- Procedure time: 7-10 hours
- Recovery time: 2-3 weeks
- Surgery type: Outpatient (In-office)
What is a Hair Transplant?
During a hair transplant operation, hair follicles are harvested from an area of abundance (typically the back of the scalp) and transplanted into part of the scalp that has undergone hair loss or thinning. Although this procedure has been around in some form for the past 50 years, it has truly been perfected over the past decade. The ultimate goal is to restore the hairline and increase density in a natural and permanent way. Approximately 50% of people will undergo some form of hair loss over the course of their lifetime. For many of us, this loss can be very distressing and effect our confidence in social and professional settings. Fortunately, we are now able to offer a reliable, safe, and natural way of restoring hair that lasts a lifetime.
How is it Performed?
There are two forms of hair transplantation that Dr. Gadaleta performs: FUT or the follicular strip method and FUE or follicular unit extraction.
The strip method involves removing a strip of hair-bearing scalp from the back of the head. The incision is then closed immediately, leaving behind a thin scar that is covered by the surround hair. The strip is then divided by the surgeon’s team into individual follicles. Generally, a single strip can yield anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 follicles, each containing between 1-4 individual hairs. The follicular units are then transplanted into the area of scalp that is to be restored. The number of follicles needed is based on Dr. Gadaleta’s initial assessment and the size of the area that is to be reconstructed.
Follicular unit extraction differs in that instead of a strip being removed from the back of the head, each follicular unit is removed individually with a specialized instrument.This requires that the back of the scalp is shaved prior to surgery. Once the follicles have been harvested, they are then implanted in a similar fashion as the strip method. The back of the scalp will heal with small dots, which areconcealed by the surrounding hair.
Ultimately, the result is the same between the two methods. During your consultation, Dr. Gadaleta will recommend the procedure that is best suited for you.
The bulk of the recovery occurs within the first 3 weeks following surgery. Patients will often note some swelling in the forehead due to the numbing medication used to make the procedure comfortable. If the strip method was used, a horizontal scar will run along the back of the scalp. Sutures from this incision are removed 7 to 10 days after surgery. If the follicular unit extraction method was performed, there will be no sutures to remove. In either case, a headwrap will be placed for the first night after surgery and removed the following day. The transplanted follicles will be exposed to air and require saline spray to keep them moist throughout the initial phase of healing.
Many patients feel uncomfortable the first few days following surgery; however, severe pain is uncommon. Hats may be worn in public within 3 days of surgery. By 10 days, the majority of swelling has resolved, and most patients will feel comfortable participating in lighter social activities.
When will I start seeing results?
Once the hairs have been transplanted, they undergo a period of “shock loss.” This means that the small hairs shed within the first few weeks. They will then undergo new hair growth that becomes more apparent by 6 months after surgery. The final resultsdevelop over the course of a year.
Will my results look natural?
Many patients are concerned that hair transplantation will leave them with unnatural results. We hear the words “hair transplant” and instantly visualize the plugs that were used in the 80’s and even into the 90’s. This outdated technique relied on removing small areas of scalp, typically 4 mm punches containing 16-20 hairs, and then transplanting them into balding areas of the scalp. This left patients with patchy areas of high-density restoration surrounded by bare scalp, which is instantly recognized as unnatural by the casual observer. In the late 1980’s, a scientist discovered that hair grows in natural clusters of 1-4, which we now refer to as “follicular units”. This was truly the breakthrough moment for hair restoration surgery.
Today, hair transplant relies on follicular unit transfer. It is meticulous work, but extremely rewarding for both patients and providers. Each follicular unit must be isolated and then transplanted into its own recipient site that is carefully designed to be a perfect fit. As a hair transplant specialist, Dr. Gadaleta uses his knowledge of the field combined with his artistic eye to create a hairline that is natural and appropriate for his patients.
Hair Transplant Photos
Schedule a Hair Transplant Consultation
Reach out today to schedule a hair transplant consultation in Palo Alto, San Mateo or Los Gatos with Dr. Dominick Gadaleta. As a board-certified Los Gatos facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Gadaleta’s practice focuses exclusively on surgery of the face and neck. Please contact us using the form below, or call the office most convenient to you.