Hair Loss Treatment Facts / Hair Transplant FAQs

Hair Transplant FAQ’S

What exactly is hair transplantation?

At Hair Transplants Melbourne we move your hair follicles from one area of the scalp (the safe zone) to another area. We off FUE or FUT which are two different ways of harvesting the follicles from the back and sides of the head. We can do the procedure that best suits you.  The safe zone contains hair roots (follicles) that are not part of hair loss patterns and will regrow permanently when placed in another area. It is not the skin of the hair loss area that is the problem in balding, it is the follicles or roots that are weakened in that area. Follicles from the safe zone will grow in any skin, even scars.

Another person cannot donate hair for transplants, not even a family member because they would be rejected by the body’s immune system.

As soon as the new follicles grow in their new location, they are healthy, normal and active and will continue to grow for the rest of your life. The re-located hair is your hair and grows totally as normal.

What is FUE?

FUE stands for Follicular Unit Extraction (or more recently Excision). This is where the follicle removal is performed one unit at a time with  No stitches, No line scar and minimal pain afterwards. It allows you to cut your hair down to a No. 1 or 2 in the donor area high up the sides due to no line scar. Non-shaven FUE is where we clip only small areas of the back so the hair covers it, meaning we hide the donor area. Our Doctor does the FUE harvesting and is involved in the entire process. Dr Spano has been doing transplants for 14 years personally. Ask your Dr how long he or she personally has been performing the FUE and see the most experienced Dr in Melbourne, Dr Paul Spano.

What is FUT?

FUT stands for Follicular Unit Transplant and is the traditional type of hair transplant where a strip of skin containing the hair is removed and stitched closed. Great for people with curly hair and women who wear their hair longer than a number 4. Great for those with very fine hair. We are one of only a few clinics in Australia that can perform FUT when you need it. The follicle groups are then removed from this strip under a microscope. Hair cuts after this type usually need to be a No. 3 or more in that area which is about 3 cm above the tip of your ear, due to a line scar being left behind. Sometimes this scar is very hard to find.  Most people grow their hair this length in that area anyway so it’s a popular method. The grafts are more custom-made and planted in the usual manner with fine forceps into the recipient sites.

Where do the hair follicles come from?

Most of the time the donor area is at the sides or back of the head where the hair follicles are resistant to thinning.  Even when these follicles are transplanted into a bald area, they preserve their hair growing qualities and do not suffer from the effects of DHT. This area is called the safe zone and is the basis of all permanent hair transplants.

How are things different today, compared to transplants years ago?

Before 2004,  hair transplants were often unnatural  looking. This was because hairs were planted in plugs with about 15-20 hairs per plug. This created a doll’s-head appearance when the surrounding hair was lost subsequently. Today, thanks to state-of-the-art technology with finer instruments and microscopes, grafts are much smaller, between one to 3 hairs and look natural. Hairline design is also better now, we make them with natural little ups and downs and not too even. Its is almost impossible to detect a modern transplant and this is the artistry of the industry that Hair Transplants Melbourne is famous for thanks to Dr Paul Spano.

Does it take a long time?

Hair transplantation is a precise meticulous procedure and a team of very highly trained technicians and the surgeon is required. Most transplants take all or most of the day so we only book one person in at a time, allowing us the flexibility to make your day flow easily with lunch breaks and comfort breaks for you as required. We keep you entertained, comfortable and well fed and often laughing a little. We are all in it together, there is music in the room and you can chat with the staff if you like in between naps.

How many grafts in one session?

With FUT (strip), we can do up to 4000 grafts in one day, that’s enough to cover a totally bald scalp. Common sizes are 1600-2800. With FUE, we are limited to 2000 grafts per day. We limit it to 2000 for a lot of reasons but we find if we rush and try and take more, the results are not as good. We would suggest caution for any clinics offering more than that in one day, the quality may not be there. One graft contains 2 hairs on average, so 2000 grafts is 4000 hairs and so on. Again, some clinics quote on “hairs” and not “grafts”. Generally speaking the best clinics quote in grafts.

How many will I need?

Here is an estimate of grafts needed for a certain area. 

Hairlines and Corners 1400 ($10637) , Front third of scalp 2000 ($14102) Front half 2800 ($17452), Crowns 800 ($6941). Numbers vary depending on your exact donor quality which we measure for you under a video-microscope for accuracy. We do “Bioenhanced” Micro Surgery FUE and FUT with Hypothermasol and ATP for extra growth, FASTER. Hairlines designed with you to suit your particular needs.

Remember one graft has an average 2 hairs in it.

