The uninformed might fear that hair transplant surgery would be painful or risky, but in actual fact, this solution to hair loss and baldness is painless and safe in the hands of a qualified hair surgeon specialist. The scalp is anesthetized locally the surgery is performed. While sitting in the chair for the three to five hour procedure, patients may watch TV, read a magazine, or chat with a friend or spouse. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to return to work the following day.
The only restriction is to avoid heavy lifting for a time. There are no bandages to worry about, and most patients need nothing more than over-the-counter pain medication. Here's how the procedure works.
First, a tiny strip of skin is removed from an area of scalp where hair is plentiful. This "donor area" can't be seen because the skin is sutured so that hair immediately covers it. Thousands of hair follicles are isolated from the donor strip and "planted" in paper-cut-like incisions across the scalp wherever new hair is needed.
Hairs are placed two and three at a time, so that hair grows in without the "Doll's Hair" effect (hair set in unnatural clusters inside hole incisions, like on a doll's head). This look used to be the outcome of earlier, less sophisticated hair transplant procedures, still in use by some inexperienced doctors. Many patients only need one or two sessions when seeing a qualified doctor.
The newly transplanted hair will begin to grow in as little as three to six months, and will achieve full growth within ten to twelve months. Other methods of treating hair loss are temporary; hair replacement therapy is a permanent solution. The transplanted roots come from an area of the head not prone to balding. They are genetically endowed with the ability to continue growing, and they continue to do so, producing healthy, normal hair where it is needed throughout the rest of one's life.
Although I have emphasized the effectiveness of this treatment, and the minimal down time and inconvenience it entails, I should also emphasize that it is critical to choose your hair surgeon very carefully. Very few doctors specialize exclusively in hair transplantation. You probably don't live near one, and will have to travel a long distance to be treated by an expert skilled and equipped in state-of-the-art technology.
If you settle on a doctor who only does three or four hair transplants a month, you are taking a big risk. Most doctors still make hole-incisions and plant hairs in Barbie-Doll clumps, as mentioned earlier. Inexperienced doctors often create an unnatural hairline, and many an unsuspecting patients has ended up with scaring and flaps.
So how does the layman evaluate prospective doctors? There are a few simple criteria. There are no legitimate reasons why these requests should be refused: 1. Insist on talking to not some, but many, of the doctor's patients who have had the procedure. You should be provided with as many names as you wish to call.
2. Ask to see a live surgery being performed. 3. There are hair transplant franchises which may seem impressive because they are "large" and have many offices.
Bigger is not better. The doctors these franchises import may be part-time hair surgeons and may not perform this procedure often enough and have not been doing them long enough to be at the top of their game. 4. Never trust a physician who promotes gimmicks and gadgets (like oxygen therapy) in addition to the surgery.
Undergoing hair transplantation is an important decision; it's your appearance that's at stake. If you do your homework and choose carefully, you will be among the thousands of happy patients whose hair has been restored to a full, natural-looking, growing, healthy condition. If you make an ill-informed decision, you will regret it.
Dr. Lawrence Shapiro has performed over 10,000 permanent hair replacement surgeries in the last 18 years. Call Dr. Larry Shapiro of Dr. Shapiro's Hair Institute for a hair transplant consultation: 1-800-799-4247.