While tens of millions of men and women suffer from age-related hair loss every year, the increasingly natural results of modern hair transplants have more people than ever before choosing hair transplantation surgery to restore the hair that aging has taken away. Modern hair transplants use real hair taken from other areas of the scalp to rebuild hairlines and fill in bald patches, creating seamless results that look natural because they are natural. With minimal side effects, little to no downtime and truly transformative results, hair transplants have become the hair loss solution for people everywhere.
At Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center, we are proud to offer comprehensive hair transplant services to our patients interested in combating the debilitating effects of genetic hair loss. If thinning or balding hair has had a negative impact on your self-esteem and you are no longer satisfied with the way you look, schedule a consultation with Dr. Bernardino Arocha at our offices located in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Dr. Arocha will sit down with you one-on-one to evaluate your concerns and explain how he and his expert staff can help you regain a thick, youthful head of hair.
Hair Loss 101
Hair grows in a cyclical pattern that consists of four stages: a growing phase, a transition phase, a resting phase and a shedding phase. Hair loss occurs when this natural and repetitive growth cycle becomes impeded by outside forces. For age-related hair loss, otherwise known as genetic hair loss or androgenetic alopecia, the main factor responsible for killing follicles is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a male androgen present in both men and women that slows down and eventually prohibits hair growth through a yet to be understood mechanism.
DHT is thought to bind itself to hair follicles and prevent them from receiving the vital nutrients they need to continue producing hair at a steady rate. Over time, the effects of DHT will cause follicles to shrink and begin growing hair at a slower speed. Hair strands will also become thinner, lighter in color and more brittle as they age, until the follicle stops producing hair altogether. Once hair production has completely ceased, the follicle is dead and can no longer be revived.
While DHT has been discovered as the source of age-related hair loss, experts are still unsure why hair follicles become more sensitive to DHT’s effects as they age. Whatever the case, many modern hair loss treatments and medications focus on blocking the effects of DHT to prevent miniaturization, or the shrinking of hair follicles, from occurring.
The Process Behind Hair Transplants
Hair transplants work by harvesting healthy follicular units—each one containing one to four strands of hair—and transplanting them into balding areas of the scalp. While women tend to suffer from diffuse hair lair loss that occurs across the whole scalp, most men lose hair only on the tops of their heads and will continue to bald to a much greater degree than women. For an unknown reason, follicular units found on the back and sides of the male scalp are resistant to the effects of DHT, unlike those located on the top and front of the head.
Hair transplants take advantage of these DHT-resistant follicular units by relocating them and filling in sections of the scalp whose follicles have since died out. Healthy follicular units that are transplanted to other areas will retain their DHT-resistant properties and continue to produce hair, making them a valuable resource for hair restoration.
Modern Hair Transplant Methods
Hair transplantation surgery is a minimally invasive and highly successful procedure that is undergone by an increasing number of men and women each year. During the procedure, healthy follicles are removed from the back or sides of the head and then implanted along the hairline and on the top of the scalp to recreate a natural appearance using the patient’s real hair. Two main forms of modern hair transplantation surgery exist, both of which are offered at Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT), also referred to as the strip harvesting technique, involves an excision of the scalp and replanting of harvested hair follicles. During the procedure, Dr. Arocha removes a small strip of hair from a predetermined location and stitches the scalp closed. He then dissects the strip to expose the healthy follicular units. Once the follicular units are ready, Dr. Arocha then individually transplants them into the balding areas of the scalp.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is the second form of modern hair transplantation surgery that is becoming more widely used due to its shorter recovery and easier procedure. During FUE, Dr. Arocha uses a handheld punch device to remove each follicular unit individually, allowing him to spread out the harvesting area and avoid making any incisions. The follicular units are then transplanted one-by-one in exactly the same manner as FUT.
Both procedures are completed using local anesthesia and sedation, if necessary. FUT requires an incision and sutures, while FUE does not. FUT typically lasts between four and six hours, while FUE often lasts between two and four hours. The exact length of the procedure will depend on the method chosen and each patient’s desired results, as a larger number of hair transplants will necessitate a longer procedure.
Side Effects and Recovery
The side effects and recovery following both methods of hair transplantation surgery are similar, although FUT requires a longer recovery period and slightly more uncomfortable side effects due to the strip removal. Following either procedure, patients are free to return home immediately and may even begin working the very next day. Most patients decide to take a few days or up to a week off from work and other regular activities, due to the visible side effects and minor discomfort they may experience.
Common side effects include scalp redness, scabbing, swelling and mild pain. Sleeping with an elevated head will help reduce swelling and facilitate a faster recovery. Patients will need to avoid rubbing or touching their scalp while it heals, as the newly-transplanted hair follicles are vulnerable to becoming dislodged during the first few weeks. Dr. Arocha supplies all of his patients with specific post-procedural instructions to help them minimize their side effects and ensure a healthy and successful recovery.
For FUT patients, the scalp excision will take a few weeks to heal over and will leave a linear scar. The scar will be easily hidden among surrounding hair growth, although it may be visible for patients who prefer to keep their hair shorter. For FUE patients, the harvesting sites will heal without prominent scarring, although small dot-shaped discolorations may be barely visible when hair is worn very short. For either procedure, scarring is minimized and will not distract from the natural-looking results.
Hair Transplant Results
Unlike outdated hair transplant procedures that utilized the now infamous “hair plug” technique, FUE and FUT result in hair growth that is completely natural and blends in seamlessly with existing hair. Enjoying the benefits of hair transplants is a process, however, and patients should be prepared to wait several months for new hair growth to begin.
The hair from the newly-transplanted follicles will fall out around two to three weeks after the procedure, which is a normal and expected part of the process. The follicles will then enter a resting period as they continue to heal and settle into their new locations. After about three to six months, the transplanted follicles will start producing hair for the first time, although it will not truly become visible until about the nine-month mark. Final results will take between 12 to 18 months to fully develop as all of the transplanted follicles begin producing hair all at once.
While the new hair growth from hair transplants will continue to be unaffected by the process of aging, the pre-existing follicles around them will not and may continue to die off. In order to experience a lifetime of results, Dr. Arocha recommends that his hair transplant patients take advantage of other forms of hair loss treatment, including Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to enjoy thick hair well into the future.
Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center
If aging and genetic hair loss have stripped you of your hair and left you feeling unhappy with the way you look, then hair transplants may still be able to provide you with the full head of hair and self-confidence you once had. At Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center, Dr. Arocha proudly offers his patients life-changing results and an exceptional level of care.
To determine if you may be a good candidate for hair transplants, call us today at 713-526-HAIR or 713-526-4247 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Arocha. With locations in the Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas, we look forward to providing you with the latest in hair loss treatments.