Hair restoration surgery is a surgical procedure that involves hair removal from a donor site, sectioned into micro-grafts and then transplanted into a balding or thinning area on the scalp. The micro-grafts transplant technique is the most common hair restoration surgery. Other hair restoration grafting techniques include: flaps, tissue expansion and scalp reduction.
How Hair Restoration Surgery Works
Once you and your doctor have decided that hair restoration surgery is the appropriate option for you, your doctor will select a donor site at the back of the scalp where the hair follicles will be removed.
“The donor area is anesthetized, using local anesthesia, and a strip of hair containing the follicles is removed,” Worcester, MA, hair restoration surgeon Mark DiStefano, MD, says. Next, the follicles are harvested under a microscope and the hairs are divided into follicular units, which are groups of one, two or three hairs, to create a more natural look. “The areas where the units will be transplanted are also anesthetized, and the transplanted hair is placed into the recipient sites,” Dr. Mark DiStefano adds.
Hair restoration surgery is an option if your hair isn’t too thin, fine or light in color. “A strip of dense hair taken from a donor site on the patient’s scalp is divided into single-, two- or three-strand hair groups and transplanted into the thinning areas. Tiny grafts are then placed on a recipient site where they will grow as permanent hair. If the hairs are grafted properly, you’ll never be able to tell it was a transplant,” explains Montclair, NJ, plastic surgeon Barry DiBernardo, MD.
At this time, hair restoration surgery is the only proven permanent surgical option available to treat permanent hair loss for both men and women. Unlike other transplant surgeries, only your own hair and tissue are used. “Hair restoration surgery for females is only recommended if you’ve suffered hormonal hair loss or hair loss that stems from the likes of a scar or cosmetic surgery,” Philadelphia dermatologist George Cotsarelis, MD, director of University of Pennsylvania’s Hair and Scalp Clinic, says.