In recent years, increasing use is being made of hair transplants. This is usually carried out by surgeons who specialize in this delicate procedure. Patients are generally referred to such surgeons either by their own physician or by the dermatologist. It is imperative that operations of this nature be done by a specially equipped surgeon, for the failure among those not trained is very high price.
The Hair Graft Operation
This is carried out under local anesthetic. Nervous ants are given an injection (usually diazepam) to steady them down. They lay on the operating table, and the surgeon draws the new hairline with a special pencil.
A row of 20-30 holes, 4 mm in diameter and 2-3 mm from each other are made along this line. This makes the area in which the new hairs be “grafted.” Then more lines of holes are then cut in the first row. These are usually about 6 mm in diameter. They are cut in an irregular pattern so that the hair will not appear any specific. The surgeon then selects an area here hair growth is good, usually at the lack and sides of the scalp. Using the same “punch” instrument, the hair bearing grafts are cut out. These will later be lifted out to be fitted into the holes in the frontal parts of the scalp.
Each graft is individually trimmed and placed carefully into the hole at the front (from which the tissue is removed). The surgeon makes certain the hairs point normally in the direction the hair will later he combed.
When each graft has been accurately placed, Vaseline gauze is applied. A firm stockinette pressure dressing is then placed over the operational site, and after a rest the patient is allowed to return home.
Dressings are usually removed the following day. There is sometimes a headache, and some swelling may follow.
There is minimum discomfort, however. Normally 80 grafts are performed at one sitting. About a month after the first sitting, the patient is ready for the next operation. The “holes” have turned a purple color. They shrink in size and become quite unnoticeable.
The transplanted hair usually falls out. About one to three months later the new hair grows.
The basic idea is not to cover the scalp with hair, for this is absolutely impossible. By giving a new line of hair at the front, this can be brushed back, so giving the patient a more acceptable (to himself) appearance.
“Before” and “after” photographs are usually kept by the surgeons. These invariably testify to the efficiency of this generally successful procedure. Variations of technique occur. Some doctors use larger hair-containing flaps that give wider coverage. It is a changing technology.
Because of the nature of hair, the fact that spontaneous “cures” for balding areas are quite common, and the emotional overtones placed upon hair by people with hair problems, such people arc easy victims for charlatans.
Never become involved with hair “clinics” where extravagant claims arc promoted. These are usually extremely expensive, and often the results of natural remissions arc claimed as “victories” by the promoters. Attend only qualified physicians, skin specialists and surgeons who arc specially trained in their fields and who have access to the latest and best procedures available.
For routine care of the hair attend a qualified hairdresser. In most Australian States, registration is required by law, and a proper training schedule precedes this. Women should be careful of home use hair chemical kits, for these may be very potent and you may be doing yourself a disservice in the long-term. Care of the hair at all times is essential if you wish it to serve you well and give added beauty to your appearance for years to come.
There are numerous myths still persisting about the hair. Be assured that:
- Your hair will not turn grey overnight (e.g. from a sudden shock or a fright or emotional crisis).
- Hair does not grow after death.
- Shaving will not promote the growth of dark, coarse hair.
- Vitamins, massaging, applications, creams, lotions, dandruff, and enriched applications will promote the growth of hair.