How it is done
The hair on the back and the sides of the head of a balding person lack hormone receptors, and hence they do not fall, said skin and hair expert Vaishali Kirane. These parts of a balding scalp are used to induce hair growth on the bald parts through surgery.
There are two to three types of hair implant techniques, but the most common is follicular strip excision where a strip of the scalp with hair from the back or side of the head is excised, and then dissected into slivers. These slivers are further dissected into several follicular units that comprise a thin bunch of hair each.
“This is a highly intricate and time-consuming process done under a stereoscopic microscope, that has very high magnifying power,” said Kirane.
The treatment, that involves around four to five hours in a one-time sitting, leads to treating of an area the size of a palm. “Subsequent treatment or sittings happen after nine months, in which the remaining untreated part of the bald portion of the patient’s head can be treated,” says Kirane. There’s a word of caution, though. “Re-growth of implanted hair does not induce thicker hair growth in general, because natural hair growth depends on the patient’s genetic make-up,” said Kirane.
The implanted hair falls off after three to four weeks, post-surgery. “The hair begins to start growing after that at an average rate of a centimetre every month. Full hair growth can be seen after ten to 12 months of the surgery. On an average around 70 to 80 per cent of the transplanted hair give way to actual re-growth,” said hair transplant expert Narendra Patwardhan.
Popular misconceptions about post-surgery include the fear of losing transplanted hair. “Patients have to be re-assured that with proper maintenance and care, the success of hair re-growth is between 85 to 95%,” said Kirane.