Hair Restoration in Florida
Aging and stress can affect our entire head, causing hair to thin and fall out. This may make you feel self-conscious. Hair restoration or transplantation involves removing small pieces of hair-bearing scalp grafts from a donor site and relocating them to a bald or thinning area.
What is Hair Restoration?
Both men and women suffer from hair loss. Baldness is often blamed on poor circulation to the scalp, vitamin deficiencies, dandruff and even excessive hat wearing. All of these theories have been disproved.
Hair loss is primarily caused by a combination of:
- Change in hormones
- Family history of baldness
Restoring hair through hair transplantation can enhance your appearance and make you feel more comfortable.
Surgical hair transplantation techniques include punch grafts, mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts and strip grafts for a more modest change in hair fullness. Flaps, tissue expansion, and scalp reduction procedures are best for patients who desire a more dramatic change.
Hair loss can also be caused by burns or trauma, in which case hair replacement surgery is considered a reconstructive treatment and may be covered by health insurance.
The Art of Natural Looking Hair with Hair Restoration
Generally, the earlier a patient begins to lose their hair, the more severe the baldness will become. All hair restoration procedures use the patient’s own hair. This ensures a natural blending as the hair follicles are repositioned on the head. Using mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts and strip grafts for less intensive patients can efficiently use your current hair to reduce areas of balding.
Benefits of Hair Restoration
There are a number of techniques used in hair replacement surgery. Sometimes, two or more techniques are used to achieve the best results. Donor areas are the places on the head from which grafts and flaps are taken. Other factors, such as hair color, texture and waviness or curliness may also affect the cosmetic result. Ultimately, by using your own hair, you can achieve a natural look that complements your natural appearance.
Your doctor will take great care in removing and the placement of grafts to ensure that the transplanted hair will grow in a natural direction and that hair growth at the donor site is not adversely affected.
Is Hair Restoration Right For Me?
Before you decide to have hair restoration treatments, discuss your expectations with your surgeon. You might be a good candidate for hair restoration if you have hair loss or balding in one or more areas on your head.
If you and your doctor have determined that hair transplants are the best option for you, you can feel comfortable knowing that board-certified plastic surgeons have been successfully performing this type of procedure for more than 30 years.
Elements of a Hair Restoration Procedure
There are several techniques used for hair restoration procedures, depending on the needs of the patient. All procedures utilize the removal of healthy hair follicles from a donor site on the scalp and the implantation of those follicles in the balding area.
Hair transplantation techniques, such as punch grafts, mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts and strip grafts are generally performed on patients who desire a more modest change in hair fullness. Flaps, tissue expansion, and scalp reduction are procedures that are usually more appropriate for patients who desire a more dramatic change.
There are several types of grafting techniques. Mini or micro-grafts are generated by removing small sections of hair from a donor area of thicker, healthy hair growth. Small areas are punched out from the bald section to create an implant site for the graft. Your surgeon may alternately decide to slice out tiny sections of healthy hair follicles to insert into slits in the scalp.
To maintain healthy circulation, the surgeon will place the grafts 1/8 of an inch apart. This will help the individual grafts to heal and remain secure in the scalp. Sized from several hairs to groups of 50 hairs, these grafts are then attached to the scalp. The scalp is then carefully closed with sutures concealed within the surrounding hair.
The number of large plugs transplanted in the first session varies with each individual, but the average is about 50. For mini-grafts or micro-grafts, the number can be up to 700 per session.
Flap surgery on the scalp has been performed successfully for more than 20 years. This procedure is capable of quickly covering large areas of baldness and is customized for each individual patient. The size of the flap and its placement are largely dependent upon the patient’s goals and needs. One flap can do the work of 350 or more punch grafts.
A section of bald scalp is cut out, and a flap of hair-bearing skin is lifted off the surface while still attached at one end. The hair-bearing flap is brought into its new position and sewn into place while remaining “tethered” to its original blood supply. As you heal, you’ll notice that the scar is camouflaged – or at least obscured – by relocated hair, which grows to the very edge of the incision.
In recent years, plastic surgeons have made significant advances in flap techniques, combining flap surgery and scalp reduction for better coverage of the crown; or with tissue expansion, to provide better frontal coverage and a more natural hairline.
This technique is sometimes referred to as advancement flap surgery because sections of hair-bearing scalp are pulled forward or “advanced” to fill in a bald crown.
