24 . January . 2020 BY Dr. Sharmishtha Deshpande

Surgical Hair Transplant is the most assured way to restore your natural hair. However, the results vary from person to person, depending on multiple factors. These factors include the hair & scalp condition of the patient, the kind of hair loss or baldness the person is suffering from, his or her medical case history, genetic predisposition to certain conditions and so on. These factors are discussed in depth and expectations are set very clearly before the procedure is undertaken. Now, this is how it is to be dealt with, ideally.

Unfortunately, very often, many of these factors are ignored, and the process hastened, resulting in disappointments, misconceptions and wrong standards being established at large. This could be due to lack of awareness, inexperience and inexpertise, ill-placed profitability notions, medical and technical negligence to name a few reasons…

We, as an institution being the pioneers of trichology in the country, are often called in to clarify the many queries that crop up on the subject. We also receive a lot of direct queries, especially as regards the safety of the procedure and risks associated with it.

So today, on our Ask the Hair Expert series, we will address some of your questions that are related to hair transplant surgery, the risks associated with it, the best technology to go for and how to achieve best results through this process.

You asked, ‘Is hair transplant surgery dangerous? Is the process of surgical hair transplant safe? Is it painful? What are the risks of hair transplant surgery?’

Here’s the answer from the Hair Experts.

It is absolutely safe!
Provided, the prescribed due precautions are taken, on both sides – patient and clinic.

Those of you who regularly read our blogs may be more familiar with the topic; for others – do click here to catch up on our earlier blogs about hair transplant.

We will now attempt to clarify what the procedure aims to do, and what you need to be aware of.

What does hair transplant surgery aim to achieve?

Surgical Hair transplant basically achieves permanent natural hair restoration.

Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure for permanent hair restoration in which hair and hair follicles are moved from one section of your scalp (the donor site) to the balding area (the recipient site).

There are various methods by which this procedure can be performed. The most common methods used are the follicular unit extraction (FUE) and the follicular unit transplant (FUT). The best and most advanced technology presently in use is the Aesthetic Hair Implants (AHI) technique, which is used at RichFeel.

What to expect?

Provided that you are all cleared up for the procedure (this is a detailed consultation process) and the expectations are set, your date for surgery is fixed. There are certains precautions to be taken before the surgery, which you should be aware of.

Once the procedure is over, you will once again be briefed on what care you will need to take post-surgery. The implanted hair will shed between 2 to 6 weeks from the date of the procedure, however you will notice hair growth in about 3-4 months. Since it’s your own natural hair, it will undergo its usual hair growth cycle through its life.

You will be prescribed appropriate after-care treatment including hair care regimen, diet, supplements or medicines as required, by the surgeon for the period post your surgery. These will need to be strictly followed and you will need to have periodic reviews for at least a year after surgery, until the full results can be appreciated. The effectiveness of the procedure becomes fully visible by 12-18 months from the surgery.

We always remind you that, afterall your natural hair. It is hence prone to all that it was susceptible to before you had your hair transplant! Which also means that you will need to pay as much attention and care as always – for both the donor and recipient areas – to maintain overall health and uniform growth!

What are the possible risks or complications of hair transplant surgery?

Hair Transplant is a highly sophisticated yet cost-effective method that’s available today, for regaining hair naturally. It helps men & women gain freedom from baldness, permanently.

Now, the effectiveness of it and the possible risks or complications of it, depends a lot on the consultation process, the key pre-tests carried out, where it is done, which technology is used, whether it’s what is suitable for your particular hair and scalp condition, who the surgeon is and the precautions taken before & after.

The point of risks and complications arise when you haven’t gone through this checklist; when you have perhaps decided in haste about where you getting it done and the surgeon is not qualified enough to give you the expected results. And as mentioned above, the technique used also dictates a lot of these concerns…

Here, we will list out some possible complications. All of these are avoidable, and at the minimum, controllable, with due care and wise choices!

