What's It Like: To get a hair transplant

When someone experiences hair loss, he or she might suffer from decreased self esteem. A hair transplant can potentially help increase self confidence.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: September 2, 2012

Why get hair transplants?

A hair transplant generally involves taking healthy hair and placing it in an area on the scalp with noticeable hair loss.

When someone experiences hair loss, he or she might suffer from decreased self esteem. A hair transplant can potentially help increase self confidence. You should keep in mind that a hair transplant will not create new hair.

Both men and women experience hair loss. It's generally associated with age and genetics, although that's not the case in all hair loss.

What happens when you get hair transplants?

Before your transplant, your doctor will assess how much hair loss you've had, how much hair is available for the transplant and the quality of that hair, how much hair you will potentially lose in the future, the color contrast of the transplanted hair and the body wave of your hair.

You and your doctor will discuss what pattern would work best for your hair transplant. You should discuss with your doctor what your expectations should be for the transplant. Also, it's important to understand how much the procedure will cost and whether you can anticipate wanting additional hair transplants.

The technique each doctor uses will vary from practice to practice. Some doctors use what's known as follicular unit grafts.

During a follicular unit graft procedure, you will most likely be awake for your hair transplant. The doctor will use an anesthetic to numb the area where he or she is working.

To start the transplant, your doctor will take a strip of hair from the back of your head. This area of your head generally has healthy hair that hasn't been affected by dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that can cause hair to deteriorate. This means that hair transplanted from this area shouldn't be affected by the hormone that likely caused you to lose hair in the first place.

The doctor will stitch the back of your head where the donor site is back together to ensure the best healing. Next, the doctor will place the strip of hair under a microscope and divide it into hair grafts. These grafts are made up of one to three follicle units.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, medicine and fitness, among other things. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a news-editorial and broadcast production degree. Outside of work, she enjoys riding her bike, taking pictures of...
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