Androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern baldness, affects the majority of men and nearly half of women over the age of 50. Medicated hair loss products and treatments can successfully control and manage ongoing hair loss, but they are unable to regrow hair in areas of the scalp that have ceased to produce hair altogether.
At Carolina Hair Center, Dr. Jerry Cooley offers follicular unit transplantation (FUT) surgery to his hair loss patients interested in natural and seamless results. By harvesting healthy DHT-resistant follicles found on the back and sides of the scalp, Dr. Cooley can rebuild hairlines and restore his patients’ hair to a fuller, more youthful version, like they remember.
The scalp is first numbed using local anesthesia at the start of the FUT procedure, ensuring patients remain comfortable and feel no pain or discomfort throughout the treatment. Once the patient has been numbed, Dr. Cooley removes a strip of the scalp from either the back or side of the head. Hair located in these areas is resistant to hair loss and retains a high survival rate when moved to other areas of the scalp. The donor site is then sutured shut using dissolvable stitches.
The donor strip is dissected, separating the follicular units from the surrounding tissue, by using high powered stereoscopic dissecting microscopes. The donor grafts are placed in a protective holding solution while the dissection takes place, providing vitamins and nutrients to ensure their survival. Once the grafts have been prepared, the transplantation part of the procedure begins.
Dr. Cooley and one of his assistants place each follicular unit individually into the targeted areas of the scalp. The grafts retain their DHT-resistant properties once transplanted into the front and top sides of the head where balding typically occurs, meaning they should continue to be immune to future hair loss. Dr. Cooley takes great care in constructing a new hairline that appears natural, mirroring the patterns of surrounding hair growth for results that are seamless.
The FUT procedure can last several hours, varying on a patient-by-patient basis.
Recovering from FUT
Following FUT surgery, the scalp will be slightly red and some swelling may occur. Most side effects will diminish within the first week of recovery. The area of the head that provided the donor strip may feel tight and slightly sore for one to two weeks. Scabs and crusting will develop in the transplant sites. Patients should refrain from touching or rubbing their scalps during recovery as the grafts may become easily dislodged, harming results.
Because of the strip removal, patients recovering from an FUT procedure may require more downtime than those recovering from follicular unit excision, also known as follicular unit extraction or FUE. FUT patients should expect to take three to five days off from work. Exercise and more strenuous activities can be resumed about three weeks after surgery, but Dr. Cooley will give you specific instructions regarding your recovery that may be unique to you. This will include instructions on post-surgical care, including when patients may shower and resume normal activities.
Hair Transplant Results
Once the immediate side effects of hair transplantation surgery subside, the newly-transplanted hair will begin to fall out. The shedding process usually occurs two to three weeks following surgery. The hair will then enter a resting period before producing new hair growth in two to three months.
The transplanted follicles will not yield truly visible results until the six-month mark, as density and coverage emerge with new growth. By this time patients can enjoy a thicker head that will dramatically improve through the first year. Final results may continue to develop for up to 18 months as dormant follicles begin producing growth.
Results following FUT surgery are long-lasting. While hair transplants can restore hair lost due to androgenetic alopecia, they will not eliminate ongoing hair loss. In order to best maintain results following surgery, Dr. Cooley recommends his patients adopt a comprehensive treatment plan that includes Rogaine, Propecia and platelet rich plasma to manage and slow down hair loss.
Carolina Hair Center
At Carolina Hair Center, Dr. Cooley and his expert staff are proud to provide a variety of hair loss restoration treatments to their patients. If you are interested in hair transplants or would like to learn more about the latest in hair loss treatments, then call us today at 704-542-1601 to schedule an appointment.