This website is intended to provide you with general information only. This information is not a substitute for advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and does not contain all the known facts about this procedure or every possible side effect of surgery. It is important that you speak to your surgeon before deciding to undergo surgery. If you are not sure about the benefits, risks and limitations of treatment, or anything else relating to your procedure, ask your surgeon to explain. Patient information provided as part of this website is evidence-based, and sourced from a range of reputable information providers including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Better Health Channel and Mi-tec medical publishing.
Hair loss is primarily caused by a combination of ageing, a change in hormones, and a family history of baldness. Hair loss can affect both men and women. As a rule, the earlier hair loss begins, the more severe the baldness will become. Hair loss can also be caused by burns or trauma.
Baldness is often blamed on poor circulation to the scalp, vitamin deficiencies, dandruff, and even excessive hat-wearing. All of these theories have been disproven. It's also untrue that hair loss can be determined by looking at your maternal grandfather, or that men who still have their hair by forty years of age will never lose it.
Hair replacement surgery incorporates a range of transplant techniques to restore hair fullness. Transplant techniques, such as punch grafts, mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts, and strip grafts are generally performed on patients who desire a more modest change in hair fullness. Flaps, tissue-expansion and scalp-reduction are procedures that are usually more appropriate for patients who desire a more dramatic change. Sometimes, two or more techniques are used to achieve the best results
All hair replacement techniques use existing hair to achieve the optimal outcome. Grafts and flaps with healthy hair growth are taken from a donor area and relocated to a bald or thinning area. The result is hair growth in a previously affected area.
Hair replacement surgery is an individualised procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Specialist Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.
Before you decide to undergo hair replacement surgery, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Hair replacement surgery may be a good option for you if:
You are a non-smoker or have stopped smoking
Hair replacement surgery is usually performed under a local anaesthesia with sedation. General anaesthesia may be used for more complex cases involving tissue expansion or flaps.
Modern anaesthesia is safe and effective, but does have some risks. Ask your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and anaesthetist for more information. Your surgeon and/or anaesthetist will ask you about all the medications you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have. Make sure you have an up to date list before the surgery.
Modern surgery is generally safe but does have the potential for risks and complications to occur.
Some potential risks and complications associated with hair replacement surgery include:
Hair replacement surgery is usually performed in an accredited day surgery.
Before undergoing surgery, it is important that you:
You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history for your Specialist Plastic Surgeon including any health problems you have had, any medication you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have.
You may be advised to stop taking certain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and medicines that contain aspirin. You may also be asked to stop taking naturopathic substances such as garlic, ginkgo, ginseng and St John’s Wort as they may affect clotting and anaesthesia. Always tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you are taking.
You may be given medicines to take before the surgery, such as antibiotics.
Your surgeon will also advise you if any other tests are required, such as blood tests, X-ray examinations or an Electrocardiograph (ECG) to assess your heart
Prepare a “recovery area” in your home. This may include pillows, ice packs, a thermometer and a telephone within easy reach. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to drive you to and from the hospital or clinic. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home.
Your surgeon should give detailed preoperative instructions. Follow them carefully.
Following your surgery, it is normal to feel some aching, swelling excessive tightness, or throbbing around the surgery site. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will prescribe pain medication if required.
If bandages are used, they will usually be removed one day later. You may gently wash your hair within two days following surgery. Any stitches will be removed after a week.
Avoid vigorous exercise and contact sports until otherwise advised by your surgeon. Strenuous activity increases blood flow to the scalp and may cause your transplants or incisions to bleed.
If you experience any bleeding, unusual symptoms or sever pain, contact you surgeon immediately.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care. These instructions may include:
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period, such as:
Depending on the extent of the procedure, some patients may require further treatment to attain the desired outcome. Revisional surgery may also be necessary to correct any irregularities.
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices for individual procedures can vary widely between Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office.
Costs associated with the procedure may include:
Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.
Visit the Plastic Surgery Glossary for more medical terms.