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During a surgical hair transplant, healthy hair follicles are removed from one location and moved to another where they are no longer viable. “Graft” is the common word for a hair-bearing strip of skin. Grafts can be obtained from any part of the body, although the occipital scalp (located on the posterior scalp) is the most commonly used due to its high sustainability.
The shape and size of the graft are determined by technology, instruments, and surgical methods. Hair grafts are created by extracting tissue from the donor area. The goal is to take a little piece of hair-growing tissue and relocate it to a region of the scalp that cannot.
Follicular unit transplantation, often known as FUT, and individual unit extraction are two methods for removing the tissue holding hair from the donor site (Follicular Unit Extraction).
With FUT, stereoscopic dissecting microscopes are used to harvest the grafts from the donor strip. The follicular units are saved and prepared for implantation in the recipient’s scalp. The follicular unit usually has 2-3 hairs.
The medical professional makes scalp incisions that match the graft’s size. The grafts are then inserted one at a time into each implantation site, at the right length and orientation to match the surrounding hair.
FUE does not require the removal of a donor strip. Instead, each follicular unit is removed from the scalp separately. After that, the follicular cells are maintained and replanted into the scalp.
Survivability of Grafts
Hair grafts must be able to withstand hair transplant operations. Unfortunately, several things can prevent this from happening.
- Dehydration: According to various studies, grafts can live in a dry area for approximately 16 minutes before dying. It is beneficial to keep them in a water solution, such as saline.
- Temperature: Cold temperatures will assist prevent damage to the follicular units.
- Oxygen: When follicular units are isolated from the donor region, they are starved of oxygen, and if this occurs for an extended period, they will cease to function effectively.
Hair Shedding of Grafted Hair
The transplanted follicles and associated hairs will remain in place for about 1-2 weeks following a hair transplant. During this time, the hair follicles start to enter a resting phase, which is followed by the onset of hair shedding. This shock loss might begin as soon as 10 days after transplantation. It may last up to a year.
At two weeks, you can detect some hair shedding in the grafted hairline. One month after surgery, the majority of the grafted hair has shed. There is very little redness in the operated region. This shedding of hair is normal and does not signify the scalp “rejecting” the transplanted hairs.
The hairs that had fallen out three months after the hair transplant are now beginning to come again. The patient may anticipate solid development over the upcoming months, with the outcome being clear within 8-12 months following therapy.
Hair restoration surgery allows for the recovery of hair from the region where it has been lost through the hair transplant method. The FUE or FUT method is used for hair transplantation.
Concerning hair transplantation, the sides and back of the scalp—which possess DHT-resistant hair roots—are the donor region of the scalp and are also known as the safest donor zone.
DHT, or Di-Hydro Testosterone, is a catalytic version of the androgen hormone found in scalp tissues. When the genetic and hormonal effects are combined, the Dihydro hormone is to blame for the hereditary cause of hair loss. Because of their loss sensitivity, Dihydro concentrations in scalp tissues eventually induce severe hair loss, shrinkage, and baldness.
However, hairs that dwell in the safe donor area of the scalp are particularly resistant to the effects of DHT and remain on the scalp indefinitely, even after being transplanted to another place on the scalp. The Dihydro resistance of the scalp region has high importance in the realm of hair restoration since it defines the long-term success of the surgery.
The scalp’s Safe Donor Zone
Because of their resistance to the DHT effect, the parietal and occipital parts of the scalp (the sides and back of the head) are called the safe donor zone. Only the safest roots are removed during a hair transplant process to permanently implant the grafts and roots to complete the surgery’s restoration aim.
However, many restoration procedures are carried out using the FUT technique. A standard incision is used to remove the skin strip during a FUT hair transplant, which is a method of root extraction that uses the sophisticated closure technique, Trichophytic closure.
The Safe Donor Zone’s Function in Hair Transplantation
- It provides resilient hair roots that remain indefinitely.
- It opens the door to high-density hair transplant outcomes.
- By providing the required quantity of hair roots, the scalp’s safe donor zone establishes the steps involved in hair regeneration.
- It is appropriate for all grades of Norwood baldness.
Why Does Transplanted Hair Not Fall Out?
Experts explain why transplanted hair develops in balding regions of the scalp. It is due to the following factors:
Resistance to DHT in the Donor Site
Dihydrotestosterone acts on hair follicles, causing them to shrink and eventually die. Neither area of the sides or back of the scalp suffers hair loss since those areas’ hair follicles are not DHT-sensitive.
It is possible to transplant follicles from the sides and back to balding areas. These follicles will generate strong hair that will follow the natural regrowth process. The theory of “donor dominance” has anchored hair transplant theories since Dr. Norman Orentreich coined the word in the 1950s. According to the theory, when a hair follicle is moved to a new location, it preserves its former qualities.
Can You Lower Your Risk of Shedding Following Surgery?
There is no known method to lessen the chance of shock loss after surgery. Patients can, however, protect themselves against future loss with the following.
Finasteride lowers dihydrotestosterone levels in the scalp. Numerous men’s hair is thickened and hair loss is prevented as a result.
You can use a solution or foam called minoxidil to thicken thinning sections of your hair. It also aids in the prevention of hair thinning and has the potential to accelerate hair regrowth after shock loss.