Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on hair restoration
We have collected below a number of common questions, and answers, regarding baldness and hair replacement treatments. No matter whether you are male or female, please press the question you need answered and you will be taken directly to the appropriate answer. Remember, you can book your free initial consultation with our 'A Word with the Doctor' form or even ask a more personal question.
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What causes baldness?
Most male baldness is the result of an inherited characteristic in certain hair follicles. This leads to the follicles becoming sensitive to the presence of scalp hormone dihydrotestosterone. In the years after puberty, these follicles become weaker and die prematurely. The gene causing this problem may be inherited from either side of the family, but certain other factors may retard or speed up the effects of this gene.
Sometimes, scalp diseases may also lead to hair loss.
What can be done about hair loss and baldness?
You need to have your scalp examined by Dr Knudsen to determine the cause of your hair loss. As mentioned, there are many scalp diseases which lead to hair loss, some of which have no cure at present. Fortunately these conditions are rare and represent only about 1% of the patients we see.
Patients with early male baldness generally respond well to the oral medication Finasteride. The topical medication Minoxidil is also known to be reasonably effective in the early stages of hair loss for both males and females. More advanced degrees of hair loss may require surgery.
What exactly is a Modern Hair Transplant?
Healthy hair follicles are removed from the rear or sides of the scalp, where hair is at its thickest and implanted into new sites prepared in the bald area. In the case of thinning hair, these sites are located between the remaining hairs.
The technique of varying the size and density of the grafts is the reason why your hair line and hair growth will so closely resemble natural hair growth.
During you consultation, Dr Knudsen will discuss the most appropriate technique for your condition.
Can all types of baldness be helped by surgery?
Both male and female hereditary baldness can benefit greatly from modern hair transplant surgery. It is also used for treating baldness caused by accidents, burns and certain skin diseases.
Increasingly, transplants have also been used to conceal scarring following facelifts and other scalp surgery.
How long does it take for the new hair to start growing?
Transplanted hair is usually shed within 3-4 weeks. New hair growth is then generally visible after about 6 months and continues to grow at about 1 cm per month thereafter to produce full results at 12 months. Please note that some hairs take longer to regrow than others.
Why does hair taken from a donor site continue to grow when transplanted into a bald scalp?
Every hair on your body has its own distinctive and inherited life cycle and these characteristics are not altered by transplantation to new sites. Some hairs are predetermined to fall out prematurely while in other regions the follicles produce hairs of a more permanent variety. Hair follicles at the back of the head are not sensitive to the effects of dihydrotestosterone, which is why they continue to grow strongly.
Is the new hair permanent?
The new hair will grow strongly for many years, but there will be some thinning and greying with age, just as there is with normal healthy hair.
Will the operation damage my remaining hair?
You may notice a slight increase in hair loss in the recipient area for a few weeks after surgery. Most of these hairs will regrow within 6-8 months but in a very small number of individuals the loss is permanent and further transplants will be required to replace these hairs.
Is hair transplantation painful?
The operation is performed comfortably under local anaesthesia and preliminary mild sedation. Some patients find that the suture line is tender for a week or two, but most patients find that the experience is no worse than a routine dental procedure.
How is the new front hairline created?
As this is a very important aspect of hair transplantation, it will be discussed at your initial consultation and also on the day of your operation. Factors which influence the placement of the new hairline are age, head shape, personal preference and the availability of remaining hair.
What should I do before an operation?
A comprehensive, pre-operative instruction sheet will be sent to you. In short, you should not consume alcoholic drinks for 24 hours prior to your procedure. Similarly, you are not to take aspirin containing drugs in the seven days before attending surgery. Herbal preparation Gingko Biloba and Vitamin E tablets should be also be ceased 1 week beforehand. Any medication your family doctor may have prescribed for you must be mentioned to Dr. Knudsen as well.
Fasting is not necessary and you are advised to eat normally and on the morning of your procedure you must shampoo your hair.
How long does an operation take?
Operations take between one and eight hours, depending on the number of grafts you are to receive. It is recommended that you remain a further 30 minutes after the operation, during which time refreshments will be provided. We further strongly recommend that you do not drive immediately after your operation. We suggest that you arrange transport with a friend, or if required, we can call a taxi for you.
What happens after an operation?
Patients leave without bandages. Please note that your scalp will be a little tender for several days.
Post-operative information will be given to you containing full instructions.
Will there be any scarring?
As with any skin surgery, faint scars may be detected on very close inspection. This is generally less of a problem with hair transplantation, as the new hair growth conceals any residual marks.
In the donor region any faint scar is generally well hidden by your surrounding hair.
Are there any complications likely from this procedure?
In our experience, post-operative complications have been infrequent and never serious. The most common condition we have discovered is some swelling and occasional bruising around the forehead and eyelids on the third day, which may last for up to a week. We recommend using ice for the first 48hours to prevent this.
Occasionally, the glands behind the ears become a little enlarged and tender for a few days, but this settles without treatment. Parts of your scalp may remain numb for some time after each operation due to temporary interference with the nerves in this area. Infection is extremely unusual and responds rapidly to antibiotics.
Is there any risk of catching HIV (AIDS) or Hepatitis during the operation?
No. The operation is completely safe. All needles and blades are discarded after use and instruments are pressure sterilized, just as they are in a surgery room in a hospital.
Will I need to take time off work?
Many patients are able to resume work the next day and perform light sporting activities within one week. We do recommend that vigorous sports such as football, water skiing and weight lifting should be discontinued for at least two weeks. Should you require time off work to recuperate, Dr Knudsen will be able to provide you with a certificate. You may choose to schedule part of your holidays to coincide with the procedure.
How many visits will be necessary?
This will depend on the size of the area to be covered and the type of procedure involved. Up to 3000 grafts can be performed in one procedure.
What are the costs of hair related surgery?
This will depend on the number and size of procedure required. Dr Knudsen will discuss these in detail with you at the time of your first appointment, outlining the full facts to help you make your decision.
A deposit is required at least three (3) weeks before surgery and final payment should be made on the day of your procedure.