The following outline describes in the most general of terms an approximate step by step guide of a hair transplant procedure. Each hair transplant doctor and clinic has their own exact method of performing the procedure which may differ from the most basic of explanations below.
- Blood Tests
- Anesthestize the donor area and recipient area.
- Extraction of the donor strip/Suture donor area
- Dividing the strip into follicular units.
- Implanting the follicular units.
Post operative care
After your consultation with the hair transplant doctor whereby the amount of grafts and recipient areas are discussed and mapped out, most doctors require a simple blood test before the procedure even begins.
When your blood tests come back from the lab, the hair transplant clinic can begin your procedure.A full service surgery room is not needed for a hair transplant. Most clinics will offer you a valium 30 to 60 minutes before the actual procedure begins. This will help to relax you before the surgery and calm your nerves. Using a local anesthesia, the doctor will numb the recipient area and donor area. This is where the pain comes in. Some clinics like to describe this anesthesia shot as a "mild discomfort" on their websites, but the truth is - it hurts like hell. The good news is the pain quickly goes away once the lidocaine takes affect. At HCI, anesthesia is given using a high-tech computerized device that ensures painless anesthesia delivery.
The next step in the procedure is the removal of the donor strip. (See the hair transplant diagram below). This strip can measure approximately, on average, 1-1.5cm wide and be 15-20 cm or more in length.
In order to remove the donor strip from the back of your head, you will have to lay down on your stomach. Your head will rest on a special head rest with a vacant area for your face to fit through. Once the doctor has removed the strip, trained technicians or nurses will begin dividing the strip into follicular unit hair grafts with the aid of a microscope like goggles. While the division and counting is being done, the doctor will suture the scalp of your donor area back together. Following the suturing of your donor area, you will move from laying on your stomach to comfortably reclining on your back in the surgery chair. At this point, the doctor will begin preparing your hair loss affected area (recipient area for hair grafts) for the follicular unit hair grafts to be implanted. This step involves making tiny incisions with a surgical instruments in the recipient area. These tiny incisions is where your scalp will receive the new grafts of hair. At HCI, Dr. Nasir uses his patented instruments for making these tiny incision. His technique ensures a much greater density compared to conventional hair transplant practices.
Often, a hair transplant team will work together - one making the recipient incision while the other implants the new grafts. It's during this step in the hair transplant process that the experience and care of the doctor are most needed. The pattern in which the grafts are implanted must appear natural and care is taken by the doctor to insure blood flow to the new grafts. Your hair transplant doctor will be looking at your recipient incisions and must invision in his mind how the hair will look as it grows in over the next 12 months. Depending on the number of grafts you are having implanted (mega sessions of 2,500 grafts are not uncommon) the entire surgery can take 3-5-10 hours. Once your procedure is finished, your doctor will advise you on how to care for your newly implanted grafts over the next few days. Keep in mind, in all cases of hair transplantation, the newly inserted grafts will "scab" as they heal and fall out in seven to 14 days. However, do not worry for your new hair will go into the normal hair growth cyle and in about 3-6 and sometimes up to 12 months later, new and permanent hair will grow in it's place. Until the scabs heal and fall out, you may want to plan on wearing a loose fitting ball cap to cover the hair graft scabs when in public. If you don't want anyone to notice your scabs at all - you may want to plan on wearing that hat for 7 to 14 days. Normal physical activities can be resumed 24 hours after surgery. You will not have to spend the night in the hospital for a hair transplant surgery. Following the procedure, your doctor will mostly likely prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection, a mild steroid (prednisone) to decrease swelling - and a mild pain killer. The hardest part of the entire procedure may not be the actual surgery itself, but waiting for the new grafts to grow where there was once baldness. If you have ever tried "watching the grass grow" - you might understand the patience required.