One of the most common cosmetic concerns for men is male-pattern baldness. Men with receding hairlines and balding can become self-conscious about their appearance, but, fortunately, recent developments in hair restoration procedures can end this problem using your own natural hair.
If you’re interested in a hair restoration procedure to correct your hair loss, you may be wondering what happens next and what to expect leading up to and on the day of the procedure.
In this guide, we’ll give you some advice and tips that will be helpful in preparing for your hair restoration procedure. Learn more about the science behind hair restoration and what you can expect from the procedure, from the consultation to post-operative care.
What is Hair Restoration?
Each strand of hair grows from a hair follicle. It is often called a follicular unit. The follicle can grow one to three strands of hair–occasionally even 4 or 5. Hair restoration is the process by which areas of thinning or even absent hair, are replenished or replaced by the transplantation of multiple hair follicles. The typical donor zone of hair follicles lies on the back of a man’s head, from ear to ear. For reasons we still do not understand, the balding man is often left with a thick zone of hair that is resistant to aging and the detrimental effects of testosterone and its metabolite–dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Whenever these resistant hair follicles can be obtained, preserved and transplanted, it creates a natural look for replacing thinning hair.
In traditional hair restoration, a strip of hair from the donor zone back or sides, where it tends to be thicker and more abundant, is removed. The site of the strip harvest is sewn or stapled closed. Eventually this leaves a long linear scar–hopefully hidden by nearby unharvested hair. The harvested strip of skin is segmented into individual grafts that are then placed where the hair is bald or thinning. Hundreds of individual follicular units are arranged with microscopic precision to match the patterns of natural hair growth.
Rather than leave a painful and unsightly scar at the harvest sight, Dr. Simon employs a minimally invasive technique to harvest individual follicular units. By harvesting these units one at a time, a process known as individual follicle unit extraction (FUE), the hundreds and sometimes thousands of individual follicles can be harvested leaving no visible linear scar. In previous years, the harvest was limited to several hundred grafts in a given day because of the slow and tedious nature or harvesting individual grafts.
Today, at Vegas Valley Hair Restoration, NEOGRAFT technology allows for the harvesting of 1500 to 2000 individual follicle units within hours. When planned, even 2500 to 3000 grafts may be harvested with NEOGRAFT FUE technology and reimplanted to the desired areas in a single day. These individually harvested grafts are transplanted to the desired recipient sites, thickening or replacing the areas of baldness and thinning hair. Over time, the implanted hair grows, creating dense, thick and natural hair growth.
The first step in a hair restoration procedure is the professional consultation. During this appointment, your doctor will give you an overview of the procedure and explain the process in depth. He or she will gather important medical information from you, such as your medical history and current medications. Your doctor should have before-and-after photos and can discuss the specifics of treatment for your unique hair type, pattern of hair loss and desired results.
Your doctor will also discuss which medications are safe to continue taking and what ones should be stopped. Your doctor will also inform you which substances to avoid during your hair restoration process, such as alcohol and nicotine. Your doctor will likely also give you a list of recommended vitamins and supplements.
If you have any questions about your upcoming procedure, this is the time to ask them. While hair restoration is safe and minimally-invasive, it’s still a surgical procedure, so it’s important that you’re completely aware of the process and expectations.
Weeks Leading Up to Your Procedure
One to two weeks before your hair restoration procedure, your doctor or his staff will contact you to discuss the instructions for the day of surgery and answer any remaining questions you may have. It’s important to make note of this information to be sure that you’re fully prepared for your procedure.
You will be asked to adhere to the following:
- Take vitamin C as instructed to boost the immune system.
- Stop using nicotine, including cigars, cigarettes, nicotine gum, nicotine patches, electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Nicotine restricts the blood vessels and impacts the healing process.
- Stop using alcohol, including wine, liquor and beer. Alcohol thins the blood and can create complications.
You will be asked to arrange a ride from a family member or friend to drive you home following the procedure. A mild sedative is used, so it won’t be safe for you to drive yourself. You will be given a general timeframe for the preparation and the procedure, but it’s important to stay flexible with time.
The Morning of Your Procedure
On the morning of your planned procedure, you are welcome to shower, brush your teeth and go about the rest of your morning routine. It is important to avoid using hair products like gel, hair spray or conditioner. You may be asked to use Hibiclens soap just once as a shampoo.
You are encouraged to eat a light breakfast. Patients do better with something in their stomach. SInce general anesthesia is NOT to used, there is no reason for the patient to be fasting after midnight.
The procedure will be done with local anesthetics, so you’ll be reclined and relaxed throughout. Many patients bring music to listen to and pass the time. We make music of the patient’s choice available to them so they do not have to bring their own device.
Oral sedatives, (typically Valium), are prescribed in advance and you are expected to bring your medicines to the office on the day of the procedure. Your doctor will advise you when to take any such medications. This is particularly important for patients who have difficulty sitting for long periods or who are feeling anxiety about the procedure.
Following Your Procedure
The recovery time from hair restoration is minimal. Typically, patients are free to return to work within two to four days after the procedure, and though there may be some mild scabbing, it usually only lasts seven to ten days. Some patients experience mild redness for a few days as well. It’s important to avoid any strenuous activity in the week following surgery. Going to the guym is a no-no until cleared by your doctor.
Patients can also experience mild insomnia following the procedure, due to the change in sleep position. Your head must be elevated by two to three pillows for the first 2 nights, which can be an uncomfortable sleeping position for some.
New hair grafts may experience a shedding period for two to three weeks following the procedure. New hair growth can be expected after three to four months.
Learn More About Hair Restoration Procedures at Vegas Valley Vein Institute
Hair restoration is a natural, permanent solution to male-pattern baldness and thinning hair. While it may seem like a simple idea, the natural patterns and orientation of hair growth, along with the placement and quality of the hairline, shouldn’t be left up to just anyone. This is as much an art as a science, so finding a qualified hair restoration specialist who can give you the most realistic and aesthetically-pleasing results is essential.
If you are considering a hair restoration procedure, Dr. Simon and the team at Vegas Valley Hair Restoration can help. Dr. Simon will be happy to meet with you for a free initial consultation to discuss your options and suitability for hair restoration. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation!