· A hair transplant is not permanent!
True and False - The hairs which are transplanted during a hair transplant procedure will not fall out due to the factors which cause male or female pattern baldness. The hair can fall out though for other factors which cause hair loss such as trauma, certain medical conditions, and certain medications. In general though, these are extreme circumstances. For all practical purposes, transplanted hair is permanent. Now here's why the statement is partially true. While transplanted hairs are practically permanent, the native hair can continue to fall out. This is why patients (except those considered a Norwood class VI) are encouraged to undertake additional therapy to try to preserve what they have remaining.
· Hair transplants are expensive.
True and False - While the dollar amount cost of a hair transplant can get quite hefty, especially for patients with significant hair loss, when the costs are broken down or compared with the lifetime cost of other treatments, it is not that significant. For patients who choose a hair replacement system over hair transplantation, consider that these systems require regular maintenance as well as replacement. When these costs are added over a patient's lifetime, they can easily surpass the cost of a hair restoration session - which does not require lifetime maintenance. The other fact of hair transplantation is that it is a VERY labor intensive procedure. For patients with significant hair loss, it is not uncommon to spend 40-80 man hours on a SINGLE hair transplant. Considering that this includes time of a highly skilled and educated surgeon as well as specialty trained hair technicians, the overall cost of the transplant is quite reasonable. This figure does not include equipment costs, costs to maintain a medical facility, or other operating expenses.
· Hair transplants do not look natural.
False - Well performed hair transplants look completely natural. The key is finding a physician who specializes in the procedure and has the knowledge to create a natural appearing hairline.
· Hair transplants are painful.
False - The discomfort associated with hair transplants is usually minimal and limited to the initial injection of anesthesia and some donor site discomfort for a couple of days after the procedure. The discomfort of the initial injection can be easily combated with light sedation, such as valium, the use of ice and distracters such as a small hand held vibrator, or for patients who are particularly troubled, through the use of intravenous sedation for the initial part of the procedure. The discomfort after the procedure is usually limited to the donor area since this is taken from the back of the scalp and patients have to sleep on the area. This is usually for only a couple of days and can be treated with pain medication taken just before bed time. The caveat is always that the perception of pain varies between individuals. While this represents the experience I've seen with my patients, everyone is different and everyone heals in a different way.