In this article, our hair restoration expert Dr Vince Ehlers shares his knowledge on FUE hair transplant surgery.
We have an undoubtedly emotional attachment to our hair. It forms an important part of our appearance, including playing a role in our self-identity and as a form of self-expression. For centuries hair has been seen as a reflection of health, youth, status and sensuality. This is why when we experience hair loss it can cause significant distress.
Published data has shown that hair loss can affect up to 1 in 5 individuals, and 1 in 3 males before the age of 40. Hair transplant surgery provides you with a permanent and painless solution to restore the recessions of your hairline, improve coverage of your crown or increase the overall density of your hair.
What is FUE hair transplant surgery?
- Hair transplant surgery is a procedure whereby we are able to restore hair loss that occurs as a result of male patterned hair loss. The hair loss on the top of the scalp occurs due to a hormone known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone), certain hair in the body is able to resist this hormone, such as that on the sides and back of the scalp. During the procedure we remove hair from these resistant areas and implant them into the areas that have experienced loss. These new hairs in the area retain their ability to resist DHT and will grow permanently in the new sites.
- FUE (follicular unit extraction) refers to a safe and effective modern technique for hair transplantation that allows for a natural looking result and minimises the potential for scarring. In FUE hair follicles are extracted individually with a small device (0.8mm) to allow for the dense re-insertion of follicles. This is a major improvement from older techniques such as FUT or strip type transplants which leave visible scarring.
Who is a good candidate for hair transplant surgery?
- Males who have or are experiencing male patterned hair loss. This typically starts with thinning at the temple area or over the crown and tends to spread towards the opposite end.
- It is advised to wait until at least the age of 25 before having a transplant, this allows us to project how the hair will change over time to ensure we give a natural and lasting result
Is a hair transplant painful?
- The procedure is done under light sedation and local anaesthetic, which makes it virtually painless. Majority of patients tend to sleep through the entire process.
- The most uncomfortable part of the procedure is the first 5-10minutes when we administer the local anaesthetic.
How much does FUE hair transplant surgery cost in South Africa?
- The cost of a hair transplant depends on the number of follicles that are required to fill the area of concern.
- It is not more expensive to do a transplant in South Africa than it is to do overseas.
- Previously people frequently travelled to Turkey to get hair transplants done, but this is no longer necessary due to highly skilled surgeons being available in South Africa at the same price as international clinics.
- Typically a hair transplant will cost between R30 000 – R55 000 at the Aesthetic Options clinic in South Africa.
What results can you expect from FUE hair transplant surgery?
- It is important to remember that the end result is highly influenced by how healthy the quality of hair that remains on the back and sides of the scalp is.
- The more healthy follicles a person has, the more aggressive the surgeon can be with lowering the hairline and creating a higher density of follicles.
- It is not advised to exceed 3000 grafts in a single session to avoid over-harvesting. 3000 grafts is enough to densely cover one half of the top of the scalp.