Permanent Hair Replacement Surgery

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Permanent Hair Replacement Surgery
Hair loss both in men and women is primarily caused by a combination of factors including aging, a change in hormones, and a family history of baldness. The earlier hair loss begins, the more severe the baldness will be, even leading to premature balding in some cases.

Hair loss can also be caused by burns or trauma, in which case the hair replacement surgery is considered a reconstructive plastic surgery treatment; and the plastic surgery costs in such cases may also be covered by health insurance.

The hair loss caused by hormonal changes such as thyroid hair loss or some other diseases can be restored by medical hair restoration, while genetic hair loss can be replaced by hair restoration surgery using the permanent hair transplants.

Besides the hair transplant surgery, plastic surgeons today are also leaders in applying some other plastic surgery and reconstructive plastic surgery for hair restoration. Tissue expansion is generally regarded as a reconstructive procedure. Scalp reduction and scalp flap surgery procedures are common plastic surgery techniques which produce dramatic results for treating male pattern baldness. The results are considered dramatic because significant hair coverage is generally received in a relatively short amount of time. It is to be however noted that women are not good candidates for this procedure because of their typically diffuse hair loss presentation.

Tissue expansion technique
In this hair replacement technique, a balloon-like device called a tissue expander is inserted beneath hair-bearing scalp that lies next to a bald area on a manís scalp. The device is gradually inflated with salt water over a period of weeks, causing the skin to expand and grow new skin cells. This results in a bulge to be formed beneath the hair-bearing scalp, especially after several weeks.

When the skin beneath the hair has stretched enough, usually about two months after the first operation, another procedure is performed to bring the expanded skin over to cover the adjacent bald area as described below.

Scalp Flap surgery
Flap surgery on the scalp has been performed successfully for more than 20 years now. This procedure is capable of quickly covering large areas of baldness and is customized for each individual patient. The goal of scalp flap surgery is to take an entire strip of hair from one section of the head and move it to the bald area. Scalp flap surgery is one of the more complicated surgeries and is usually performed in three stages under general anesthesia and in a hospital. The size of the flap and its placement are largely dependent on individual patient. One flap can do the work of thousands of follicular hair transplants.

Unlike hair transplantation, scalp flaps require large sections of skin with healthy hair follicles to be removed and then placed within the balding area. Sometimes used in conjunction with other baldness therapies, scalp flaps can take advantage of the natural hair growth of the hair that has been moved to the bald area.

Scalp Reduction
In a scalp reduction, the physician removes the area of baldness and stretches the remaining hair-covered area to cover this removed area. Most often performed on men with balding on the crown of their head, the scalp reduction can help to fill in the gaps that baldness has left. Usually performed under general anesthesia (although some cases can be performed with local anesthesia and sedation), the scalp reduction will be done in two steps.

About four to six weeks prior to the actual procedure, the physician will begin to reroute arteries in the scalp so that the new hair will be able to be nourished. In the second step, the physician makes a Y shaped U shaped, a pointed oval, or occasionally some other shape of incision are made at the top back portion of the patientís head. Skin will be removed from this area, and skin is pulled from the surrounding area and stitched together. A flap of hair-bearing skin is lifted off the surface ( Scalp Flap) while still attached at one end. The hair-bearing flap is brought into its new position and sewn into place, while remaining "tethered" to its original blood supply. Because the work is done in the growing hair, the scars should not be noticeable. Each stage of the scalp reduction can take three to four hours

As the pulled skin heals, the scar is camouflaged-or at least obscured-by relocated hair, which grows to the very edge of the incision.

In recent years, plastic surgeons have made significant advances in flap techniques, combining flap surgery and scalp reduction for better coverage of the crown; or with tissue expansion as discussed above to provide better frontal coverage and a more natural hairline. Scalp reduction as a procedure is suited for coverage of bald areas at the top and back of the head. It's not beneficial for coverage of the frontal hairline

The most often discussed complication in this case is the incompleteness of the hair movement. Improperly trained physicians may misjudge the scalp and leave a gap in the hair line. This type of complication can be corrected by hair transplant repair. Another risk is the possibility of stretch back where the scar stretches out to leave an area of bald skin. However, recent advances in scalp reduction surgery have reduced the chances of this happening.

Consult with your plastic surgeon to discuss whether you are a good candidate for permanent hair replacement surgery?

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