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Cosmetic Procedures for Hair Loss

Who Is Not a Candidate for Hair Replacement?

Hair replacement is not recommended for the following people:

  • Women with a diffuse, or wide-spread, pattern of hair loss
  • Those who do not have sufficient "donor" sites (hair-bearing portions of the head from which hair-bearing skin is taken)
  • People who form keloid scars that can result from trauma, burns, or radiation injury

Common Hair Replacement Procedures

Hair Grafting or Hair Transplant

Hair grafting -- also called a hair transplant -- is an outpatient hair replacement procedure performed in the dermatological surgeon's office. Micro grafts contain only one to two hairs per graft, while slit grafts contain between four and ten, and punch grafts hold 10-15 hairs. Also available are mini-grafts (containing two to four hairs) and strip grafts (long thin grafts containing 30 to 40 hairs). Local anesthetic is injected into the scalp and sedation is available if needed for relaxation and comfort.

What Happens During and After Hair Grafting?

In hair grafting, the dermatological surgeon first removes a portion of the hair-bearing scalp from the back of the head. Then, the surgeon cuts the removed scalp into small segments with varying amounts of hair in each graft, which, when transplanted into the balding area, produce a very subtle thickening and "natural" look.

With each session, 50 or more hair-bearing segments are usually transplanted. "Donor" sites are closed with stitches, which usually are then concealed by the surrounding hair. After the grafting session is complete, the scalp will be cleaned then covered with gauze and, if necessary, a bandage. Stitches will come out approximately 10 days later.

How Long Does Hair Grafting Take?

Several sessions may be needed to achieve satisfactory "fullness." After each session, a healing process of two to four months is usually recommended.

Will There Be Any Discomfort or Side Effects With Hair Grafting?

Most side effects that come with hair grafting usually go away within one to three weeks. Among the most common side effects are:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising around the eyes
  • Crusting on the "donor" and "recipient" sites of the scalp
  • A lack of feeling or sensation around the "donor" and "recipient" sites of the scalp
  • Itching in the "donor" site

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