Hair Transplantation Surgery

The doctors at Destin Plastic Surgery offer the latest technique in single follicular hair restoration surgery for natural looking, permanent hair. 

What causes hair loss?

The most common cause of hair loss is inheritance. Men and women inherit the gene for hair loss from either or both parents. Men are most commonly affected by the inherited gene as the hormone, testosterone, activates the genetic program causing loss of hair follicles. Currently there is no known method of stopping this type of hair loss. The age of onset, extent, and rate of hair loss vary from person to person. Severe illness, malnutrition, or vitamin deficiency can accelerate this process. When applied incorrectly, permanent hair color and chemical relaxers damage the hair and follicle to the extent that hair loss can be permanent. Causes of hair loss do not include wearing a hat, excessive shampooing, lack of blood flow, or clogged pores.

Do hair transplants really work?

Yes. The transplanted hair is removed from one area of the body (donor site) and transferred to another (recipient site). The transferred tissue is not “rejected” as it is not foreign tissue. The transplanted hair maintains its own characteristics; color, texture, growth rate, and curl, after transplantation and re-growth. The vitality of the grafted follicle is maintained by the rich blood supply to the scalp. Originally, large circular grafts containing 15-20 hairs were transplanted resulting in noticeable and unnatural results.

Over the years, instruments and techniques have been developed that allow us to achieve truly natural results by transplanting small grafts very close together called single follicle hair transplantation. We have found that hair grows from the scalp in groups of 1, 2, and 3 hair follicles. We transfer these groups of follicles after eliminating the excess surrounding fatty tissue. This allows the grafts to be placed closer together resulting in a denser and more natural result.

What about other hair loss treatments?

There are only two products approved by the FDA for hair loss: Propecia® and Rogaine®. Neither Propecia nor Rogaine have been proven to restore hair in the frontal areas. Propecia and Rogaine can slow or even stop hair loss, while hair transplants can restore hair that was lost.

Some shampoos may enhance the appearance of fuller hair. But the hair loss products that claim to “cure” hair loss are not legitimate. There is no cure for hair loss only products that can slow or restore certain areas for hair growth.

What about female hair loss?

More than 20 million women in the United States alone are suffering from hair loss. A main cause of female hair loss is hormones.

An overactive or under active thyroid gland may cause thinning hair. Hormones can also cause hair loss if female hormones (estrogens and progesterone), are out of balance. However, if the hormone imbalance is corrected, the hair loss should stop. Therefore, hair loss and menopause are commonly linked and result in thinning hair in older women. Before menopause, about 13 percent of women experience hair loss. After menopause, reporting of the problem from women increases to about 37 percent. Additionally, childbirth can result in a dramatic loss of hair following the hormone shift.

Since for some women the causes of their hair loss are much more complex than the classic “male pattern baldness” a proper diagnosis of the underlying cause is vital before any hair loss treatments are attempted.

Hair loss in females, while often less noticeable than male hair loss, can be far more emotionally damaging. Female hair loss can be treated but treatment options for women are more limited than those available to men.

Hair transplant surgery can be effective for treating female hair loss. Additionally, Rogaine for women (minoxidil) can be used to help regrowth. The drug Propecia and similar DHT blocking drugs should not be taken or even handled by women due to the high risk of birth defects.

Are hair transplants expensive?

Hair transplantation is more expensive than a hair piece or some alternative treatments. However considering that the results are permanent, most people consider it a good investment in their future happiness.

Estimate of costs:

  • Consultation fee is $75 and this cost will be deducted from your surgery balance when due.
  • $5 a hair graft
  • 1500 grafts for receding hairline (approx.)
  • 2500 grafts entire top of head (approx.)

Includes all surgeons fees, pre and post operative visits but not prescriptions (including sedative and ongoing cost of Propecia and Rogain).

How many sessions will be required?

The number of the sessions will depend on the following factors:

  • Area of scalp treated
  • Number and size of grafts used
  • Density of hair that the patient desires
  • Individual characteristics of the patient (e.g. coarse hair will provide a more dense look than fine hair)

The estimate of the number of sessions can be discussed during the consultation with your surgeon.

What can be expected after hair restoration surgery?

The post-operative course will depend on adherence to the instructions given after surgery. Small scabs will form on the scalp at the graft sites. Generally speaking, these scabs disappear in 4 to 7 days. Shampooing can be resumed 24 hours after surgery. The suture (stitch) used in the donor area is undetectable as it is completely covered by your existing hair. An appointment will be made for the suture to be removed one week after surgery.

It is advisable to take at least 2 days off work after surgery. A baseball type cap can be worn at any time after surgery. Patients should avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 5 days after surgery. Typically, the grafted hair will shed in 2 to 4 weeks. New growth will begin in 3 to 4 months and length will increase approximately 1/2 inch per month.

Are hair transplants painful?

Most people are surprised at how little pain there is during the procedure. Some discomfort is to be expected as the anesthetic is injected into the scalp. Once the skin is anesthetized, there is no pain. If the numbing medicine wears off during the course of the procedure, more is injected to re-anesthetize the area.

What will it look like after the procedure?

The grafts form small scabs in the days after the procedure. If one has enough surrounding hair, these scabs can be camouflaged with creative styling. If not, the small scabs may be visible but do not attract much attention. By keeping the scalp moist, the scabs usually come off in about a week or so.

When can I go back to work?

Depending on the type of procedure you have done and the type of work you do, it is often possible to go back to work the next day. Your hair restoration surgeon will discuss this with you during the consultation.

Dr. William R. Burden, MD, FACS and Dr. L. Scott Ennis, MD, FACS are known for their experience and dedication to staying in the forefront of leading technology in plastic surgery. The doctors not only treat many patients from Panama City, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Tallahassee, Dothan, Atlanta, and Birmingham but also from around the world. Many people travel from Europe, South America and Asia to Destin to seek out their services. If you would like to request a consultation to see if hair restoration surgery is right for you, please call (850) 654-1194 or visit http://www.theplasticdoc.com/ .

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