How should the results of the hair transplant operation be evaluated?
The purpose of hair transplant is to achieve an aesthetic improvement but the meaning of this varies from person to person. People want to have a hair transplant operation in order to feel better (I don’t like how I look), have a higher self-esteem (others do not like how I look), be attractive, look younger, be more competitive in their professional life (I should look younger to my clients and to those who listen to me) or for other personal reasons.
This strong motivation to have hair transplant reflects on our expectations from the hair transplant results, too.
- How will I look after hair transplant?
- When will my hair begin to grow after the hair transplant?
- Will my hair transplant operation give a result as successful as my friends got?
- Will the hair transplant result last for a lifetime?
The patients should have discussed all their questions in detail with their physician before the hair transplant. Two significant issues should definitely be understood by the patients.
- The results are specific to the patient; no one-to-one comparisons should be made with the other patients who have undergone hair transplant.
- The final result obtained will reflect the demands of the patient, and the physician needs to consider many variables in order to obtain the ideal result. Among these variables are the age and gender of the patient, hair loss pattern, whether hair loss is continuing, hair type and color, form of the patient’s head and face, and the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the hairy scalp.
The results obtained with the patient can be evaluated only by considering all these variables.
Will my hair transplant operation give a result as successful as my friend got?
Even of the same age and gender, comparing the hair transplant results of two persons would be like comparing apples and oranges. The most prominent features are the shape of head, and the pattern and extent of hair thinning. But numerous factors have an impact on the results obtained, such as the thickness of hair shaft, the number of hair shafts contained in every hair follicle, the characteristics of hair –whether it is straight, wavy or curly-, color of hair and the contrast between the hair color and the hairy scalp.
Having an equal number of hair follicles transplanted does not guarantee the same results for everyone. It is apparent that a denser result will be obtained with thick hair follicles that contain a higher number of hair shafts compared to the results obtained with thin hair follicles that contain a single hair shaft. Similarly, curly hair shafts can give a better impact of camouflage. And as the contrast with the scalp decreases, a denser appearance is obtained; which means, the result of hair transplant with a combination of gray hair and fair skin gives a denser hair appearance compared to a combination of black hair and fair skin.
The plastic surgeon considers these variables before the hair transplant operation and makes the best treatment plan to obtain the desired result. Use of a personalized plan and personalized hair transplant techniques ensure maximum satisfaction regarding the patient’s expectations.
When will I enjoy the result of the hair transplant operation?
It is not possible to give a 100% successful estimation regarding the results of the hair transplant operation at month 1, month 3 or 6. The characteristics of the hair follicle, the technique used, the wound healing pattern and the hormonal impacts vary from person to person.
We can only talk about statistical averages. In general, the transplanted hair follicles fall out at the first month following the hair transplant, they begin to grow hair again at the third month with which the result begins to be visible, the result is 60-80% obtained by the sixth month and the final result is seen at the end of one year.
Hair loss and hair transplant results are specific to the person. Any kind of comparison to be made would be like comparing apples and oranges.
What are the characteristics of hair that ensure an appearance specific to the individual?
The hair characteristics that give a specific look to a person are:
- Hair color- blonde, dark, black, brown
- Hair shaft thickness- thin, medium or thick hair shafts
- Form of the hair shaft- straight, wavy or curly
In addition to these, there are some other factors to be considered such as the contrast between the color of the scalp and hair, and the number of hair shafts contained in the hair follicles.
Characteristics of hair have a significant role in a natural-looking, successful hair transplant results after the hair transplant. Thickness of the hair shaft is the most influential characteristic. For this reason, the hair follicles extracted from the central site behind the head –which contain thick hair shafts- are used behind the hairline in order to ensure a better density and thickness while the hair follicles extracted from the site close to the ears and neck –which contain a single and thin hair shaft- are used to form the new hairline. The location and the form of the new hairline is a decision that, more than any other decision, requires a deep insight and experience on the part of the surgeon.
The impact of hair characteristics on the hair transplant results of the hair transplant
Aesthetics per the standards of today refers to the natural look of the result rather than simply ensuring that the transplanted hair follicles do not fall out. When we talk about natural look we mean that the result should should more or like look like the appearance you had before hair thinning.
Hair transplant is a surgical intervention based on scientific knowledge, which aims to achieve an aesthetic result. The physician who performs the hair transplant operation should have aesthetical evaluation skills as well as surgical knowledge and capability.
The characteristics of hair may have a direct impact on the result of hair transplant. For instance, curly hair and thick hair shafts give a denser appearance. The less the contrast between the hair color and the hair of the scalp, the denser the result will look. This means that similar results can be achieved with a smaller number of hair follicles in a patient who has thick and curly hair shafts compared to a patient with thin and straight hair. Similarly, it may be possible to achieve similar results with a smaller number of hair follicles with a light-skinned patient who has fair hair compared to a light-skinned patient who has dark hair. It is obvious that hair transplant performed with hair follicles that contain two or three hair shafts will give more satisfying results compared to that performed with single-shaft hair follicles.