existing hair-bearing parts. These hair-bearing parts may be as varied as the chest, the pubic region or the beard/chin. Hair restoration surgeons are continually reviewing and refining their transplantation approaches. However, the two most common approaches work as follows:

1)    Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

During an FUT procedure, surgeons anesthetizes the scalp and initially remove a strip (or slice) of skin from an area with abundant hair (called the donor area). This typically (but not always) is a part of the scalp that isn’t easily visible – for instance the back of the head.

hair transplantation + Global Medical Care

Next, the surgeons segment the donor patch into smaller grafts. While this segmentation process is underway, the surgeon will make tiny incisions in the target area (called the recipient site), in which to place (or transplant) the grafts. Ideally, when performed by a surgeon with considerable skill and experience, the follicular unit grafts mimic how natural hair grows. New hair can expect to grow within three to four months from a successful FUT procedure.

2)    Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

Also conducted under local anesthesia, FUE is a hair restoration procedure where surgeons identify and extract individual hair follicles from a donor site, and relocate (transplant) them into recipient sites. The entire process uses precision techniques and state-of-the-art tools to deliver naturally-looking, uniform hair to the recipient sites.

hair transplantation + Global Medical Care

During an FUE procedure, surgeons manually harvest individual hair follicles from donor sites, leaving small holes that eventually heal. Once the surgeon harvests the required number of follicles – typically from the back or side of the head – he/she punches tiny holes in the recipient site and transplants the harvested follicles there.

So, what’s the difference between the two procedures? The key differentiator between FUT and FUE are as follows:

  1. a)     FUT, also called a strip procedure, is an incision-based procedure, involved cutting a donor strip from the scalp. FUE, also called a graft procedure, involves harvesting individual follicles (not entire strips)
  2. b)   FUT does not require shaving the patient, while FUE patients may require to shave their heads
  3. c)     FUT procedures leave a linear scar at the donor site, while FUE doesn’t leave major scarring

The recovery times, associated with both procedures, also vary depending on the pattern of baldness addressed by your surgeon. Typically, because there is healing time involved in incision-based techniques, FUT recovery spans roughly 2-weeks. Patients undergoing FUE surgery typically recover within 5 days. At the best hair transplant clinic in Turkey, you have access to various hair transplantation procedures, including FUT and FUE.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS HAIR TRANSPLANT?

The politically correct (and safe!) answer to that question is: It depends! The state of health of the patient, their genetic disposition, the level of experience of the surgical team, the state and extent of loss or baldness – all factor into the effectiveness of the transplant procedure.

When undertaken by experienced teams of surgeons and hair restoration professionals, hair transplant in Turkey is very effective in controlling and even reversing baldness. That’s because it doesn’t depend on topical stimulus, like vasodilators, to get hair growing again. Instead, hair transplant harnesses the body’s own hair-regrowth capability to deliver long-lasting results.

Research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that the effectiveness of hair transplant depends on several factors, including the choice of donor region. For instance, some researchers concluded that “…graft uptake in case of body hairs is between 75-80%…”, while others put that rate between 60-80%. 

Regardless of which statistic you go by, a 60% plus rate of effectiveness is certainly very impressive. 

UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS

Hair transplant gone wrong can deal a terrible blow to the confidence and self-esteem of any hair loss patient. Like any other surgical procedure, there are risks associated with performing hair transplant in Turkey too. Since hair transplant is cosmetic in nature, prospective patients must speak to their surgeons about possible risks and side effects. Unlike tummy tucks and buttock surgery, the adverse effects of hair transplant are awkward to conceal (using wigs, hats and caps).

Risk factors decrease with each additional procedure that the surgical team performs. However, physician fatigue and professional errors may also cause hair transplants to go wrong. 

Some of the risks that patients should consider include:

  1. Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  2. Bleeding
  3. Wounds and incisions that won’t, or take longer to heal
  4. Pain and discomfort
  5. Post-operative infections
  6. Itching
  7. Edema
  8. Keloids and hypertrophic scars from donor sites

Where hair loss happens due to genetic or hereditary reasons at an early age, under 25-years, the risks of unsuccessful transplants increase, compared to hair loss experienced in later years. Additionally, patients of advancing age, in their 70s and beyond, may face greater risk of failed transplants or longer-than-anticipated recovery time.

Where less experienced hair restoration professionals perform the surgery, the finished product may even lead to severe depression and social isolation. That’s because it leaves patients with an unnatural appearance that’s plainly visible to onlookers – prospective employers, new life partners and friends and family.  

MAKING AN INFORMED CHOICE

So, where should one go to have a hair transplant? The decision really comes down to the standard of care you are expecting, and your confidence in your surgeon’s abilities. Based on statistics available, you will find the best hair transplant clinic in Turkey.  According to the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ), based on statistics from TurkStat – Turkey’s statistical watch body – more than 433,292 patients travelled to Turkey for hair transplants and other cosmetic surgery in 2017. 

Cost is also a very important consideration. Hair transplant in Turkey will cost a fraction of the amount compared to many western regions. For instance, a hair transplant patient would likely have paid anything in the range of $15,000 for a procedure in the U.S.,  or up to $9,000 in Europe and the U.K. 

That same procedure, performed to the same standards of care and proficiency, would be two or three times less costly if the patient travelled for the hair transplant to Turkey, compared to many European or other Asian destinations. The cost of Turkish hair transplants are also nearly 5-times less expensive than the U.S.A. 

That’s why each year thousands of individuals from around the world travel to Turkey for hair transplants. But most importantly, patients looking for good hair transplant surgeons want to know that they are in capable hands. And the choice to have hair transplant in Turkey offers them just that!

With more than 200 surgeries performed daily at Turkish hospitals, the men and women performing these procedures are highly experienced professionals. The level of training and experience they bring into the clinics where they practice, is at par with international standards.  So, while hair transplant in Turkey may cost less than most of the rest of the Western and Asian world, transplant patients don’t receive any less pre and post-transplant care.

How hair transplant works?

Hair transplant surgery is a procedure designed to treat hair loss by relocating hair follicles from one part of the body, known as the ‘donor site’, to the area suffering from hair loss, referred to as the ‘recipient site’. The process starts with a consultation with a specialist who assesses the patient’s scalp and discusses their expectations and goals. During the actual procedure, hair follicles are harvested from the donor area, typically the back or sides of the scalp, either individually or in small groups, depending on the transplant technique being used – Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or Direct Hair Implantation (DHI). These follicles are then carefully implanted into the recipient area, following the natural hair growth direction to ensure a look as natural as possible. Over time, these transplanted follicles will begin to grow hair just like the surrounding natural hair, significantly improving the hair density and coverage. It’s important to note that results may vary from person to person, and multiple sessions may be required to achieve the desired outcome.

To get more information about how hair transplant works, read our blog post called HOW DOES HAIR TRANSPLANT WORK?

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