Choosing the best hair transplant for you is a big decision indeed. As with any form of surgery, a lot of factors need to be considered: the right doctor or specialist for your needs, any required downtime, the price of the procedure and its potential final results all have to come into play. Read on to find out all the pros and cons of the two main hair transplant procedures:
What is a Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that consists of hair follicles being moved from one section of the body (often named the “donor site”), and then implanted into the area that is affected by hair loss. This procedure is done by either a dermatologist or a surgeon. This is oftentimes done via Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), which both involve grafting to address hair loss.
Approximately 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women worldwide will experience hair loss. While some may change their diet to a nutrient-rich one and use personalized supplements to stimulate hair growth, others may opt for a hair transplant, which, in some respects, can be a quicker and more drastic solution.
Men and women are both candidates for hair transplants, but the procedure will be done differently for each. Most men lose hair through Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), where the hair thins via the hairline, sides and back. For women, the cause hair loss can vary, and many women will experience thinning or bald patches in smaller areas across the scalp or experience an overall thinning.
What is the best hair transplant method?
As mentioned, there are two different types of hair transplant procedures: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). FUT is a procedure where micrografts are placed in the balding areas, i.e. a doctor removes a strip of donor skin and grafts it to the bald site, earning FUT the moniker of “strip surgery.” FUE, on the other hand, is a procedure where actual individual follicles are placed (grafted) into the bald spots.
The FUT is widely known to give a greater donor hair yield during a lifetime compared to FUE, which can sometimes come up against the roadblock of having a more limited amount of donor hair. That said, FUE is mostly better suited for those treating smaller areas, or for younger patients who need fewer grafts.
Both procedures are dependent upon the degree of the male receding hairline, availability of the donor sites and the amount of coverage. It’s hard to state which procedure is best due to the variables involved: The best hair transplant procedure for a patient can only be made after a consultation with a specialist who is qualified to discuss which surgical option is most suited for the individual.
Hair Transplant Aftercare
After the procedure, the scalp will be tender and the site will be bandaged. Patients may experience soreness and pain for a few days afterward. The doctor may suggest taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or prescribe a mild pain reliever as well as antibiotics to prevent infection, stimulants like minoxidil or a natural hair supplement like Nutrafol to promote hair growth.
Patients should be able to return to work between two to five days after the operation. Both are virtually painless procedures administered under a local anesthetic, but the procedure time varies greatly, with FUT being a shorter procedure (4-12 hours), and FUE sometimes taking 10 hours or even requiring more than one session.
For the first few weeks, doctors suggest not to wash hair, and when able to wash, to only use mild shampoos. We suggest starting out with a gentle formulation, like the one in The Good Stuff Gentle Shampoo. This sulfate-free lightweight shampoo helps remove excess oil and dirt without being too harsh on your scalp.
Follow with the corresponding The Good Stuff Complete Repair Balm. This no-rise conditioner strengthens and protects your strands and allows you to avoid another rinse underneath the tap while your scalp is still recovering.
Patients are also urged not to comb or brush the site for a few weeks, as this could damage the surgery site. Patients are generally told to not wear pullover tops of any kind or hats or scarves on their heads for a few weeks and to not exercise for at least a week.
It’s very common for some hair to fall out after the procedure. Transplanted hair will slowly start to grow and fill in the areas where the procedure took place.
Can a hair transplant last forever?
A hair transplant could last for a few years or even, yes, for a lifetime. The length of time that a transplant lasts is dependent on whether the newly transplanted hair will “take” in the new area, and if it will continue to flourish. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of transplanted hair will continue to grow after a procedure. However, some patients opt to have a second or third procedure to achieve a thicker, fuller head of hair.
A hair transplant can cost upwards to $10,000 for a single session. Since hair transplants are not covered by insurance, and even the best hair transplant may not be 100 percent effective, there are other options out there worth considering in terms of managing hair loss and rebalancing compromised hair health.
While baldness may be an inherited trait, some types of hair loss can be corrected by something as simple as changing habits. Stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet can cause hair loss. Incorporating meditation, working out and a stable, consistent bedtime can help keep stressors at bay, minimizing the cause of hair fall due to stress. Switching to a nutrient-rich diet and taking a hair supplement like Nutrafol can also assist in achieving healthier hair.
Want more insight into how supplements can help with your hair’s health? Take the personalized quiz and see which Nutrafol formula would work best for you.