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What are Hair Replacements?


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There are many conditions which may cause a man to consider surgical procedures such as a hair transplant or the option to replace their hair with a hair system. Some genetic conditions, such as male pattern baldness or other skin conditions such as alopecia can leave the sufferer feeling emasculated and undermined by their own appearance. Hair loss can occur from any age, and can manifest in a bald patch at the crown of the scalp or as a receding, or shrinking, hair line – where the line of hair growth gradually moves back away from the forehead and back over the scalp. While some topical and non-invasive treatments can slow this process, or reduce the appearance of hair loss there is no cure for baldness.

Types of hair replacement options for men

Having your own hair follicles transplanted from one area and implanted into another can provide you with immediate and long lasting results. The hairs will match exactly in colour and texture, and will continue to grow and shed in a completely natural fashion. Some surgeries offer artificial hair implants, but there are serious risks of scarring and infection as well as the possibility of the artificial hairs being rejected or coming loose and falling out. Utilising a man’s healthy hair follicles and natural healing process drastically reduces the risks of this type of surgery and is the recommended procedure. Some advances have been made in the field of cloning for use in hair surgery. This procedure involves taking a small amount of healthy hair growing cells from your scalp and reproducing them in laboratory conditions and then injecting the patient with these multiplied cells in order to stimulate new and spontaneous growth of hair. This type of procedure is still being developed, and is its infancy, but it may one day become a complimentary or replacement treatment for hair transplant.

Alternatively, a quicker and cheaper option is a hair replacement system, which is added to your existing hair or the scalp. If you have certain patches of hair missing or of course, if you are completely bald then the only option is a hair system. To ensure that the hair system looks natural, human hair should be used and therefore it can be styled and washed as your own hair.

What does hair replacement for men involve?

A complete male hair transplant is rare, but typically hair transplant surgery consists of the removal of a small section of skin from an area which is still has a good amount of hair, such as the back of the head.  This incision is usually undertaken under a local anaesthetic. This section, usually around 1cm wide and 30cm long is removed and separated into small sections, each containing two or three hair follicles. This can amount to several thousand sections in total. These sections, or ‘plugs’, as they are more commonly known, are then carefully sorted into fine and thick hairs, and placed strategically in the desired area. The finer hairs are placed towards the front of hairlines to give a softer and more natural finish, leaving the thicker hairs to be located where you would typically find them – in the centre of the scalp or layered at the back of the head. This grading is what gives a good, convincing finish and allows the patient to retain the feeling of a natural head of hair. The sections are placed in carefully and there is no need for large incisions or stitches, as a skilful plastic surgeon can utilise the body’s natural healing and clotting tendencies in order to fix the ‘plugs’ in place. One in place the hairs ought to continue to grow and behave as they did in their original position, making hair transplant a real and viable option for those suffering from the all too common condition of baldness, and the self-consciousness and low self esteem this can cause. Nowadays the surgery is common and well-developed and the whole procedure ought to be able to be undertaken in one surgical session.

Many professionals suggest that a hair system may be more suitable if you have lost hair at a young age. If you have hair transplants at say the age of 25 years, the new hair may last a lot longer than other hair on your head, in which case a very unnatural appearance may occur as you get older and the receding hairline pushes further back. There are two ways in which hair systems are attached to your head. If you have some hair, then the system can be attached to this. The other option is to attach it to your scalp. To ensure that your hair system looks “real,” is to check that the hair matches your natural hair colour, that the density of the hair is like your own, that the hair falls in the right direction and finally that it has a wave a curl, akin to your natural hair.

What to expect after hair transplant surgery

After any surgical procedure you must expect a little tenderness and redness – this is part of the healing process and a natural reaction to the small incisions. You will experience a significant difference immediately after the procedure has been completed, usually a fine and short spread of hairs in the affected area. As the hair follicle grafts settle into your scalp and the hair begin to grow, the effect will be much more natural, and with a good surgeon you ought not to be able to tell that you have undertaken the procedure. You can expect significant overall growth on the transplanted hair from around three months, and after this the hairs ought to begin to adopt the same characteristics of the rest of your hair, including thickness and texture as well as colour. All procedures of this nature carry the small risk of infection and scarring, and there is a possibility that the hairs might not take or grow as successfully as the patient might hope. Around 95% of hair transplant procedures are reputed to achieve exactly the results desired, however. Nevertheless it is very important to discuss all the risks involved in the surgery with your GP and consultant, as well as researching your chosen clinic and surgeon carefully so that you can ensure the very best and most natural finish. The number of men who have had this surgery and the increased skill at creating a natural has taken away any of the stigma this procedure might have had for men.

The cost of replacements

The price of hair replacement involving hair transplant surgery for men has reduced significantly as the procedure has become both more widely available and advances have been made in the execution of the procedure so that it can be undertaken in one surgical session. You can expect to pay around from a base price of £3000. It is roughly worked out per follicle graft, or ‘plug’, and in the USA this can cost from $3.00 to $8.00 per graft. This may seem like a very low price, but you should bear in mind that a good result for a large area can involve up to 3000 hair follicle grafts being inserted into your scalp. The cost of the procedure depends on the extent of the treatment required and on the individual surgery but you can expect to pay between £2000 and £10,500 for the procedure. Nevertheless, the emotional rewards and the comparative cost against a hair replacement system, or wig, can still make this procedure extremely cost effective and rewarding.

The price of a hair system may start at just £150 but often the more expensive systems, can cost significantly more money.

Read more in the Hair Transplant Surgery Information Guide






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