Hair Transplants for Women
Natural Hair Replacement Surgery
Choosing this option gives you permanent growing hair that looks natural and healthy. That’s because with this process, your own hair is replaced one follicle at a time, and the source of this hair is the most natural possible—your own hair!
Most patients become bald gradually over years. Natural hair replacement surgery counteracts the balding as it progresses. If baldness is already extensive, natural follicular unit grafting helps you catch up quickly and can cover large areas of baldness.
Some of the older techniques of hair restoration that you might be familiar with (plugs, minigrafts, and micrografts) involved taking relatively large areas of hair from the donor site and transplanting them to the recipient site in big clusters. This often resulted in an artificial-looking “cornrow” effect.
Using the latest technique, microscopic follicular unit grafting, Dr. Griffin will help you achieve the most natural-looking coverage possible. Patients can be comforted in knowing that with this technique, the final results are nearly undetectable to anyone that surgery has been performed.
Dr. Griffin uses the latest techniques for hair restoration, including microscopic follicular unit grafting and follicular unit extraction(FUE) with NeoGraft.
Hair Transplantation by Microscope-Assisted Follicular Grafting
The most natural appearance is the ultimate goal in hair replacement surgery. In the fifty years since hair transplantation procedures began, such techniques as plugs, minigrafts, and micrografts attempted to meet this goal, but often were not the successful. Using the latest microscope-assisted follicular grafting, a natural appearance is now achieved by making follicular unit grafts, containing one or more hairs each.
Donor hair follicles are harvested from a non-balding area on the scalp (the side or back of the head). The hairs in these areas are genetically coded to remain intact throughout one’s lifetime and avoid the genetic pattern loss that occurs on the front, top, and crown of the scalp. Therefore, when transplanted to balding areas of the scalp, these follicles will continue to be naturally resistant to the hormone that stimulates hair loss.
Once the donor strip of hair has been taken, the individual follicular units containing one to four hairs are surgically separated with the assistance of a sophisticated binocular microscope, a process Dr. Griffin has refined over the last several years. The grafts are then submerged into a chilled solution, which allows for maximum viability of follicles as they await placement into their recipient sites. This is the exact fluid used in organ donation, after the organ has been removed from the donor and is awaiting the recipient.
The hair follicles are then placed in tiny, custom sized incisions in bald or thinning areas. The delicate, less coarse hairs harvested from the sides of the scalp are selected for the frontal hairline. Only the most delicate one-haired grafts are used to recreate a soft natural hairline. Progressing back from the hairline, the two-hair units are intermingled with the threes, and the three-hair units are mixed with the occasional four-haired grafts. This progression allows a more gradual, natural hairline rather than the straight, unnatural hairline that often resulted from older hair restoration procedures. When properly placed and angled, these miniature grafts work together to create a soft, natural look.
The new follicles consistently begin to grow hair within just two to four months after the procedure. The transplanted hair follicles will grow with the same color, texture, curl, or straightness as the hair from which the donor follicles were harvested. The final density of the transplanted hair depends on the original density of the donor hair as well as the number of grafts placed in each session.
This more advanced microscopic technique requires twice the time and staff as other hair restoration procedures, but patients who have benefited from this procedure agree that the natural-looking results are worth it.
Each patient has an initial examination and consultation with Dr. Griffin to determine the best hair replacement strategy. During this private consultation, you discuss the
- extent of hair loss
- hair and scalp characteristics
- density of hair in the donor area
- family history of hair loss
- age-specific considerations
Most importantly, we will discuss your goals.
After reviewing all treatment options, Dr. Griffin will then propose a replacement plan specific for you. He will make sure that all of your questions are answered and that you are comfortable with the treatment plan. At this time we will also determine the cost for the procedure that you have chosen, and the number of procedures that may be necessary.
Between two to four weeks before the date of surgery, each patient will have a pre-operative visit. At this time we will work with you to
- Complete surgical consent forms
- Take a blood sample for pre-operative lab work
- Confirm the surgical treatment plan
- Discuss pre-operative and post-operative instructions
- Discuss the need to have a designated driver on the day of surgery
- Review prescription medication that you will need for pre- and post-op care
- Confirm method of payment for the procedure
The Day of Surgery
Upon arrival you will once again confirm the surgical treatment plan with Dr. Griffin before any sedation is administered. We will then provide you some medication to help you relax. This will consist of both an intramuscular and an oral sedative. As you relax or sleep, your scalp will be numbed with a local anesthetic. The numbing will be repeated as required throughout the procedure to alleviate any possible discomfort. A long lasting local anesthetic will be administered again at the end of the procedure to keep you comfortable at home as well.
