Hair Transplant – FAQs about Costs, Safety and Effectiveness

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Hair Transplant – FAQs about Costs, Safety and Effectiveness

hair transplant for men and women

Have you noticed your hairline thinning recently? Or are there bald patches on your head where there were once luscious locks? Hair loss is the most wide spread concern predominantly in men, but also in women. So it’s not surprising that the most searched terms on Google in India is “hair loss treatments” and “hair transplant surgery”. As the demand for this service is growing, there are many outfits and shops all across Lucknow and India as a large, that promise you to restore your lost hairline . But is the solution provided by all of them safe and effective and how much does it really cost for a hair transplant that can give good long lasting results. You have many such questions, and Dr. Shree Harsh, a plastic and cosmetic surgeon trained in Belgium answers all your questions in this article. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are the very questions Dr. Shree Harsh is asked very frequently from his patients and it will address some of your concerns. However, every case is different and it is recommended that you set up an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Shree Harsh, where he can do a thorough analysis of your hair density, extent of your hair loss and give you the right advice if hair transplant can help restore your hair loss and if it will be effective and long lasting for you.

What is the cost of Hair Transplant?

Costs is the first question on everybody’s mind, so before we go into anything else, first let’s talk about the costs. You have to understand hair transplant is a long procedure where basically one hair follicle at a time is extracted from the donor area and transplanted to the receiving area such as your scalp. This requires a lot of skill from the surgeon doing this procedure to ensure the newly transplanted hair is accepted, lives and flourishes on your scalp. The cost is therefore calculated based on how many such grafts you require. The total number of grafts you require depends on what is the grade (or level) of your baldness. Secondly, there are two major techniques used for hair transplant hair, viz., FUE and FUT and cost also depends on the technique used for you. The cost of Hair Transplant at Pinnacle starts from Rs. 30,000/-

Hair Transplant a brief history.

Hair transplant surgeries date back to the 1950s. Surgeons across all the world have been working on improving and perfecting these techniques. Of course, the hair transplant surgeries performed today are very different from back then, and the results are also far more superior. 

Hair transplant is a surgery performed to treat baldness. The procedure involves removing healthy hair follicles from one area of the body (known as the donor area) and planting them in the area where there is no hair (known as the recipient area). The hair follicles used for the purpose of removal and grafting are called “follicular units”. 

The surgeon performing this procedure needs to be highly skilled since the follicular units are fragile and delicate to handle. In general, the best hair transplant in India is a minimally invasive surgery.

What are the popular techniques used for Hair Transplant?

Hair transplant surgery can be divided into two types based on the technique that is used to accomplish the process. 

Follicular Unit Transplantation
Follicular Unit Transplantation or FUT is the older and slightly less complicated method of hair transplant. In FUT the doctor selects the donor area near the back of the scalp or the sides of the head. The donor area or the linear strip is then removed as a whole and used for harvesting. The strip is dissected into smaller units known as grafts. These grafts are harvested on the head where there is no hair.

Follicular Unit Extraction
While FUT is the traditional method, Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE is the more modern approach to hair transplant. Unlike FUT where an entire strip is taken from the donor area, FUE involves removing individual hair follicles and harvesting them. Typically hair extracted for FUE can be taken in small quantities from all over the head under anaesthesia.

If we are to compare FUE and FUT, then there are a couple of differences you need to be aware of. FUE shows almost no visible scarring. The surgery time for FUT is lower while FUE may be done in one long session or several sessions. FUE gives more natural-looking results. If you opt for FUT then you have to be ready to accept that the donor area will always remain bald. FUT hair transplant costs lower than FUE hair transplant. 

Who is the ideal candidate for Hair Transplant?

Any adult (male or female) who is suffering from alopecia (baldness) is eligible for hair transplant surgery. 

There are no other requirements that are necessary to be fulfilled to become an ideal candidate for hair transplant. 

How to choose the right doctor for Hair Transplant?

1. First of all, hair transplant is a cosmetic surgery procedure. Therefore it is important that you talk to consult a plastic or cosmetic surgeon who is better qualified to do the procedure.

2. Check what technology is available with the doctor and how well equipped his clinic is. If the doctor is using the latest technology then probably the results will be better and natural-looking. 

3. Review the testimonials of past patients. Most patients post their reviews on social media pages or Google or even the website of the doctor. Go through them to understand the quality of his/her work and what the ultimate results look like. 

4. The hair transplant cost in India could also play a major role in choosing the right doctor for you. Depending on the amount of money you are ready to spend, choose a surgeon who falls in your budget range. 

5. A vital element that is often not listed, is your personal equation with the doctor. It is very important that you feel comfortable with the surgeon and trust his judgement and course of action.  This comfort level is intangible and cannot be measured, but it does affect your choice and your ultimate happiness.

What questions to ask the doctor during your consultation?

Getting a hair transplant is a big decision since it directly affects the way you look and more specifically your face. A consultation with your doctor before you decide on the type of surgery, the date and time etc. is a must. 

