Understanding Surgical Hair Restoration

Newer techniques, such as follicular unit micro grafting, follicular unit transplantation, and follicular unit extraction, have made hair transplantation a virtually undetectable, viable option for many hair loss sufferers.

Currently, a hair transplant can only be performed by harvesting dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-resistant hair from the back of your own scalp, and then transplanting it into the balding areas. Hair can also be transplanted between identical twins who have the same genetic makeup.

In general, doctors believe that hair transplanted from one person to another will be rejected unless anti-rejection medications are taken for life. The risk of taking these medications far outweigh the benefits attained from the transplant, however. Scientists are currently researching ways to transplant hairs from one person to another without rejection.

Typically, men who have male pattern baldness will still have a permanent wreath of hair surrounding the sides and the back of their head. This is where hair is harvested from for transplantation. This hair is genetically programmed to continue to grow even in the worse cases of male pattern baldness.

The exception is men who have with diffuse hair loss. These men have a similar form of hair loss as women; the hair loss is distributed throughout the entire scalp leaving the sides and the back very sparse. If this hair were to be transplanted, there would be no guarantee that the hair would continue to grow in the new area because this hair seems to be inherently unstable and just as susceptible to DHT as hair lost on the top of the scalp.

The following questions and answers will prepare you to understand surgical hair restoration procedures and methods.

Whose hair will be transplanted onto my head?

Unlike organ transplants, you are your own donor for a hair transplant. There is no donor and recipient. If you received hair, follicles, and tissue from someone else (other than an identical twin), your body would reject them without immune-suppressant drugs. You donate your hair from what are called your donor sites.

Where are my donor sites?

Male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness are terms that include the word pattern. That's because there is a pattern to the baldness. Especially in men, no matter how much hair they have lost in the front, top, and crown areas of their heads, the sides and backs of their heads retain hair, sometimes a great deal of it. The sides and back are far less affected by the action of DHT on their hair follicles. These areas are the donor hair sites, along with the follicles and some surrounding tissue.

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