Dr. Laris recalls the concerns that patients typically have about hair transplants.
When I consult with patients about hair transplantation they want to know how long is the procedure going to take? Exactly what kind of pain they are going to go through, and what it’s going to be like afterwards?
As far as length of time it depends how many grafts we are going to do in a procedure. Each session will be bearing in accordance the amount of hair the woman has lost.
So a small session, maybe 400 or 500 grafts will take us two hours and the largest session of a few thousand grafts may take us four to six hours.
Pain is a common concern and I always tell our patients that pain isn’t a big issue with this. We give some valium beforehand that helps relax the patient and then we use local anesthetic.
In the back where we are taking the strip from, the local only takes about a minute to two to place so there’s some discomfort for that and then when we take a strip of skin in the back there’s no pain at all.
We suture the back and turn the patient over. The patient relaxes, usually watches a movie or listens to music while we are separating those grafts. That process can take an hour and a half or two hours.
Once those grafts are separated then we take the grafts and place them in those little recipient sites. Before we do that we numb up the front of the scalp.
That takes about three or four minutes to do. So pain, we’ll call it discomfort only is five or seven minutes of the whole procedure, the rest of the time the scalp is numb and you don’t feel a thing.
After the procedure is done, we wrap the scalp with a little bandage and the patient’s released with some pain medications for that evening.
Usually it’s the back of the scalp that has discomfort rather than pain but that’s the place that hurts if it’s going to hurt at all and the pain medications take care of that.
The front kind of stays numb so they usually don’t have pain in that area during the first night.
That evening they will go home, eat normally. We will ask them to sleep, propped up on a few pillows at a 45 degree angle so it helps prevent excessive swelling.
The next morning we will have them come to the office. We remove the bandage, clean the area, make sure everything is perfect.
We actually shampoo the patient that day and send her home with instructions on how to take care of the scalp from then on.
The first four or five days are the most important but from the day after the surgery is done and each day thereon you can actually shampoo your hair and if you’ve got some decent existing hair, cover up what we’ve done.
So there’s really no need to let anybody know you had this done. There’s really no evidence after the day that we do it that there’s been a transplant done unless you have complete loss.
Men have it worse that way than the women but for thickening hair, for women with just starting to have loss or even some significant loss you can cover up fairly well.
I like to tell my patients that if you’d like to cover the scalp you can wear a hat or a scarf afterwards, even the day after surgery.
So a lot of women will come in, they will come in, get shampooed, just throw a baseball cap on or a scarf and go out. And with that, no one will ever know you’ve had anything done.
With some creative styling for the first few days you can cover without even using a scarf. So the after effect, the downtime of hair transplantation usually isn’t difficult at all.
About Dr. Lee Laris, D.O.:
Dr. Lee Laris, D.O., is the Medical Director and Chief Cosmetic Surgeon of Phoenix Skin Medical Surgical Group in Phoenix, Ariz. Dr. Laris graduated from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., in 1981 and continued his education at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, Calif., where he received his Medical Degree in 1987. He completed his internship at Grandview Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
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