hair restoration

How Many Hair Restoration Surgeries Will You Need?

  • Two hair restoration surgeries

Some hair restoration patients may only need one surgery in their lifetime. However, it is more common for individuals to undergo additional procedures. Subsequent operations may be needed for repairing unwanted outcomes. But they may also be conducted to touch up sparse areas that could develop among the patient’s natural hairs.

The actual number of operations needed can sometimes be estimated in advance. This may be the case for some younger patients who are still in the process of losing hair at a rapid rate. It is often possible to let them know ahead of time that they will need additional procedures.

However, if the surgeon does not possess ideal experience, errors may occur to the patient’s surprise. And the need for additional surgery will be something that was completely unanticipated.

Hair Restoration Repair

Hair restoration repair surgery is often chosen for the following types of cases:

  1. poor growth
  2. graft insertion mistakes
  3. highly visible scars

Some patients will find that their grafts were not able to survive long term. So they continue to struggle with the appearance of hair loss following their procedure.

Others may have follicles that were inserted at incorrect angles. Therefore, hair may stick straight up or point in the wrong directions. Or the doctor may have used hair from thicker regions which created an unnatural looking result.

The use of scalpels or large sized punches will leave noticeable scarring. This will look even more apparent when the expected growth did not take place.

Touch Up Procedures

Native hair (i.e. natural and non-inserted) will most likely continue to shed. These follicles will have sensitive protein receptors which respond through miniaturization to the presence of DHT (dehydrotestosterone).

Therefore, after a hair restoration surgery, the presence of DHT may continue to cause hair loss beyond the recipient region.

Areas of sparse, low density may develop as a result. Or empty gaps can manifest. However, these can be touched up through additional surgery.

Choose the Right Hair Restoration Surgeon

Avoiding the need for unnecessary hair restoration repair starts when the patient is choosing a highly experienced service provider.

Priority should be placed on finding images of successful results. Ideally, this should be in the form of ten or more patient cases which visually depict solid growth, quality aesthetics and  coverage of any scars.

Even more so than photos, videos help convey an even greater extent of information.  Through the presence of testimonies, viewers can get a sense of whether or not the featured patient was able to have their goals met or exceeded through their hair restoration.

Manage Hair Loss Through Smart Choices

Although touch up procedures can be an option for adding density to sparse areas, patients may want to manage and control the rate of their hair loss.

This can be achieved with the help of medications. However, Dr. U warns that all drugs are associated with the risk of side effects. Therefore, patients may want to consider the use of natural treatment ingredients whose effects are supported by research studies.

Although genetics is usually the main culprit, the rate of hair loss is often influenced by environmental factors. Therefore, adopting healthy habits through diet and exercise can help minimize the rate of loss. Quitting cigarettes and even alcohol is also likely to help reduce thinning and balding as well.

Two hair restoration surgeries

This patient received about 10,000 grafts which were transplanted in two sessions

Can Shock Loss From Hair Restoration Surgery Be Prevented?

Some patients have sensitive hair follicles. So after a hair restoration surgery, they may actually experience unwanted hair loss in the treatment areas. The extraction wounds in the donor area and the insertion slits created in the recipient zones are minimally invasive. But they can be quite traumatic for the surrounding hair follicles. This may cause them to enter the telogen resting phase which leads to subsequent shedding.

Diffuse Thinning and Shock Loss

Some men suffer from thinning forms of androgenic alopecia. And according to Dr. U, they are more likely to experience shock loss due to hair restoration surgery.

Instead of losing hair according to well defined phases, they will experience pronounced thinning throughout their head. There are two types of diffuse thinning conditions

(1) DUPA

In Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia, thinning occurs globally throughout the head. There may be a horseshoe shaped stable zone. But this will be quite sparse.

(2) DPA

DPA stands for diffuse patterned alopecia. This version of diffuse thinning will have a more solid looking stable permanent zone around the back and sides of the head.

Individuals with diffuse thinning patterns or other possible predictors for shock loss may benefit from undergoing a preliminary test procedure on a small, inconspicuous areas.

Preventing Hair Restoration Shock Loss

Doctors may vary in the methods they choose to use for preventing shock loss. But here are some general strategies:

(1) Choosing a higher density

A surgeon may decide to insert a greater number of grafts head to compensate for the possibility of losing hair due to trauma

(2) Using medications

FDA approved drugs can help to control and limit the extent of miniaturization among the hair follicles. By preventing shrinkage, the follicles are able to remain in a strong healthy state. And they would be less vulnerable to the impact of surgical instruments.

However, Dr. U cautions that all synthetic medications are associated with unwanted side effects. Therefore the use of natural ingredients which are supported by research studies may offer a better way to keep the follicles in a healthy state without posing unnecessary risks to other areas of the patient’s health.

When Prevention Is Too Late

Not all instances of shock loss can be prevented. However, if it does occur, body hair to head transplantation may offer a way for the patient to reverse these effects.

One patient of Dr. U had undergone several strip surgeries. As a result of shock loss, he lost a considerable amount of hair on the sides of his head.

Due to the extremely sensitive nature of his scalp hair, head donor follicles could not be used. Instead grafts were taken from the patient’s beard area. And these were used to fill in the sparse areas and to cover the linear scars which resulted from past surgeries.

Body hair has different characteristics from head hair. Furthermore, these surfaces are more visible. Therefore, there is a strong need for superior forms of wound healing results. Dr. U engineered an Advanced Follicular Unit Extraction technology known as uGraft to effectively overcome both of these challenges. This system allows body hair grafts to be used as a viable option in situations where head hair cannot be depended upon.