Scalp reduction is for coverage of bald areas at the top and back of the head. It’s not beneficial for coverage of the frontal hairline. After the scalp is injected with a local anesthetic, a segment of bald scalp is removed. The pattern of the section of removed scalp varies widely, depending on the patient’s goals. If a large amount of coverage is needed, doctors commonly remove a segment of the scalp in an inverted Y-shape. Excisions may also be shaped like a U, a pointed oval or some other figure.
The skin surrounding this cutout area is loosened and pulled so that the sections of the hair-bearing scalp can be brought together and closed with stitches. It’s likely that you’ll feel a strong tugging and discomfort.
Plastic surgeons are the leaders in tissue expansion, a procedure commonly used in reconstructive surgery to repair burn wounds and injuries with significant skin loss. Its application in hair replacement surgery has yielded dramatic results and significant coverage in a relatively short amount of time.
In this technique, a balloon-like device called a tissue expander is inserted beneath hair-bearing scalp that lies next to a bald area. The device is gradually inflated with salt water over a period of weeks, causing the skin to expand and grow new skin cells. This causes a bulge beneath the hair-bearing scalp, especially after several weeks.
When the skin beneath the hair has stretched enough – usually about two months after the first operation – another procedure is performed to bring the expanded skin over to cover the adjacent bald area.
How Involved Is The Hair Restoration Procedure?
It’s important to understand that all hair replacement techniques use your existing hair. The goal of surgery is to find the most efficient use for existing hair. After the grafting session is complete, the scalp will be cleansed and covered with gauze. You may have to wear a pressure bandage for a day or two. Some doctors allow their patients to recover bandage-free.
Generally, patients find multiple sessions are required to achieve the optimal result. It will be beneficial to have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. It may also be helpful to have extra help the first night after your procedure.
How Long Is the Recovery After Hair Restoration Procedure?
How you feel after surgery depends on the extent and complexity of the procedure. If bandages are used, they will usually be removed within a day. You may gently wash your hair within two days following surgery. Any stitches will be removed within one week to 10 days. Your surgeon will provide care instructions, as well as what to watch for after your procedure.
Be prepared to take it easy for a few days and limit vigorous activity for several weeks after your treatment. After a few days, you may be ready to return to work and resume light activities, with strenuous activity resuming after three to four weeks. Some doctors also advise that sexual activity be avoided for at least 10 days after surgery.
You will likely schedule several follow-up appointments during the first month to ensure your incisions are healing properly. It’s important that you carefully follow any advice you receive at these follow-up visits.
Many patients who have had transplants (plugs or other grafts) are dismayed to find that their “new” hair falls out within six weeks after surgery. Remember, this condition is normal and almost always temporary. After hair falls out, it will take another five to six weeks before hair growth resumes. You can expect about a half inch of growth per month.
How Much Does a Hair Restoration Procedure Cost?
Prices will vary based on your individual case. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will provide you with additional information during your consultation. The cost for your procedure may not include fees for anesthesia, facility fees or other costs. Your surgeon’s fee will vary depending on experience, the type of procedure scheduled and geographic location.
Many plastic surgeons offer payment and financing options for patients. Be sure to ask your surgeon’s office for more information.
Questions To Ask Your Hair Restoration Surgeon
During your consultation, be sure to discuss your goals and expectations with your surgeon. Open; honest communication will help to ensure your procedure is a success and that you are prepared for the outcome.
Some additional questions to ask your doctor include:
- How many procedures of this type have you performed?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What incision sites and placement sites are recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my surgery?
- Do you have before and after photos I can look at for each procedure and what results are reasonable for me?
What Should I Do Next?
The first and most important thing to do is to select a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) that you can trust. ASPS surgeons meet rigorous standards. They are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery® (ABPS), and each surgeon completes, at least, six years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of three years of plastic surgery residency training.
Other standards required for ABPS surgeons includes:
- Pass comprehensive oral and written exams
- Graduate from an accredited medical school
- Complete continuing medical education, including patient safety, each year
- Perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified surgical facilities
Do not be confused by other official sounding boards and certifications. The ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which has approved medical specialty boards since 1934. There is no ABMS recognized certifying board with “cosmetic surgery” in its name.
By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you can be assured that you are choosing a qualified, highly trained plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the ABPS.
If you are suffering from balding or hair loss, consider hair replacement therapy by a board-certified plastic surgeon.