Hair restoration is a medical process that relocates healthy hair to balding areas to improve appearance. Healthy hairs are removed with the follicles attached and are surgically implanted in the new location. The implanted hair grows naturally and permanently, able to be styled and cut like any living hair.
In male pattern baldness, the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is responsible for hair loss. Genetic hair follicles on the front and top of the head can fall out as a result of this hormone. Hair that grows on the sides and back of the head is resistant to DHT and will thrive in the new location, eliminating the possibility of baldness recurring.
To be a good candidate for hair restoration, one must have sufficient donor hair and realistic expectations about how much balding can be covered by the amount of donor hair available. The donor hair is removed from various areas of the scalp in such a way as to make the loss of hair unnoticeable. Women also experience hair loss, usually confined to one area of the head. Most women have the advantage of having plenty of donor hair available in relation to the degree of balding.
Many factors go into a successful hair restoration procedure. When completed, it should look completely natural, even from very close up. Restoring a natural hairline is perhaps the most crucial factor in creating the illusion of a natural head of hair. Early hair restoration procedures used coarse hair “plugs” implanted in a straight “line” of hair that resembled doll hair. Today doctors recognize that a hairline is not a straight line.
Hair texture must match the original hair to look natural. In a natural hairline, very fine solitary hairs grow in a slightly staggered pattern in the front of the hairline, leading to thicker hairs further in. Implanted hair follicles must also be oriented so that hairs grow in the right direction with any natural wave or curl growing accordingly and in unison with the implanted and permanent hairs surrounding it.
The process of hair restoration is painless, with patients back at work the following day. A local anesthetic is used to remove strips of healthy hair follicles, the scalp sutured closed. This leaves a thin scar line, covered by hair and undetectable. A local anesthetic is also used at the implant site, an incision is made, and individual grafts implanted.
If interested in hair restoration, look for a reputable clinic with experienced doctors and plenty of referral patients. Prior to the procedure, a candidate will meet with a hair restoration specialist to discuss a restoration plan, hairline placement if applicable, general expectations and cost. Price varies widely depending on the number of grafts required and many other factors.