Can Iron Supplements Restore Hair?

The possibility of losing more hair due to iron deficiencies is certainly a plausible one. However, taking supplements to restore hair may help some people to a certain degree. There are many factors that contribute to unwanted loss. Therefore,  the focus on iron intake alone should not be considered a universal hair restoration strategy, according to Dr. U.

Iron and Hair Health

Iron is an important mineral for the body. It is used to create a molecule called hemoglobin which transports oxygen to our cells, including those that make up the hair follicles. In fact, these structures rely heavily on the abundant availability of oxygen. This is important for normal functions needed to produce hair shafts.

However, it is reasonable to expect that lower levels of iron in the blood will undermine the supply of oxygen to the hair follicles. And logically speaking, this would have a negative impact on these structures.

Changes in the body’s normal state of equilibrium typically creates a state of stress. And hair follicles often react to this by entering the telogen resting phase. This is when the hair stops growing and eventually sheds about 3-4 months later.

Iron deficiencies can certainly contribute to a state of physiological imbalance that leads to hair loss.

What the Experts Say

Currently there is not enough research which supports a clear relationship between low levels of iron and hair loss.  Dr. U often educates individuals on the fact that there are many variables that contribute to this condition. And these factors can influence individual cases to varying degrees.

Large scale research studies require significant organization as well as funding. Therefore, it is not always practical to wait until formal studies are performed in order to address conditions.

Not all medical experts believe that iron contributes to hair loss since there are quite a few studies which show that there is no relationship.

Yet there are many who feel that it is a variable which deserves consideration. Here are a few examples:

(1) George Cotserelis of the University of Pennsylvania

According to Dr. Cotserelis, replenishing iron supplies in the body can help patients slow down the rate of shedding or even restore their hair. This would largely depend on how strongly the iron deficiency has affected the follicles for a particular individual

(2) Leonid Benjamin Trost MD, Ellen Calogeras RD, MPH, Wilma Bergfield MD

These medical experts addressed the possible link between iron and hair loss in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Based on their experience and review of past research, they believe that iron plays a much bigger role in hair health and restoration than is realized by the medical community.

Even if low iron is not a direct cause, this state can actually worsen a person’s hair loss condition.

Iron and Hair Restoration

Replenishing the body’s iron supply is an undertaking that should be done carefully. According to Dr. U, the safest way to add more of this mineral is by consuming natural food sources like dark leafy greens, for example.

Taking supplements should be done under the guidance of a physician. The recommended dosages listed on over the counter products may or may not be suitable for a particular individual. A doctor would be able to determine safe and appropriate limits.


(image: Flickr/Creative Commons) iron rich foods like spinach can support hair restoration efforts


 Can Natural Oils Help Restore Hair?

Many hair loss sufferers are eager use natural ingredients as their first priority of treatment. They are less costly. And there is a much lower risk of experiencing unwanted side effects.

Throughout various sources on the internet, is seems to be quite clear that plant based oils are associated with numerous health benefits.  And furthermore, these types of natural remedies have been used for centuries. But is their usage premised on folk lore? Or are there legitimate reasons to consider the use of natural plant based oils for hair growth?

Research on Topical Essential Oils

Back in 1998, the Archives of Dermatology published research findings on the use of an essential oil blend. This consisted of the following:

(1) rosemary oil

(2) cedarwood oil

(3) lavender oil

(4) thyme oil

By themselves, these oils can irritate and even damage the skin. Therefore they were mixed into a carrier blend of jojoba and grapeseed oil to dilute the effects of this combination.

The participants of this study were asked to massage their scalps consistently with this blend for several months.

The researchers who led this study were surprised to find that many of the subjects were able to experience regrowth of hair.  In fact, 44% were able to to grow back at least half of their hair. And some of the participants completely restored their hair.

It seems that the essential oils were able to stimulate greater blood flow to the scalp.

Food Supplements

The intake of natural oils may also be beneficial for hair restoration purposes as well. For example, researchers in South Korea studied the effects of taking pumpkin seed oil as a supplement.

The participants included men with moderate stage pattern baldness.  They took pumpkin seed oil capsules twice a day for about six months.

44% of the subjects in the treatment group were able to experience new hair growth.

Pumpkin seed oil is believed to work by blocking the alpha-II-reductase enzyme. This prevents testosterone from breaking down into DHT (dehydrotestosterone).  Therefore, pumpkin seed oil works on the same chemical pathway as Finasteride. But at this point, it cannot be officially considered as a full fledged natural alternative to the hair restoration drug.

The Effectiveness of Natural Oils

According to Dr. U, individuals who wish to use natural oils for hair regrowth may want to consider their usage as part of a their overall plans for better health.  Within conservative dosage limits, the potential for side effects is very minimal. And the benefits will likely outweigh the risks.

However, these types of treatments have a greater chance of being effective for early or possibly mid stage baldness.

There are a growing number of physicians who recommend the consideration of treatments with natural ingredients. Plant extracts have other important components besides just the active agent which can create a more balanced and harmonious effect within the entire body. This is far more preferable compared to synthetic drugs whose design only focuses on the active ingredient and may have adverse effects on cells and tissues beyond the treatment area.


(image: Flickr- Creative Commons)
Rosemary and other plant extracts have been shown in research studies to improve hair growth

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