  1. Visible scarring, Pitting – Something that has a lot to with the method of transplant used. Scarring is very common in the old FUT technique, for instance. Advanced methods, such as AHI method, ensure minimal visible scars and tissue trauma.
  2. Unnatural looking hairline – Certain old techniques of hair transplant can’t give you the zig zag natural looking hairline that advanced techs like AHI can give. Such method also avoids pitting. Pitting is basically indents on the skin, along the hairline which can look very odd.
  3. Excessive bleeding – Although this is rare, there are cases where one experiences excessive bleeding. A certain amount of bleeding is expected considering this is a surgery, but excessive bleeding may need additional attention.
  4. Excessive pain – Pain is a common side-effect but can be managed well. Excessive pain however is not expected and needs attention.
  5. Infection / Allergic reactions – The possibilities of catching an infection can be high after any surgery. It is hence that strict after-care precautions are to be followed. Reputed clinics give out thorough instructions on all fronts – before & after. Such reactions may also occur when certain scalp conditions and medical case history has been overlooked during the consultation process. This procedure cannot be undertaken if you are already suffering from certain hair and scalp problems.
  6. Temporary thinning – There is shedding of hair in the first few weeks, as mentioned above. Similarly there is temporary thinning as well that’s expected. This normally corrects itself in time. If it is persistent, then there may be some intervention needed.
  7. Itchy scalp – This again is a common side effect experienced by many. It becomes severe and unbearable only when it is not attended to or when the person is susceptible to an allergy which wasn’t checked on during the pre-tests.
  8. Numbness – This is something that is fairly inevitable after the procedure. The period of numbness can vary however, upto a couple of months. If it persists beyond that, you will need professional intervention.
  9. Inflammation – Swelling is not expected but even if one does have it a reaction, it should ideally go away in a couple of days. This could have to do with a before-precaution not tended to or some element missed during the pre-tests. It will need medical attention if it doesn’t get resolved.
  10. Density not as expected – This is something that happens in many cases, and in our observation, it happens when the expectations are not set right in the first place. Each donor/recipient area is different from other, as with medical case history, lifestyle etc. Multiple factors need to be addressed while setting the mutual expectations ahead of procedure.
    Density also depends on the equipment used, for instance the patented Foli pen and extractor used with AHI technique at RichFeel implants about 60-70 hairs per sq. cm.; way more than with conventional methods – Per sq. cm. density placement is vital for a high-density end-result.

While some of these are side effects, some others are risks. It is important to be clear and aware about what the acceptable side effects are and which risks aren’t worth taking!

How can one avoid these complications?

Let us remind that hair restoration surgery is something that the surgeons master over a period of time, with extensive training and immense practice. The finesse of the results that come about depends a fair deal on the technique and equipment used.

Hence, when you choose the clinic, you will need to ensure that they offer you services that are backed by high medical expertise, a surgeon who has mastered the procedure, best-in-class technology and state-of-the-art operation theatre facilities with great emphasis on hygiene and emergency protocols. It would ideal if the clinic is also well equipped to handle post-operative care, provide guidance in maintaining the overall health of your hair & scalp, ensuring that the end results of the transplant/restoration are satisfactory and as per set expectations.

How much does a hair transplant surgery cost?

Surgical hair transplant continues to be the most cost effective and surefire way to restore natural hair permanently.

The cost of the surgical procedure would however depend on the person getting the transplant done! It would depend on the hair & scalp condition, how the donor and recipient areas are, the method that would suit him/her best and so on. Further, after-care medications will also vary from person to person. The exact cost can be arrived at only after the detailed consultation process with the surgeon.

The reason why cost gets discussed while discussing risks is that many people decide on where they are getting their hair transplant done on the basis of the cost. A very unwise decision. It is not the cost that should dictate your decision but your care, safety and expected long term results, that you should be leaning on.

You ask, how does it matter where I get it done? Seated on a dentist’s chair or an equipped quality operation theatre – it’s ultimately a hair transplant?
Well, we believe we have clarified this in great detail in the paragraphs above.
Where and how you get it done can make ALL the difference for you!

We cannot stress further on how much it matters that you choose the right clinic and people to handle your case! These days you have multiple options in terms of finance, mode of payment, EMIs and so on, to ease the payment process for all. Most clinics give options that make this option viable for even the common man. Compromising safety for cost is not something that we would recommend. It is your health at stake.

Book an appointment with a trichologist to go over all that we have discussed today, any further questions that you may have, have a clear diagnosis of your condition and to understand whether hair transplantation is a suitable choice for you.

Do read our blogs on how hair transplant helps restore hair, what questions you need to ask yourself before going in for the process, the before & after precautions you need to take and more.

With that, we sign off for now! For all things ‘Hair’, do follow our wide variety of blogs on hair loss, hair care, treatments and solutions and interesting hair trivia!

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