Hair loss treatment vs hair loss procedure
If you’re currently on the look-out for a treatment to alleviate your hair loss concerns, you now have a full range of procedural options at your disposal. Notably, this will either come in the form of a surgical procedure such as a hair transplant, or alternatively, a treatment-based procedure that utilises cutting-edge solutions such as medication, PRP, or stem cell injections.
With each hair loss treatment coming with its own pros and cons, knowing which option to go with can be a daunting task. With that being said, we have compiled a brief breakdown of what your options are and how they compare.
In reading it, you stand the best chance possible of choosing the right hair loss treatment for you. However, don’t forget that you will still need to consult with a hair loss specialist to ascertain which treatment is best for your individual circumstances.
Procedures – Hair transplant
If you’re looking for a procedural solution to your hair loss concerns in its truest form, then you might want to consider a conventional hair transplant. In its most basic form, the hair transplant procedure will see a specialist doctor remove hair follicles from one area of the scalp, and subsequently re-position the follicles to areas of the scalp that requires regrowth.
However, it is important to note that there are two different manners in which the hair transplant procedure can be performed. Notably, this includes a Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUE) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
If the surgeon opts for a FUT, they will start the procedure by cutting out a small strip of skin from the back of your scalp by using a scalpel. This will incorporate within it the hair follicles that will be transplanted at a later stage.Once the skin has been removed, the surgeon will then close the affected areas with stitches while the hair follicles on the excised skin are being prepared for implantation. Although this method might sound more invasive, the success of this surgery is higher than the other type. Also, clients opting for this method are encouraged not to shave their hair for the procedure and many see this as a big plus during their recovery process.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
The second option available to the surgeon is the FUE method. In a nutshell, the FUE process requires a lot more precision from the surgeon, not least because they will initially seek to cut the hair follicles from the back of the head by punching thousands of ultra-small incisions. This method is beneficial for those clients who usually carry a shaved hairstyle and for those who do not have a large area to cover.
The next step?
The difference between the two methods lies only in the way the hairs are taken from the back of the head. The actual implantation of the grafts is the same for both options as will be explained next.
After the initial step of follicle harvesting, the surgeon will then proceed to place the previously removed hair follicles into small holes in and around the area of the scalp that requires growth. Due to the sheer number of incisions made to the patient, the surgeon will likely need to cover the scalp with a bandage or gauze, which will remain in place for a one night.
The following day, you will need to return to the clinic to be re-assessed and have all the bandages are removed. Following this, you would be given all the information needed on how to care for the newly implanted hair follicles.
Hair transplants: The fundamentals?
Irrespective of whether you opt for FUT or FUE, the hair transplant procedure might need to be repeated more than once. This is usually the case in people who have a large area to cover as there is a limited number of grafts one can take in each session.
Furthermore, after each hair transplant treatment process that you go through, you’ll likely need to take a few days off work to recover. The length of this would be discussed with you during the consultation phaseYour scalp is likely to feel somewhat sore, so the doctor will suggest that you take over-the-counter painkillers for a few days. Irrespective of this, you will also need or be covered by an antibiotic to prevent infections in the operated area.
It is also worth noting that it is not uncommon for the newly transplanted hair to fall out within 6 weeks post-surgery. This is completely normal, as it allows new hair follicles to restart the growing process. The new hair will be then visible after 4 months from the date of surgery.
Hair loss treatment
At the other end of the hair loss solution spectrum, patients can instead opt for a range of treatments if they do not want to go for the hair transplant route.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the main options available.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment is now one of the most widely utilised hair loss solutions in the world, and a great alternative to hair transplants. In fact, not only is PRP used to stimulate hair growth, but it can also be used to treat wrinkles and fractured bones. Nevertheless, the overarching concept of PRP is that the specialist will strive to separate the patient’s blood sample with the view of extracting the PRP-rich cells.
These PRP-rich cells have the ability to promote hair regrowth, not least because they are rich in protein. In terms of the hair loss treatment process itself, the specialist will initially draw some blood from the patient’s arm. Next, they’ll then place the blood into a Centrifuge machine – which after performing a rapid spinning motion for around 10 minutes, will separate the PRP-rich cells from the rest of the blood sample.
Finally, the specialist will then inject the PRP-rich blood cells into the patient’s scalp using very fine needles specifically designed for this treatment. The intended results will be visible after around 6 weeks.
Stem cell injections
Although the indication of stem cell therapy is somewhat similar to that of the PRP treatment, there are some clear differences which need to be pointed out.
Firstly, the patient will have a small skin sample removed from their body – typically in fat-containing areas such as the abdomen or hips.
Next, this small skin sample will then be harvested and replicated in lab conditions. The idea is to remove the much sought after stem cells from the patient’s fat sample. It has been discovered that when injected in high concentrations, these stem cells have the ability to amplify hair growth.
Once the stem cell extraction process has been completed, the specialist will then inject them into the patient’s scalp in the same manner as in the PRP process.
It is important to note that stem cell injections are still a relatively new breakthrough in cosmetic and surgical science, which is why the process is often regarded as ‘revolutionary’.
Hair Loss Medications
The final option that you have at your disposal to treat your hair loss woes is that of medication. At the time of writing, the two most commonly used medical treatments for hair loss is that of Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia).
Regarding the former, this is actually an over-the-counter medication, and it can be used by both men and women. Application of Minoxidil will initially see the patient lose hair, which then allows the hair restoration process to begin. In most cases, it is advised to continue Minoxidil treatment for at least 6 months.
Regarding Finasteride, this is typically taken as a pill and it can have the desired effect of slowing down hair loss for men. Nevertheless, the potential effects of hormone imbalance need to be discussed with the specialist before starting the treatment.