Getting a hair transplant operation may seem like a frightening prospect to the uninformed, but people who have opted for this solution to massive hair thinning and baldness tell quite a different story. In the hands of a qualified hair surgeon specialist, the operation is painless. A patient's scalp is locally anesthetized while a doctor performs the procedure. Patients typically watch TV or comfortably read a magazine during the three to five hours they're sitting in the chair. Afterwards, patients may return to work the following day, avoiding heavy lifting for a time.
Most patients use nothing more than over-the-counter pain medication and have no bandages to worry about. During the transplant process, a tiny strip of skin is removed from an area of scalp where hair is in good supply. The skin is sutured so hair immediately covers the "donor area." From the donor strip, thousands of hair follicles are removed and "planted" in paper-cut-like incisions across the scalp wherever new hair is desired. Hairs are placed individually, in twos or in threes, so "Barbie Doll hair" does not result (hair like on a doll's head, set in unnatural clusters inside hole incisions). With a qualified doctor, one or two sessions are usually all that's necessary for a majority of patients.
In as little as three to six months, the newly transplanted hair will begin to grow, with full growth achieved within ten to twelve months. Unlike other methods of treating hair loss, hair replacement therapy is a permanent solution. Because the grafted roots come from an area of the head not prone to balding, they continue to produce healthy, normal hair in their "new location" throughout the rest of a person's life. The picture is rosy, with one important warning. Choose your hair surgeon very carefully.
Experts skilled in state-of-the-art technology are rare, and you will probably have to travel a long distance if you wish to be treated by one. Placing yourself in the hands of a doctor who only does three or four hair transplants a month is gambling with disaster. Most doctors still make hole-incisions and plant hairs in Barbie-Doll clumps, or plugs.
Often they fail at creating a natural hairline, and scaring and flaps create nightmares for unsuspecting patients who wrongly placed their trust. Insist on talking to many of the doctor's patients who have had the procedure, and on seeing a live surgery being performed, before you trust yourself to the doctor you think you will choose. Many dilettantes talk impressive terms and make bold promises but cannot deliver the goods. Particularly avoid hair transplant franchises that import doctors to do their procedures.
Never trust a physician who promotes gimmicks and gadgets (like oxygen therapy) in addition to the surgery. If you do your homework and choose carefully, you will be among the thousands of happy patients who have undergone hair transplantation and have lived ever since with a head of full, natural-looking, growing, healthy hair. In the final outcome, it's your appearance that's at stake. That should be worth all your trouble.
Dr. Lawrence Shapiro has performed over 10,000 permanent surgeries in the last 18 years in his hair transplants Florida clinics. He was the first U.S. doctor to practice strip-incision and micro-mini grafts/follicular unit techniques. Call him at 1-800-799-4247, or visit his website.