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Microfollicular Hair Transplantation

Incorrectly called “male pattern baldness,” hair loss is a common problem faced by 70 percent of American adult men and up to 37 percent of postmenopausal women.  In spite of many hoped-for remedies, the only effective way to restore hair is to move live hair follicles from the densely covered sides and back of the head to the balding region.  In recent years, new surgical techniques have enabled doctors to offer a refined treatment that mimics the hair’s normal growth patterns to create a natural looking hairline that is virtually indistinguishable from a normal hairline.  Microfollicular transplants allow finely detailed transplants that grow at the natural angle and direction and can even be performed to restore eyebrows.  For the first time, it is possible for many people to regain a full, completely natural looking head of hair and youthful eyebrows without scarring or pitting or telltale signs of earlier hair transplant techniques.    

Skill of the surgeon is the most critical element of microfollicular hair transplantation.  As a board-certified facial plastic and reconstruction surgeon trained in the latest techniques, Dr. Sykes offers the expertise needed to ensure success.  Surgical skill combined with extensive experience offer patients an excellent opportunity to reverse baldness with lasting results.

In your case
A consultation and individual assessment with Dr. Sykes is the first step to correct hair loss from the scalp or eyebrows.  The doctor will determine the extent of treatment needed and whether your goals can be accomplished in a single transplant, or will require two or more sessions, spaced at least three months apart.  All patients will see a dramatic improvement after a single transplant, but more than one treatment is often necessary for patients with well-progressed baldness who want to achieve fullness. 

What to expect
You will be put under sedation during the transplant and will awaken when the procedure is complete.  The surgeon will remove a strip of hair follicles from the back of the head or above and behind the ear.  The doctor closes the donor site with sutures, separates the strip into small, naturally occurring groupings, and places these follicular units containing one to four hairs along your hairline or eyebrow line.  Using a special implant device that creates a minute opening, the doctor places the hair follicles so that they grow in the proper direction. 
By placing individual follicle units along the hairline, patients achieve a natural look, rather than a straight row of hair that looks out of place.  Behind the presenting hairline, the doctor can place slightly larger sections of hair follicles to provide greater coverage. Because the incisions are so tiny, healing is fast and scarring is avoided.  Also, since donor hair is used sparingly, less hair is needed from the donor site. 

When finished, the doctor will bandage your scalp to protect against infection and follicle loss.  You will return the following day to have the bandage removed and receive instructions on caring for your scalp during the healing process. 

Results
Using this technique, almost all transplanted follicles settle into their new sites and begin regrowth in 30 to 90 days.  For greater fullness, the transplant process can be repeated after 90 days, though the results achieved after the first procedure are natural enough to be undetectable to the untrained eye.  Studies show that the biochemical process that caused the original hair follicles to stop producing does not affect the newly transplanted hair follicles.  Results can be considered permanent, though some hair loss is expected as aging advances. 

Microfollicular Hair Transplantation Fast Facts
The following are general guidelines only.  Variations are common.

Surgery length:

From two hours for eyebrows to up to six hours for full scalp

Location:

Office or hospital outpatient surgery suite

Anesthesia:

Light sedation, patient is asleep during surgery

Dressings:

Bandage for first 24 hours, removed at post-surgery visit the following day

Pain & discomfort:

Minimal pain and discomfort, possibly requiring pain medication for a few days

Swelling & bruising:

Little or no bruising and minor swelling, resolving within a few days  

Suture removal:

Dissolvable sutures at donor site, no sutures used at transplant site

Return to work:

One to two weeks

Resume exercise:

Two weeks for gentle exercise, six weeks for strenuous exercise

Initial results:

Immediate, though hair growth of transplanted follicles takes between 30 to 90 days 

Final results:  

Within a few weeks

Permanence: 

Permanent, affected by ongoing aging

 

Jonathan M. Sykes, MD
Professor/Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
UCDavis Medical Group
2521 Stockton Blvd., Suite 6206
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2347
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