The Surgical Procedure Itself
The procedure begins with Dr. Griffin removing a donor strip of hair and tissue approximately 8 millimeters wide from the donor site (either the side or back of the head). The length of the donor strip is dependent upon how much hair is necessary to cover the areas of bald scalp. This process is called “single strip harvesting” and is performed with absolute precision to ensure that the integrity and viability of all possible hair follicles is maintained. The area from which this strip is taken is then closed with surgical staples. The donor site will be inconspicuous, as your existing hair will comb over and cover it.
Dr. Griffin’s team of highly experienced technicians will then dissect the strip using microscopic magnification to create the follicular unit grafts. The tissue is kept chilled in a solution that has been formulated for optimum storage until they are placed into the custom sized recipient openings.
Then, Dr. Griffin will individually prepare the recipient location for each new hair. The grafts are separated into one, two, and three hair grafts, and graded from the most delicate to coarse. Immediately following the recipient openings, the transplantation of the prepared grafts begins.
During the procedure you will be lying on a comfortable bed listening to music, sleeping, or snacking as you choose. Dr. Griffin and his staff are committed to providing you the highest level of comfort.
Dr. Griffin’s meticulous process ensures that each individual hair is selected and placed into each recipient opening based on your hair restoration requirements.
After the procedure, Dr. Griffin and his staff will review the post-operative care plan with your designated driver. You will also receive a “goodie bag” containing aftercare products to help with your post-operative care.
On the day following surgery you will return to Dr. Griffin’s office for your first post-operative appointment. At this visit your hair will be shampooed and Dr. Griffin will examine your scalp. We will also review your after-care instructions with you for the next week.
One week after surgery, you will visit Dr. Griffin again in order to have staples removed from the donor site. You will be provided with a topical numbing cream that you will apply to the donor area one hour prior to this appointment to ensure the most comfort possible in removing the staples. At this visit we will discuss any additional questions that you might have regarding post-operative care or the re-growth of your new hair.
The recovery time is minimal for hair transplantation—usually patients can return to work within two to four days of the surgery date. Mild crusting over the grafted areas is usually resolved within seven days.
The grafted hairs in the recipient area may shed following the procedure, and new hair will begin to grow back within two to four months. If you have been a regular user of Rogaine®, less hair loss is noted and growth begins sooner. Some patients are alarmed when the hair in the recipient area begins to fall out, but this shedding is normal and leads to the re-growth of the new hair in the desired area. Once the new growth begins, the new hair will grow at the normal rate of approximately one centimeter (a little less than half an inch) per month.
Who Is A Candidate?
Anyone who has experienced hair loss, has adequate donor hair to be transplanted, and is in general good health is a candidate for this safe office procedure. Genetic hair loss is by far the most frequent reason for both men and women to seek hair transplantation. However, an increasing number of patients with hair loss from other causes (scars from accidents, burns, or cosmetic procedures—particularly facelifts) are also requesting hair transplantation as a solution to their problem.
The ultimate result is to obtain healthy, natural-looking hair growth in thin, balding, or bald areas. The final density of the hair depends on several factors: the original density and texture of the donor hair, the number of hair transplantation sessions, and the number of grafts placed in each session. If necessary, additional sessions can be performed ten to twelve months after the previous session.
Possible Risks and Complications
During your initial consultation, Dr. Griffin will discuss whether you are an ideal candidate for the procedure, the risks associated with the procedure, and the long term plan specific for your treatment. Among the known risks are bruising, swelling, scarring, and postoperative bleeding. Any surgical procedure may have some degree of risk. Occasionally, minor complications that do not affect the final results may occur.
Other Surgical Options
Follicular unit extraction is a procedure in which the tiny donor follicular bundles are carefully extracted one by one from the donor area. The bundles are then dissected into smaller grafts, if necessary, under microscopes by our skilled team of technicians. The donor grafts are then placed into the recipient balding areas using the custom-sized openings that Dr. Griffin has created. This very specialized procedure minimizes the donor scarring by making tiny circular openings instead of a linear scar.
Scalp reductions provide a special benefit to patients with extensive balding areas. This procedure surgically removes bald skin, moving it upward and lifting the hair-bearing skin, while reducing the amount of bald skin requiring grafts. During your initial consultation Dr. Griffin will determine your eligibility for these specialized procedures.
Hair replacement procedures are considered cosmetic, and therefore, are generally not covered by insurance. Rarely, special circumstances, such as an injury from a traumatic accident, will allow coverage by insurance. The patient is responsible for payment two weeks prior to surgery.