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Understanding Surgical Hair Restoration

How do doctors decide which part of my head will receive the transplanted hair?

The front and top of your head will receive transplanted hair first because these are the areas that frame your face and make the most impact on your appearance. The crown is usually the last area to receive hair (in later procedures), unless it's your only balding area.

How many procedures will I need?

The number of procedures depends upon the extent of your hair loss, the projected hair loss rate, the amount of donor hair you can spare, and other artistic and medical considerations.

Men can often have the results they're looking for in just one or two hair transplant sessions, when thousands of hairs are transplanted in follicular units of one to four hairs each. Women need more sessions to achieve proper density. These sessions can last between five and ten hours each. Future sessions can follow if necessary.

What should I expect during my first meeting with a hair transplant surgeon?

During your first consultation, the doctor should examine your head thoroughly and take a detailed medical history. The examination of your head should include the use of an instrument called the hair densitometer, which measures your hair density and allows your doctor to properly evaluate the number of hairs in each of your naturally occurring follicular units and the hair loss pattern you may have over time.

This instrument compares fine hair to thick ones, measuring the degree of miniaturization of your hair strands caused by shrinking hair follicles, the progressive diminishing of each hair's diameter and length. Your doctor should put into writing your hair transplant design and an estimated timeline for any procedures that may be necessary. The doctor should also explain the entire hair transplant procedure, including any associated risks, and tell you what you can expect in the months following the procedure.

Published on March 1, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from the American Hair Loss Association

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