How does hair transplant surgery work?
Hair transplant surgery is a procedure which involves taking a tiny piece of scalp with healthy hair follicles from an area where the hair is plentiful, usually at the back of the head. The piece of scalp is divided into single hairs or small groups of hairs, including the follicles’ sebaceous (oil) glands, nerves, a small muscle, and sometimes other finer hairs. These are then grafted on to the thinning or bald areas of the scalp.
Both FUT and FUE are carried out by in a clinic by a dermatological surgeon. There is usually no need for a general anaesthetic during hair transplant, and the procedure is normally carried out under local anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic may be required in cases where more extensive work is needed.
The use of local anaesthetic (where only the area to be operated on is numbed) means that the risks associated with general anaesthetic are eliminated, and the recovery time is reduced. Recovery times vary depending on the procedure type used.
The surgeon cuts a single thin strip of hair from the back of the scalp. This is then dissected into individual follicular units of around 1mm in width under a microscope. Each follicular unit consists of one to four hairs, oil glands, nerves and a small muscle, from the donor area. The surgeon then makes miniscule cuts in the recipient area (the balding part) of the scalp and inserts the units. Up to 3000 grafts can be transplanted onto the donor area at a time, depending on how much donor hair is growing on the rest of the scalp.
FUE is a non-invasive procedure which uses a ‘punch’ device to remove the follicular units from the back and sides of the scalp without causing damage. Healing times are faster than with FUT.