Hair transplants are becoming increasingly popular as a remedy for hair loss. Many celebrities also have hair transplants. But how exactly does the method work? And what are the side effects?
Mark Forster with a cap – a familiar image. The hat is the 40-year-old singer’s trademark. In an interview with RTL, Forster now surprises with a statement: “I think a lot about hair transplantation,” says Forster with a wink. “Maybe one day I’ll surprise you with a beautiful quiff.”
He recently proved that the singer has the potential for a “beautiful quiff” by releasing an old photo for his new single cover “Memories
An estimated 40 percent of all men over the age of 20 suffer from hereditary hair loss. For women it is about 20 percent. Once hair follicles have died, they can usually no longer be saved.
Hair loss – whether hereditary, hormonal or disease-related – can be a psychological burden for those affected. Hair loss is often accompanied by a lack of self-confidence and great insecurity. Shampoos or extracts with caffeine as well as chemical and hormonal active ingredients – for example minoxidil or 17-alpha-estradiol – should help. The expensive cosmetics often work more badly than right.
An increasingly popular alternative is the so-called hair transplant, in which hair follicles are moved from densely populated hair regions to bald spots on the head. Mark Forster is currently considering the possibility with a wink. However, more and more celebrities have already undergone the method, including Jürgen Klopp, Elton John, Wayne Rooney or AJ McLean. Cristiano Ronaldo has even opened his own hair transplant center in Madrid. But what happens with hair transplants? And are there any risks?
In a hair transplant, the active follicles are taken from areas of thick hair and transplanted to bald areas on the top and front of the head. For this purpose, the fringe of hair at the back of the head is usually used, since the hair roots are programmed to continue growing here and optically match the rest of the hair on the head. Under local anesthesia, holes are then punched into the thin scalp in order to be able to place the removed follicles in the new places.
The transplant can be done using two methods:
The latter method is now the most common because it involves fewer risks than removing an entire strip of skin. Before the operation, the entire hairline area is shaved. Then the skin around the hair root groups is severed with the help of hollow needles in order to be able to expose and pull out the hair groups afterwards. To insert the hair, the hair is placed in the punched locations. They grow in by themselves and do not need to be fixed. The removal site usually does not have to be sewn up with FUE, the wounds left behind heal by themselves.
About 500 to 2000 grafts can be transplanted per operation under local anesthesia. Several operations are often required until sufficient hair density is achieved and, for example, a receding hairline is filled in or a receded hairline is stored forward. Hair growth starts around three to four months after the procedure – initially as fluff. As the months go by, the hair grows thicker and denser. After about nine to twelve months, the hair should have completely grown back.
There are many reasons for a hair transplant, the most common are:
A hair transplant is usually used for irreversible hair loss when alternative measures such as hormonal or drug treatment with minoxidil do not work.
In the case of hormonal hair loss in men, a minimum age of 30 to 35 years is recommended, so that the hair loss has largely come to a standstill. If new hairpieces are placed in sparse areas of the head where the remaining hair has not yet stopped falling out, the transplanted areas remain on the expanding bald area and create an unsightly appearance.
As a result of the surgical procedure, both the donor and recipient sites are initially very red and sensitive. Experts advise extreme caution, especially in the first three days, as the placed hair follicles grow into the scalp during this time. The scalp should not be touched or bumped. The first hair wash after the procedure must be done within 48 hours to promote the healing process. A special lotion is used for this.
The redness in the donor area and the slight swelling should disappear after a few days. Nevertheless, crusts can form, which should be completely gone after about 15 days. It is important that the scabs fall off on their own, as they stabilize the follicles in the early stages. The following must also be taken into account:
Some patients report numbness or tingling in the surgical area after the procedure, but this usually goes away on its own after two to four weeks. Only rarely do the corresponding sensory disturbances last longer.
An operation always involves risks. A hair transplant can result in:
If the puncture sites are set too deep, bleeding may occur after the treatment. There is severe swelling that can extend to the face. They go back completely after a few weeks.
Is there a risk of infection? Germs and bacteria tend to settle in poorly circulated areas. Since the scalp is considered an area with a good blood supply, the risk of infection with a hair transplant is rather low, but cannot be ruled out.
Depending on the provider and the size of the bald area to be filled, a small area of baldness (e.g. a receding hairline) can be expected to cost around 2000 euros and a pronounced bald spot can be expected to cost up to 15,000 euros.