Is there a particular thickness my hair can be transplanted to?

In short, it’s about 70% of its original density. There are clinics that state that they can recover up to 98% and promise a full head of thick hair but this isn’t true.

The good news is that 70% is more than enough to compensate for hair loss because people need to lose more than 25% anyway before they really notice it, so if we give them back 70% they are very happy, thats why it’s so popular. Hair loss patients who visit Hair Transplants Melbourne for FUE or FUT are among the happiest patients in the field of cosmetic surgery. The quality of your donor hair can also influence the result.

How long does it take for my new hair to grow?

The hairs begin to grow at 4 months after being relocated by us. Between 4-6 months there is a large growth spurt so by 6 months about 60% is growing. It takes 12-14 months depending on your hair length for full growth. While it’s growing, it looks totally natural, the hairs grow randomly and are all at different lengths so it’s like hair loss but in reverse. Some of the hairs grow straight away but this varies.

When can I go back to work?

A lot of our patients go back to work the next day. If you have lost most of your hair then you may need a few days off unless you can wear a cap to work. The skin is pink for a week or so but can be covered by surrounding hair, scarfs for women or caps.

Do I need any special care after this transplant?

The new grafts need to be protected for approximately 7 days after the transplant. The scalp can be washed gently the day after the procedure. Hair Transplants Melbourne will give you a full list of do’s and don’ts. Basically, the grafts look after themselves, just no sport so you don’t knock them for a few weeks. Showing daily is advised, without rubbing the scalp , air-travel is ok the next day, other hair can be combed the next day. It’s a lot simpler than people think.

Can I have more transplants later in life ?

Yes. The average woman and man will have two lifetime transplants. It may be one procedure but people like the results and want it thicker, that’s human nature. Minimum time between strip methods is 10 months and FUE is 4 months. Eyebrow transplants often take two or three sessions to complete, about 4 months apart.

The Procedure

During the procedure, stinging occurs during the local anaesthetic injections, lasting several seconds each time. You may experience a mild headache in the afternoon of the procedure. We can give you analgesia for this. If you suffer from low back pain, lying still on the bed sometimes aggravates it. We can assist in posture change and give you analgesia for this.

Bruising

Bruising can occur on the forehead from the local anaesthetic injections and last for a week.

Pain

Pain at the donor area occurs for FUT (strip) surgery. You will require over the counter pain medication and perhaps prescription pain medication for a week or two. Pain is very variable amongst individuals, some can tolerate more than others. Our aim is to keep you as comfortable as possible during the initial healing phase. FUE procedures are far less painful afterwards with many people describing no pain at all. This is one of the advantages of FUE.

Bleeding

Bleeding or spotting can occur from the donor site or recipient site for the first few days or so. This can occur after a shower if the scalp is rubbed or if the scalp is picked or knocked. Mild pressure resolves this.

Infections

Infections in the donor area are rare, approximately 1 in every 100 cases. When this occurs, pain and tenderness is increased and a week of antibiotics are prescribed. The occasional pimple can occur in the recipient area usually 4-6 weeks after the procedure, and these are either popped by you or left alone, or popped by the surgeon during a review appointment.

Swelling

Swelling of the forehead is common and can occur 3 days after the procedure and last for 3 days if there has been a large transplant done at the frontal hairline and front half of scalp. It especially occurs in people who usually swell up after injury. The swelling subsides by itself and there is no treatment for it e.g. ice does not work. The fluid gradually descends down the forehead and in rare severe cases, into the eyelids.

Crusting and Shedding

Crusting and shedding of the exposed piece of the graft occur over the first few weeks. Tiny dry pieces of skin, some containing a tiny hair fragment will shed from the recipient area like dandruff. The hair roots are buried under the skin where they remain. Most grafts will reject the tiny hair that is in place. Crusting of the stitched area occurs and resolves by itself over 4 weeks.

Numbness

Numbness of parts of the scalp are common after FUT for a few months and this resolves by itself. Very rarely does permanent numbness occur. In FUE any numbness is extremely rare. A strip scar can have permanent altered sensation within its borders.

Loss

Loss of whole grafts can occur over the first day or so if for some reason they have popped out of their hole. They cannot be replaced and this is one reason why 100% of grafts don’t survive. Avoiding rubbing or bumping the scalp to reduce this.

Permanent loss

Permanent loss of fine hair in the recipient area. During hair loss, the hairs become finer and finer until they don’t regrow at all. The very fine hairs remaining in the area can be killed by the transplant of surrounding thicker hairs. This does not cause a problem because they were going to fall out anyway and were not providing any real cosmetic coverage in the first place.