What is Hairline Restoration?
Hairline restoration is a relatively simple transplant procedure that replaces hair in balding areas of the scalp with new hair that will continue to grow naturally. In the specific case of hairline restoration, the transplants are located around the face-framing regions of the hairline, i.e., the forehead and temples.
Is Hairline Restoration Suitable for Both Men and Women?
Regardless of your gender, if you’re dissatisfied with your hairline type for whatever reason, hairline restoration surgery can be the answer to your prayers.
It’s true; the hairline restoration industry has traditionally focused its marketing efforts on men because men represent a larger percentage of the hair loss population.
According to some statistics, male pattern baldness affects more than 66% of all men at some point in their lives, and the signs can begin as early as the end of puberty.
In contrast, female pattern baldness affects about 50% of women, but the condition tends to come on later in life, after the end of menopause.
Anyone who is experiencing the type of permanent baldness that runs in families may benefit from hairline restoration surgery, and that’s why increasingly, women are seeking out the procedure.
Other People Who May Benefit from Hairline Restoration Surgery
Transgender women are also jumping on the hairline restoration bandwagon, with the intention of reshaping their natural male hairline patterns into ones that appear more feminine. Individuals who have experienced hair loss due to burns or scalp injuries can also benefit from hairline restoration surgery.
Who Should Not Pursue Hairline Restoration Surgery?
Hairline restoration surgery is not for everyone. People who are dealing with other types of hair loss, such as hair loss caused by certain medications, weight loss surgery, or different medical regimens like chemotherapy, are not usually candidates for hairline restoration surgery.
Individuals with alopecia or who form keloid scars after injury or surgery, or people who don’t have enough hair available to donate it to themselves are not ideal candidates too.
What Happens During a Hairline Restoration Procedure?
To perform a hairline restoration transplant, the surgeon removes hair from the back of your head to the front hairline area, using one of two methods: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
Since hair transplants are out-patient procedures and only local anesthesia (like what you get in a dentist’s office) is used, they usually take place in a sterile environment in your doctor’s medical practice.
In the FUT hairline restoration procedure, the surgeon removes a small piece of your scalp in the back and relocates it to the hairline area. In the FUE hairline restoration procedure, individual follicles that house one to four hairs are relocated to the desired location.
Each hairline restoration option has certain risks and benefits. Although we won’t be comparing them with each other here, we will discuss the overall risks of doing the procedure in the first place.
Risks – What Can Go Wrong?
Even though hairline restoration surgery is generally safe, it is still an invasive cosmetic procedure that can sometimes cause minor complications. Most of these side effects should clear up on their own within a couple of days to weeks; if they don’t, then contact your physician.
Bleeding – You can expect some minor bleeding after the procedure and for a few days later.
Pain – Expect to feel pain and soreness in both the donor and receiver areas of your scalp. Normal levels of pain should not require anything more potent than a mild analgesic such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Swelling – It’s normal to have some swelling in the areas of your scalp where the hairline restoration procedure was performed. Ask your doctor for recommendations on how to reduce swelling safely.
Bruising – Don’t be surprised to see that you have some bruising around the eyes. Apply cold compresses to the affected areas.
Crusty Skin and Scabbing – As your wounds start to heal, you will likely see dry, flaky, and crusty skin and scabs. This is entirely normal and should be expected, especially since you aren’t able to thoroughly and vigorously wash the affected areas. That means there will be a natural buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and sebaceous oils.
Itching – All that crusty skin and scabbing can undoubtedly cause itchiness in the areas where the hairline restoration procedure was performed. Ask your doctor what you can do to minimize the itchy sensation and avoid scratching.
Numbness on the Scalp – It is typical to experience numbness or tingling at the graft and donor sites. If it continues for more than a week after your procedure, let your doctor know.
Issues That Might Require Medical Attention
The following complications are resolvable at home, but you should contact your surgeon if you have any questions or before attempting to treat them yourself.
Folliculitis – Excessive inflammation, redness, swelling, pus, and pimply rashes could be indications of an infection in the hair follicles. If you are running a fever, call your surgeon immediately.
Shock Hair Loss – Hairline restoration surgery can sometimes cause trauma that brings on a sudden, typically temporary loss of the transplanted (native) hair. As long as the dermal papilla cells underneath the hair follicles remain intact, the hair will eventually grow back. Shock hair loss is a normal side effect of hair transplant procedures.
Loss of Hair Grafts – If you’re carefully following your doctor’s post-op recommendations, you shouldn’t experience any hair graft loss after hairline restoration surgery. Every day that goes by after surgery, your body is working to incorporate the transplanted grafts into your scalp, and your hair grafts are becoming more “anchored.”
It’s typical to lose some grafts during the first 2-3 days after surgery, but if you notice it happening, you should contact your physician, so he can determine if the loss is in the normal range.
Serious Issues That Require Immediate Medical Attention
Allergic Reaction to Anesthesia, Antibiotics, or Anything Else
Allergic reactions can often mimic other symptoms. Since hair transplant surgery is not a regularly scheduled event like going to the eye doctor or dentist, most patients don’t have any prior experience with the effects of anesthesia or prescribed medicine.
Don’t take chances, contact a medical professional at the first sign of minor skin irritations or itching that seems to be escalating to hives or breathlessness. You could be on your way to a full-blown anaphylactic shock reaction.
Failed Hairline Restoration Transplant
Even if you have done all your research and invested in the most professional hairline restoration procedure you can afford, occasionally, they fail. Several factors can cause transplant failures, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, sweating, high blood pressure, not taking prescribed medications (i.e., minoxidil or finasteride), lack of proper hair and scalp hygiene, and using inexperienced surgeons or unreliable clinics.
Dissatisfaction with Results of Hairline Restoration Surgery
Since your hairline is on display for all to see, it’s understandable that you’re hoping for a quick and total transformation.
As you shopped around for hairline restoration clinics, you probably saw lots of photos of people with outstanding results and heard testimonies from satisfied clients. Perhaps these images raised your expectations about how your own hair would look after a hairline restoration procedure.
Still, it’s possible that even if your hairline restoration procedure went exactly as planned, with no complications, you might not be satisfied with your outcome.
Perhaps your hair is still thin around the transplant area, or there are unnatural tufts of hair where you don’t want them. Maybe you notice scarring. If you have loose scalp skin (scalp laxity) or very curly hair, your results might not be satisfactory in your estimation.
Follow Up with Your Doctor
The best thing to do if you’re unhappy with the results of your hairline restoration surgery is to speak with your surgical doctor about your concerns.
It’s possible that some of the issues you’re experiencing are temporary or can be easily resolved with a touch-up procedure. That’s why it’s so important to follow all your doctor’s instructions and to document as much as possible by logging notes and taking pictures.
If you can prove that your dissatisfaction with the outcome was due to no fault of your own, you may be able to persuade your doctor to fix the issues at no additional cost to you.
Hairline restoration surgery can improve your appearance, make you look more youthful, and contribute to heightened self-esteem. In the long run, it can also save money because you’ll no longer be spending your hard-earned cash on special hair care products and unproven hair growth gimmicks that promise results but deliver disappointment.