A hair transplant is a minimally invasive procedure that involves harvesting hair grafts that are genetically resistant to balding from a donor area (usually in the nape/posterior of scalp) and re-implanting them to a bald area or an area with lower hair density. Hair transplant is experiencing rising popularity because of the recent advances of technology, guaranteeing permanent results and relatively shorter healing time than the traditional techniques used earlier. However, because hair transplant is essentially the art of applying hair and scalp anatomy from an aesthetic perspective, obtaining the desired results makes the skills of the surgeon performing the surgery key to its success. Here at ClinMedica, we perform both the FUE and DHI techniques, the latest breakthroughs in the science of hair transplant, in order to help you safely restore your locks with the least surgical intervention. Compliant with the Turkish Ministry of Health (T.C. Sağlık Bakanlığı) and international health regulations, ClinMedica offers you a wonderful experience and a safe hair transplant procedure in completely equipped operation rooms under the hands of a skilled team of experts.
What is FUE hair transplant?
Although there are different types of hair restoration techniques available, the FUE is the safest and most advanced of all. The majority of hair transplant methods come with some common side effects, including large noticeable scars and slower healing in the donor area. What distinguishes FUE, or Follicular Unit Extraction, is its method of graft extraction.
In FUE, grafts are extracted as individual follicular units, rather than strip tissue grafts, reducing pain and scarring and making healing a lot faster than it is in other hair transplant techniques. FUE is especially recommended for potential patients who have a higher risk of scarring, such as those with very loose or tight scalps, younger patients, athletic or very muscular patients.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
After the expected number of grafts needed to cover the recipient area and the number of possible grafts that could be harvested is determined in the doctor’s consultation, the hair in the donor area or the site from where the grafts are taken is pre-trimmed so that the surgeon can visualize the scalp clearly. Next, the donor area is prepared and the preliminary drawing of the recipient and donor areas and hairline are clearly established with the agreement of the patient. Local anaesthesia is applied on the donor area directly before the operation.
In the FUE technique, follicular units containing 1-4 hairs are extracted using a specialized instrument that works like a punch, in order to create tiny circular incisions around each follicular unit with a diameter of less than 1 mm squared. As individual hair follicles are removed in this process, only tiny punctuate marks are going to remain. With no stitches required and no risk of scarring, it usually takes 7-8 days for the donor area to heal. It is possible to extract approximately 4000-6000 follicles per day, but this will be determined by the structure of the person’s donor area.
After the required number of grafts needed has been extracted, the follicular units are stored in a special solution to maintain their vitality and hydration outside the body. Correct storage is extremely crucial in this phase. The number of grafts is calculated and anesthesia is applied to the recipient area before the implantation phase.
Using a fine instrument, small recipient channels are made for the extracted grafts. The final appearance relies on the depth, angle and distribution of the channels. The follicles are subsequently implanted with extreme precision into the channels where they will start growing again. The exterior hair shafts are expected to fall in the course of 3-4 weeks, but the healthy roots will produce hair at the same pace they did previously. On the second and third month, the hair begins to grow, and in the sixth month the results will be satisfactory. However, at the end of the first year, the hair transplant produces its final results. The operation is usually performed in one session which takes from 6 to 8 hours.
Why choose FUE?
- FUE doesn’t involve cutting and stitching of the scalp
Whereas traditional hair transplant techniques mainly require a linear strip of tissue from the scalp to be removed and dissected, FUE only involves the harvesting of the desired grafts one-by-one, leaving other parts of the scalp completely intact, preventing scarring, and maintaining the appearance of the donor area.
- FUE allows restricted hair transplant
FUE offers the ability to extract a restricted amount of grafts if you only need hair transplant in any localized area such as: cheeks, beard, goatee, sideburns or mustache or in areas where hair loss is minimal. In fact, this technique is commonly used to enhance eyelashes and eyebrows as well.
