The battle against genetic and age-related hair loss is as old as time. However, new breakthroughs may mean that you don’t have to accept the receding hairline of your ancestors. Science-backed methods refined over the last few decades have improved hair restoration technology, efficacy, and safety.
Follicular Unit Extraction
One of the most cutting-edge, highly effective, and least invasive hair restoration options is follicular unit extraction. A FUE hair transplant is ideal for individuals who have thinning or receding hair but also healthy follicles elsewhere.
Healthy follicles are essential for a successful FUE hair transplant. Generally taken from the back of the scalp, these follicles are often resistant to the hormone responsible for how to treat hair loss.
How It Works
In this procedure, a surgeon extracts individual hair follicles using a micro punch tool. Healthy follicles are then placed in thinning or balding areas where the surgeon has made tiny incisions.
This procedure only takes a few hours, and the donor and transplant sites will be bandaged to protect both during recovery. Most recipients only need over-the-counter pain management, and discomfort is typically limited to soreness at the donor and transplant sites. An antibiotic will be prescribed to help the healing process and reduce the risk of infection.
Your surgeon will provide you with specific postoperative instructions, but you can expect to need a bit of downtime. There may be some swelling or bruising, but these are expected to subside as you heal. If you can, plan to take a few days off from your usual routine to speed your recovery time.
- Don’t wash or wet your hair or scalp for at least three days. After you’re cleared to resume washing, a gentle, unscented shampoo will be less irritating.
- Combing and brushing can disrupt your newly relocated follicles, so skip it for a few weeks or as instructed.
- Head coverings can also disturb the healing process, so wait until your doctor approves their use. If you wear head coverings for religious purposes, discuss this with your doctor before your procedure.
- You’ll need to skip any strenuous exercise routines while you heal, but you can still take walks and stretch. Sweating can impact your healing process and even your long-term results, so take this instruction seriously.
- Your favorite pillow may need to take a hiatus as you heal. Most providers recommend that FUE recipients sleep upright to promote blood flow. Improve your comfort level by sleeping in a recliner and using a neck pillow.
After undergoing a FUE hair transplant, recipients can expect the hair located in the transplanted follicles to fall out. This normal and expected occurrence is one of the first signs your newly transplanted follicles are settling into your scalp.
New growth from these follicles can be seen in about three to four months, with up to 80% regrowth. When your style preferences dictate, your restored hair can be cut and styled as desired. Prescription medications like Minoxidil and Finasteride can help retain your results and prevent future hair loss.
Follicular Unit Transplantation
Hair restoration through FUE may be cutting-edge, but follicular unit transplantation, a long-established surgical procedure, still warrants consideration. FUT can provide great results at a more affordable price for individuals experiencing hair loss. There are some differences in the procedure, who may qualify, and the recovery process that potential candidates should take into account.
How It Works
A surgical method similar to FUE, FUT results in the transplantation of individual healthy hair follicles to the scalp. Surgeons first cut a strip of dense, healthy hair from the nape of the neck. Then, individual follicles are extracted from the removed portion and then transplanted into the scalp through small incisions.
Most candidates for FUT choose this option because they need a greater number of follicles to be transplanted. By removing a strip of the scalp, surgeons can remove donor follicles more efficiently.
Newly transplanted follicles should be treated with the same care as those implanted through FUE. However, the donor site in a FUT procedure is actually removed from the scalp, leaving an incision to care for.
- Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions for your donor site. A sterile strip or surgical glue may be used in addition to sutures.
- The healing time for your donor site may differ from the transplantation sites. Continue to heed all instructions regarding washing and activity until both sites are healed and your surgeon approves your return to normal activities.
- Your donor site incision is liable to leave a scar, but many recipients easily conceal it with their hairstyle.
You can expect your transplanted hair to fall out at first, just as it does for FUE procedures. FUT recipients can also see a similar success rate for transplant growth, which typically begins in a few months.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
A popular treatment for reducing the visible signs of aging like lines and wrinkles, injections of platelet-rich plasma can also help hairlines. Using PRP separated from an individual’s blood, clinicians inject this powerful substance directly into the scalp.
How It Works
The growth hormones in plasma stimulate hair growth at the follicular level. Experts believe that PRP injections can stimulate regrowth and potentially result in the production of new follicles.
This 15-minute procedure is done in-office over multiple visits, which can provide the best results. Injection sites will reveal minimal visible evidence of treatment, thanks to the thin needle used. A tiny scab may appear as the scalp heals, and discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Once sites are healed, treatment recipients can resume normal activities.
This procedure is largely recommended for those in the early stages of hair loss. When used in conjunction with prescription medications like Minoxidil and Finasteride, PRP injections can help prevent hair loss and promote regrowth.
Cutting-Edge Technology Makes Hair Restoration Possible
Scientists and surgeons have dedicated their careers to understanding hair loss and uncovering restoration methodologies. Take advantage of today’s cutting-edge, effective, and safe treatments for a fuller, thicker head of hair for life.