Northern Virginia – Fairfax
By: George Bitar, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Hair loss can be one of the most embarrassing problems for both men and women, with ramifications stretching from self-image problems to worries about first impressions and social interactions. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem and can be addressed with hair transplantation. This procedure can be quite rewarding for anyone who has suffered from hair loss on the scalp or other facial areas. Hair transplants allow your own natural hair to grow where you’d like it to, bringing with it a renewed sense of self-confidence and a fresh ability to enjoy your life.
The first step toward a full head of hair is your consultation with Dr. Bitar and our professional hair transplant team. After a thorough discussion of your concerns with your doctor, you will be evaluated to determine if you are a candidate for a hair transplant. Ideal candidates are healthy men and women who have been losing their hair for five years or more, or have lost their hair due to a burn, trauma, or a surgical procedure such as a face lift. Good candidates should also have realistic expectation and understand that treatment may take months or more, and that it will take some time for the new hair to grow in. Once you’ve been evaluated, you’ll receive professional advice on the correct method to treat your hair loss.
The Bitar Institute offers two primary methods for hair replacement. The traditional hair transplant procedure is the strip method. In this method, a strip of hair-bearing skin is harvested from the back of the head and then cut units containing just a single hair follicle, a naturally-occurring group of 1-4 hairs. These single-follicle units are then transplanted into the bald areas. The more recent treatment, Follicular Unit Extraction, or FUE, is a state-of-the-art method which involves harvesting single-follicle units in a minimally invasive way from areas with the thickest hair. A major advantage of this method is that it leaves no scar.
Once you’ve determined the best treatment for your hair transplant, you’ll be able to discuss details such as the time of the procedure, cost and payment issues, details of recovery, and any precautions you can take to minimize risks.
Your hair transplant procedure will take place in the newly-renovated Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Fairfax, VA. You will be attended by a professional and experienced team in a comfortable operating room with a television and floor-to-ceiling windows, specifically designed with the hair transplant patient in mind.
After arriving at the Institute, the doctor will review with you the details of your procedure. Your scalp will be cleaned and the hair trimmed in order to allow the plan to be drawn onto your scalp to ensure precise execution. The harvesting location will be numbed with a local anesthetic, and you’ll receive an oral sedative to keep you relaxed and comfortable.
Once the anesthetic takes effect, hair will be harvested. If you’re a candidate for the FUE method, follicles will be harvested individually with tiny holes, while the strip method will require an incision in the posterior scalp. The length of this incision will vary depending on how much hair is required for the transplant. After the incision is closed, the follicles will be prepared under a microscope while the transplant site is numbed.
When the follicles are ready, they will be inserted in a natural fashion across the transplant site. Individual hair follicles will be carefully transplanted then dressings will be placed on the area. The entire procedure will be complete in 2-8 hours depending on the extent of the hair loss.
For the first few days after your hair transplant, you’ll experience minor discomfort, but pain medications will be given to mitigate this. Ice packs can also be used to minimize discomfort in the donor area, but the transplant site should not be touched. There may also be bruising or scabbing for several days after the transplant. You’ll need to avoid showering or exercise for the first three days. Also avoid alcohol, vitamins, or aspirin for the first three days, as these could cause bleeding. You should keep your head elevated at night for the first week. Any sutures will be removed within 7-12 days. Most patients can return to work within 1-3 days after a FUE hair transplant, while patients who have used the strip method should wait for 5-7 days. The healing process will begin immediately, with final results visible within 1-2 weeks.
Photo just after transplant
Photo 4-6 months after transplant
Results to Expect
Once the hair begins to grow, you’ll experience a more youthful look with a fuller, thicker hairline. Any need for a hairpiece or wig will be reduced or eliminated entirely, and the results are completely permanent.
Hair Restoration FAQs
How much hair is transplanted at once? Is there a minimum or maximum?
You can expect to have one to two thousand hair follicles to be transplanted in one sitting for an average receding hairline. However, all cases are different. Since the procedure will be tailored specifically to the patient’s needs, the amount of hair follicles moved can vary.
How long will it be before my hair looks presentable?
It depends on the method used and on how short the hair must be trimmed. If the strip method is used, the incision may be obvious for as long as two weeks, while the harvest area is presentable within 5-7 days using the FUE method. Depending on how close the hair has been cropped, the donor site should look good anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after the procedure.
Can a hair transplant be used for facial hair?
Yes. In fact, a hair transplant may be your only option for permanent facial hair loss, since creams and medications typically do not work on the face. In most cases, transplants from the scalp can work very well on the face.
Will a hair transplant change my hair texture?
No. Hair texture and color are governed by DNA, so your hair will remain the same after it is moved from the donor site to the recipient site.
Can a hair transplant be used to lower a naturally high hairline?
Yes, although it is important to note that lowering a hairline requires careful thought, as it can require a large amount of donor follicles as well as the understanding that the results will be permanent, even if you change your mind about your new look. For more information about the hair transplant procedure please contact our office 703-206-0506