Hair transplant procedures have been in practice since the late 1930s. Back then, a technique called “The Hair Plug” came onto the scene. To conduct a hair plug transplant, doctors took out large punch grafts (full thickness plugs of skin that can be harvested and implanted) wherein dozens of donor hairs were prepared for the recipient area. The problem with punch grafts was that the donors came in clusters or bunches. These clusters, once implanted, looked a little too much like doll hair for modern science—and its patients—to be happy with.
Over the passing of years, field advancements brought us the follicular unit transplant, which is the process of removing donors from in back of the scalp in strips of 1 to 4 hairs, then implanting them in the patient’s balding area. This technique, while effective, tended to leave “strip scarring” behind, requiring patients to grow their healthy hair longer in order to conceal them. Most ladies who suffer from pattern baldness are encouraged to forgo the procedure in favor of something even more modern.
Something like an FUE transplant for women. Pioneered in 1988, follicular unit extraction is performed by the harvesting of donor hairs individually, not in clusters or strips. This means less scarring or no scarring at all. It also amounts to faster recovery times and overall more convincing results. So the answer to the above question is a resounding yes. Women can most certainly get a hair transplant. The journey it takes them on is similar to the one men travel. Similar, but not quite the same. Below is a look at what ladies who seek out the procedure can expect to expect.
One hurdle women have with hair transplants comes in the form of donor hair; or rather, a lack thereof. Female pattern baldness tends to affect both the top and sides of the head, leaving few healthy donor hairs for doctors to use. This is one of the issues that will be examined at a clinic’s consultation. After a physical exam, the doctor will let his or her patient know straight out whether she is a good candidate for a hair transplant.
The doctor will also want to know what’s causing the hair loss. Genetics remain the number one culprit, but stress, diet, and even pulling pony-tails or braids too tight can also be catalysts for women. If surgery is not necessary, other methods will be recommended. If surgery is something the patient can benefit from, read on…
Not all women with thinning hair suffer from female pattern hair loss. Indeed, she may have male pattern hair loss, in which case donor hairs from the back and sides of her head would be more readily available. Other conditions that a female hair transplant can treat include:
- The congenital elevated hairline
- Hair loss due to trauma
In any case, the doctor will likely use FUE to conduct the surgery. Most clinics use a local anesthesia, so the patient feels very little or no pain. Surgery takes anywhere between 4 and 10 hours, depending on the level of hair loss in question.
After the procedure
Swelling of the face and/or around the eyes is very common after transplant surgery, especially during the first week. Sometimes it can be accompanied by mild to moderate pain; for this, the doctor will likely recommend paracetamol. Try to avoid painkillers that contain blood thinning agents, as these will make it more difficult for the donor area to heal.
Also during that first week, female hair transplant patients may be asked to wash their hair with warm water and baby shampoo only. Cascading water, such as from a shower tap, should be avoided during this time.
Full recovery from a hair transplant takes anywhere from 12 to 14 months. Well before then, the changes will be noticeable. After just 14 days the pain and swelling should be completely gone or nearly so. The patient will also see hair growing in both the donor and recipient areas.
Every patient is different. Some women will experience more pain than others. Some women will complete the recovery process in just 10 months; others can take over a year. When it comes to hair transplants, probably the biggest obstacle for women is the lack of stable donor hair. Because of this, only about 4% of women who suffer from thinning hair make good candidates for transplant surgery. But if her condition is of the type that leaves enough donor hair for surgeons to use, then a female hair transplant may be just the right option to choose.
Article Submitted By Community Writer