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What is Involved in a Hair Graft?

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  • Written By: Kaiser Castro
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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Commonly dubbed as a hair transplant or scalp transplant, hair grafts involve removing areas with hair and transplanting it to sparse areas on the head. A visit to the doctor, a comprehensive hair consultation, selecting the right type of hair graft procedure, and follow up appointments make up the process of receiving hair grafts. Individuals who desire hair graft surgery tend to be male with localized balding around the crown of the head. Candidates who have healthy amounts of hair on the back and sides of their heads tend to be good candidates for a hair transplant.

The initial step in receiving a hair transplant is to have a consultation with a doctor who specializes in cosmetic hair procedures. A consultation at a clinic or hospital will allow the doctor and patient to collaborate, making sure that needs and expectations are met. The comprehensive hair consultation will consist of checking the overall health of the hair and scalp to enable the doctor to effectively plan a course of action.

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There are many types of hair graft procedures, with follicular unit grafts being a more natural option than other types of grafts. A follicular unit graft consists of removing a single follicle consisting of two to three hairs and transplanting it to balding areas. Hair plugs are another form of transplanting hair, where the doctor removes groups of 10 to 20 hairs at a time. This type of hair graft is considered inferior when compared to follicular unit grafts.

Once the type of graft is selected, an anesthesiologist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area. Some doctors will skip the anesthesia, depending on the type of graft that will be used. The patient can usually request anesthesia before the procedure starts.

A surgical tool will then be used to harvest the donor strip for it to be applied to balding areas. The doctor will remove skin with the accompanying hairs from the side of the head. This graft will then be cut into small, individual sections for it to be transplanted onto balding areas. The harvested areas are sutured shut, allowing them to heal and regrow.

After the surgery, the doctor may prescribe mild pain killers for slight pain. A follow-up visit a few weeks after the surgery will usually be required. Regular visits will allow the doctor to check if the hair grafts are being rejected or not, as well as to make sure that the hair is growing.

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