Hair Restoration Day
Upon your arrival to the Hair Restoration Clinic, a patient coordinator will greet you and bring you to the pre-operative area. You will be brought to the patient change room and given a gown. You can stay in your pants so we suggest that you wear comfortable loose fitting pants of fitness wear.
You will be brought into the pre-treatment procedure room where Dr. Barr will once again review your personalized hair restoration procedure, your goals and expectations. At that time, there will be ample time to ask any questions that you may have. You will be given some mild oral medication to ensure that you are relaxed during the procedure and to prevent post treatment swelling.
Length of the Procedure
The Follicular Unit Transplant procedure is very specialized and meticulous, and involves the participation of multiple medical personnel. Depending on the number of grafts involved and the method you have chosen for harvesting the grafts, hair restoration procedures can vary anywhere from two to several hours. The highly trained technicians and medical personnel involved in your care ensure that the length of the procedure is minimized. As points of reference, bilateral eyelid hair restoration can take 1.5 hours and mega graft sessions with 8000 hairs requires approximately 6 hours.
Your Surgical Experience
As you will be lightly sedated, you can watch TV or sleep if you wish. Injections around the perimeter of the scalp will numb your entire scalp so that the area being transplanted is not directly anesthetized. Once the sedation takes effect, most patients choose to watch TV or movies; however, it is not uncommon for a patient to sleep throughout part of the procedure. While the process itself can last many hours, it will seem to you that the time went by very quickly. During the treatment, you are free to take breaks, eat lunch, visit the washroom as necessary and move around. You will feel no discomfort during your procedure and will find it to be a generally pleasant experience.
If the donor hair tissue has been harvested from the back of the scalp using the strip excision method, then the donor area is closed with self dissolving sutures. The donor tissue is then meticulously dissected into individual follicular units, each containing anywhere from 1 to 4 hairs. The grafts are trimmed of extraneous fatty tissue, and the bald intervening skin between the groups is discarded.
The process of microscopically dissecting and isolating naturally occurring follicular units without damage is a critical component of Follicular Unit Transplantation. By working under high magnification microscopes, we ensure no injury to the follicular units during this process to maximize the outcome and appearance of your donor hair.
When we do follicular unit extraction (FUE) harvesting of the hair, the donor site is shaved very short and a dilute solution of tumescent formula is used to prepare the scalp. Using microscopic precision, individual follicular units are harvested from the region. The donor sites are left to close on their own and do so in a matter of 5 to 7 days. As FUE is more labour intensive and takes more time than the strip method, the maximal number of grafts that can be done in one sitting is in the range of 2000 grafts.
Grafts and Blood Supply
Once the donor strip is removed from the back of the scalp, it is immediately placed in a cold saline solution to lower its temperature. It is kept at a cool temperature until ready for placement into the recipient sites. From the time the donor grafts are removed from the back of the scalp, to the time they are placed into the recipient area, extreme care is taken to ensure 100% viability of all the grafts.
The placement and angles of the recipient sites are critically important in creating a natural looking, aesthetically appealing appearance of your hair and hairline. Dr. Barr uses the lateral-slit technique when creating recipient sites, which is the only surgical technique that mimics the natural alignment and distribution of hair. These variables ultimately determine the angles at which the new hair will grow its distribution and its density. This is a very important component of the FUT procedure and requires considerable artistic knowledge and surgical skill. Dr. Barr takes extreme care in choosing the distribution and angle of each recipient site to ensure absolute satisfaction with the final result.
Placement of New Grafts
Placement of the new grafts is the most time consuming stage of the procedure. The placement process requires extreme care and during this time you will be asked to keep your head relatively still. The placement of each follicular unit is done with microscopic instruments under magnification. The duration of this part of the procedure is dependent on the number of hairs / follicular units that you have chosen for your hair restoration. As Dr. Barr placed long acting freezing medicine around your scalp at the beginning of the procedure, this is a completely comfortable process. Many patients simply watch the large screen television, listen to music or have a light nap while the grafts are being placed.
Post Treatment Care
Once placement is complete, a small graftcyte dressing is placed over your grafts and an antibiotic ointment is applied to the donor site / sites. Our staff will once again go over all the post care instructions, provide you with our custom post care kit that includes all that you will need to care for your grafts, donor sites and hair over the next week.