Hair Restoration Surgery, Reawakening Your Tresses

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Hair Restoration Surgery, Reawakening Your Tresses
July 27
05:50 2016

As women, we covet beautiful, luscious locks—and for good reason. A full head of cascading ringlets, bouncy waves or pin straight strands is associated with health and vitality, and is intimately tied to our femininity. We all want thick hair, but not everyone is blessed with voluminous tresses—and some women have to work with far less than that.

Hair grafting surgery can be a blessing for women who are self-conscious about thinning hair. Dr. Victor Hasson, a hair restoration surgeon at Hasson & Wong Aesthetic Hair Surgery in Vancouver, said that women come into his clinic after they have been battling with thinning hair for some time and are unable to cover it up anymore. He mentioned that hair grafting is the only way to replace hair follicles that have died.

“It’s important to know that there are all kinds of hair loss that are amenable to hair transplant surgery,” explained Dr. Hasson. “When we see them [the patient], that’s when we’re able to determine if they can be helped, or if there are things that need to be done, or can be done.”

Dr. Hasson noted that hair grafting surgery can treat certain types of thinning, but not others. If someone has diffuse thinning, for example, meaning that they have thin hair all over the scalp, there is no possibility of fixing that with surgery. In such cases, Dr. Hasson said that a patient would need to see their physician, who would then run some tests on them and would look for problems in their health, which are responsible for making the hair thin throughout the scalp.

“The people that we’re able to help are either women that have male pattern type hair loss or even a female pattern hair loss,” clarified Dr. Hasson. “In those situations, they haven’t lost hair everywhere, they’ve just lost it in certain areas.”

Women can experience male pattern hair loss, as well as female pattern hair loss, explained Dr. Hasson. Male pattern hair loss is the kind of hair loss that most people are used to seeing in men, which is when the frontal hair line recedes and an individual gets the formation of a bald spot at the back of their head that gets bigger over time. Dr. Hasson mentioned that it is rarer for women to go bald than men, and this can take a toll on women who suffer from hair loss.

Hair Restoration Surgery, Reawakening Your Tresses

Hair Restoration Surgery, Reawakening Your Tresses

“I would say that it’s definitely tougher on our female patients when they have hair loss than our male patients. And it does have psychological repercussions, ” added Dr. Hasson.

Dr. Hasson explained that with hair grafting surgery, hair is taken from either the back or the side of a patient’s head where there is usually permanent hair and then placed in the thinning or balding areas. A thin strip of scalp is cut up along the back, and that little strip of scalp is removed and then sewn back together or closed with staples.

Dr. John Gillespie, a hair restoration surgeon at the Gillespie Clinic in Calgary, expanded on the rejuvenation procedure.

“The most common method involves taking a strip of skin about a half an inch wide by about six inches long. The strip of skin is removed, the incision is stitched up, it leaves a very fine scar. The strip of skin is then placed under microscopes, cut up into 1000 or 1500 pieces, and each of these pieces has one to four hair follicles. The tiny pieces are then placed into 1500 tiny little holes, and that’s where the grafts are.”

According to Dr. Gillespie, the hairs will shed after a week or two, and they will start to grow back after three months and will likely remain permanent on the top of the head, because the hair from the area where the skin is taken is permanent hair.

“Once the hair has grown in, it’s just like your own hair, we just moved the follicles, basically, relocated them,” added Dr. Hasson.

For the first few days after the surgery, patients will come back to the clinic to have their hair washed and to make sure that everything is fine, explained Dr. Hasson.

It takes around two weeks before a patient can go back to work. Sometimes, the surgeon has to shave the area that is being worked on if it’s not completely bald; and in these cases, patients will either wear a hairpiece or style their hair differently to cover up where they had the surgery. After about six months after the surgery, the area looks good and the patient can go out wearing any hairstyle that they want, noted Dr. Hasson.

Risks associated with hair grafting surgery are rare, said Dr. Hasson, but there is a small possibility of infection or a slightly wide scar post-procedure.

Dr. Gillespie said that most patients are exceedingly pleased with the results and coverage, but that it is important that a patient understands that the procedure won’t give a patient back the type of hair that they had in their prime.

“One procedure might give them 25 per cent volume compared to what they had when they were a teenager. So, if they are almost bald now, 25 per cent coverage may satisfy their needs. Two procedures might give them up to about 50 per cent coverage, but most women who are quite thin on top don’t have excellent donor areas, so one has to always be cautious and always be realistic, and explain expectations carefully,” emphasized Dr. Gillespie.

Dr. Hasson agreed.

“If somebody has a plentiful supply of hair in the donor area, then we usually can get good coverage,” he commented. “But, in general, it’s not something that we are able to get back to exactly the way it was before they had hair loss. So, there’s coverage, but there’s also going to be some kind of compromise.”

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