You can sit down with the doctor and discuss your expectations from the surgery. Most hair transplant surgeons create a projected image of what your head and face will look like post-surgery using software. This can help you in visualizing yourself and also suggest any changes that you believe might be more suitable for you. 

You should also have an honest conversation with your doctor about hair transplant side effects and the risks involved. If you have any doubts regarding the surgery, the post-operative care and the timeline for the results, please talk to your doctor freely and get the answers you need well in advance. 

What happens before the surgery?

Sometimes doctors give medication before the surgery to maintain your current hair growth and keep the donor area healthy. Apart from this, no other medication is administered before the surgery, nor does the patient have to take any extra precautions. 

What happens during the surgery?

The patient is given local anaesthesia for the surgery. The hair and the scalp are gently shampooed and cleaned before beginning the procedure. After that, the surgeon will execute the hair transplant either through FUT method or FUE method.  

The harvesting is the trickiest part of the surgery. It takes time and a very high level of skill to harvest the follicular units correctly and precisely. If harvesting is done properly the end results are bound to be better. 

What is the recovery time for Hair Transplant Surgery?

The doctor will prescribe medicines post-surgery to alleviate the pain. You will also need to take some medicines to keep the swelling down and to reduce the chances of infection. 

Hair transplant surgeons ask their patients to cover their head for several weeks after the surgery since the scalp is in a very delicate condition. Even a little disturbance to the scalp could adversely affect the growth of the hair follicles in the grafted area. 

The stitches on your head will be removed after 10 days. Until then, you must be extra careful and cautious so as to not disturb the scalp. 
Patients go back to work within a couple of days after the surgery. They are able to resume their daily routine without any major hindrances or precautions. 

When do patients start seeing the actual results?

It takes time for hair transplant to actually start showing results. The reason being that the follicular units have been removed from their natural area of birth and planted in a new unfamiliar territory. It is similar to removing a sapling from a pot and replanting it in a new one. It will obviously take some time for the hair follicles to get used to the new environment and start growing again. 

Be patient with yourself and do not expect immediate results. It takes a minimum of 4-6 months for “actual results”. Until then you should focus on taking your prescribed medicines (for hair growth) regularly and wait. Slowly, you will start seeing the changes and a proper hairline will begin to materialize. 

You will also most likely go through a phase of “shock loss”. This is the phase when you will witness a high amount of hair loss. A lot of patients start believing during this time that their surgery was unsuccessful. But the truth is shock loss is as natural as hair loss. It is a part of the cycle. Once you go through shock loss, then the hair follicles will be completely settled in the recipient area and will grow back new hair automatically. 

What are the risks involved in Hair Transplant?

Hair transplant like every other surgical procedure has certain risks associated with it. Following are the risks:

1. There is a slight risk that the patient’s scalp may bleed after the surgery. 

2. The scalp is one of the most sensitive and vulnerable areas in the human body. After a hair transplant surgery, it runs the risk of catching an infection.

3. Inflammation in the affected area is common after the surgery. But it can be reduced by taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor. 

4. Since the surgery involves creating a hairline on your head, there may be slight bruising near the forehead, sides of the scalp and near the eyes. 

5. The treatment area might stay numb after the hair transplant surgery. 

6. The hair follicles might catch an infection called folliculitis.

7. The end result may not be the way you wanted it to be. Sometimes the patient’s hair looks unnatural and they become unhappy with the surgery. 

8. Not all the hair follicles planted will accept the new area and regrow. Some of the hair follicles simply die out after the surgery.

9. The hair transplant results may not be permanent. In some cases, patients have had to get a second hair transplant surgery 5-10 years after the first one.

Does medical insurance cover the cost of Hair Transplants?

Hair transplants fall under cosmetic procedures and are therefore not covered under medical insurance policies. 

Hair transplants are no longer “too expensive”. It is an affordable, safe and minimally invasive surgery with good results. Baldness not only affects the shape of the face or the looks but also the confidence of a person. Hair loss and thinning of the hairline is frustrating especially if it happens in your 20s or 30s. It takes away the youthful charm a person possesses. 

In such a scenario hair transplant is more than a surgery. It is a chance at restoring your original good looks and the confidence that comes with having a head full of hair.  We may not admit it but our looks deeply affect our physical and mental well being. 

We hope this blog has given you insights into the hair transplant process and helped you make the right decision for yourself!

Note: This blog was originally written in June 2019 and was modified in Jan 2020.

Dr. Shree Harsh
Dr. Shree Harsh
Dr. Shree Harsh is a board certified internationally trained Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. He completed his M.Ch. in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from G.M.C Nagpur. He has received the international scholarship of Plastic Surgery Educational Network by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in the year 2016-2017. He was awarded the prestigious DAFPRS fellowship by the Dutch Association of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He has been trained by Dr.Patrick L Tonnard and Dr.Alexis Verpaele at the MACS lift centre- Coupure Centrum in Ghent, Belgium in both Surgical and non Surgical Aesthetic Surgery procedures during his fellowship period.

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