- FUE has comparatively less downtime
If you hate the idea of staying bed-ridden for a few weeks or can’t afford to take a week off from work, choosing the FUE hair transplant will allow you to resume your activities normally directly after the operation. While it is possible to wear a hat to cover the treated scalp, it is advisable to avoid wearing wigs or any other hair pieces for several weeks following the surgery.
Common side effects
By using punches, which are really small in diameter, the Follicular Unit Extraction method includes the removal of individual follicular units that mainly contain up to 4 hairs. Because of the smaller diameter of the incision used in this technique of hair transplant, shorter recovery is possible. In most of the cases, patients completely heal within 7-8 days. Some likely side effects that in most cases include:
- Shock loss
The exterior shafts of transplanted hair may fall off in the first 3-4 weeks after the operation. However, the implanted roots will continue to produce healthy follicles.
- Itching, swelling and discomfort
Following the operation, the donor area or the forehead of the patients can experience some swelling, itchiness, or discomfort.
Although it depends on your skin’s reaction, scarring is unlikely to occur in the FUE technique. Thanks to the small diameter of the incisions made, scarring will be hardly noticeable and will progressively heal in the first few weeks.
Although hair transplant is a relatively simple operation, there are some cases in which it is highly inadvisable:
- Cardiovascular diseases.
- Diabetes with uncontrolled blood glucose level.
- Blood-borne viruses, such as HIV or hepatitis C.
- Lack or absence of donor area in the back of the scalp.
Frequently asked questions
Does hair transplant guarantee lifetime results?
If the cause of hair loss is genetic, such as Androgenic Alopecia or male pattern baldness, the hair follicles implanted in the recipient area are genetically resistant to baldness, they will continue to follow the same genetic pattern regardless of their location.
Will hair transplant have a natural appearance?
The results of hair transplant highly depend on the skill of the surgeon and the quality of instruments used. As long as the angle, density, and quality of the hair implanted correspond to a natural hair growth pattern, it will appear natural. ClinMedica is one of the leading hair transplant clinics in Istanbul. The operations are performed using the latest technologies, by the hands of the best hair transplant doctors in Turkey. All our doctors are certified from the American gold standard in hair transplant and plastic surgery, JCI-USA to ensure high quality results.
What is DHI hair transplantat method?
The DHI, Direct Hair Transplant, is a procedures where channels are opened and the grafts are implanted simultaneously using an implanter called CHOI pen to ensure the channels will match the implanted follicles. Although it varies from person to person, this method is commonly used for those under the age of 40. According to the Norwood scale, the DHI method will produce better results for patients with a hair loss rate between 2, 3 and 4. The FUE method shall give better results for patients with a hair loss rate between 5, 6, and 7.
What is the difference between FUE method and DHI method in terms of results and hair density?
There is no difference between the two methods in terms of the results and hair density, as it is possible to implant the same number of follicles using both techniques as long as they do not exceed 50 follicles per cm². The only difference between is that DHI skips the channel opening phase.
N.B. it is a common misconception that either technique offers better results. The results depend solely on the surgeon, instruments, and quality of the patient’s hair and muscular structure.
What are sapphire blades (Sapphire FUE)?
While hair transplant has evolved dramatically over the years, new devices and technologies continue to make this operation easier and more effective. Sapphire blades are the latest addition to the FUE technique. After usual extraction is carried out, the channels are opened using sapphire pens, which eliminate any irritation or scab formation in the recipient area, leading to faster healing and less discomfort. Owing to the smaller incision made, tissue recovery is a lot faster than in classic techniques. Minimizing pain and the risk of complications, sapphire blades provide a safe and effective operation. In fact, thanks to their smooth surface, they also guarantee extreme accuracy of follicle inclination and therefore achieve better, more natural results in comparison to steel blades.
Can women also undergo hair transplant surgery?
Hair loss is mistakenly thought to be a strictly male disease, but actually, women account for up to 40% of hair loss sufferers. There is no difference between the techniques used for males and those used for females. However, it is recommended that females run more tests to determine the cause of their hair loss.