While each patient is unique, and it is strongly recommended that you contact us for a free consultation, use this page to learn some of the basic elements of modern hair transplantation techniques. A modern hair transplant procedure is a minor surgery, which is easily accomplished in an office setting using local anesthetics and mild sedation. The patient is awake for the entire procedure and can easily take breaks in order to eat and use the restroom. In fact we encourage our patients to watch movies, which we supply on our flat-panel TV’s in each operating suite to help them relax and enjoy the day.
The day begins with a complete review of your medical history. This will occur in our Foster City office, which is convenient to San Francisco, Oakland, and even San Jose hair transplant patients. The doctor then reviews the surgical plan, ensuring that your cosmetic concerns and expectations are established and met. The doctor then explains the entire procedure to you, paying the greatest attention to the benefits and risks of surgery. These operations are very safe and it is our job to make sure that you completely understand the ins and outs of the procedure and have an opportunity to ask questions.
The Follicular Unit Transplantation procedure begins with the preparation of the Donor Area. The hair directly above the donor site is lifted up and taped in place. A thin strip of hair is then shaved to expose the skin, which will soon become the donor strip. We will calculate the length and width of the donor strip which is necessary to achieve your goals and only shave that much. Local anesthetic will be used to completely numb this area and the donor strip will be excised. The wound is then closed with stitches. Since the entire shaved area has been removed and the taped hair above is released to cover the stitches, there is usually no way to see that you have had surgery in the back of the head.
The strip of donor hair is passed to the hair technicians who work under a microscope to divide the strip into individual hair grafts of 1, 2, or 3 hairs. Hairs grow naturally out of our heads in groups of 1,2, and 3 hairs. We therefore transplant them in these same groupings.
While the hair technicians are creating the grafts, the doctor will give local anesthetic to the front of the head. This will result in your entire scalp feeling numb. The doctor will then create tiny 1 mm. holes in the scalp, called recipient sites, which conform to a natural pattern of hair restoration and follow the angle, and direction of your existing hair.
Following completion of the recipient sites, the individual hair grafts will be placed one by one into those sites by hand using jeweler’s forceps.
From Start to Finish for a Hair Transplant: 4-8 Hours In General
The entire procedure takes anywhere from 4-8 hours, but it’s worth it because you will soon have a new head of hair. The timeline of hair growth following the transplant is important to remember. The hair grafts heal into their new sites in the first 10 days after surgery and heal without any visible scars. By the 10th day after surgery, the operation should be barely detectable. Of course this depends somewhat upon the amount of existing hair on your head. From this time until 3 months postoperative, your head and hair will look just the same as it did before surgery. The tiny hair shafts in the grafts will shed, leaving the roots, which are growing a new hair under the skin. About 3 months after surgery, new hair growth will emerge and continue to emerge until 14 months after surgery. The greatest amount of new hair growth and increased density of hair occurs between months 4-9 postoperatively. Needless to say, patients are very happy by month 8 after surgery!
The fact that hair transplant surgery is a minor operation means that you need not take much time away from work and family. Many patients return to work the next day and the doctor will discuss your personal situation with you and come up with a recommendation which fits your lifestyle. Patients come to us from near and far: from San Francisco to Oakland to San Jose, but we even have patients seeking a Sacramento hair transplant specialist, who realize that coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for a hair restoration surgery is worth it. Wherever you are in the Bay Area, this is what you can expect.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a newer method of creating donor grafts for hair transplantation. It has gained popularity, not only in the United States but here specifically in the San Francisco Bay Area, over the last few years because it results in no linear scar on the back of the head. Instead of cutting out a strip of skin from the donor area as in FUT, FUE involves removing each graft individually from the donor area using a tiny punch that measures only 1 millimeter in diameter. This used to be done by hand or more recently with a power drill operated by the doctor. The latest advance is the ARTAS Procedure developed by Restoration Robotics located here in Silicon Valley. This robotic system digitally scans the donor area on the back and sides of the patient’s head, then selects the best follicular units, and robotically removes each follicular unit making sure to space out the selected units so that the hair density left in place appears normal and natural. The ARTAS Robot is controlled and operated by the doctor, making sure that the number, character, and density of the grafts is optimized.
Once the donor hair is harvested by the robot, the grafts are placed into tiny slits made in the recipient area, in the exact same fashion as they are placed in the FUT (strip) Procedure. The transplanted hair will grow naturally and permanently in its new location, just as it did before.