Hair transplant surgery in Turkey has rapidly advanced over the past few years. With new transplant techniques and sophisticated equipment, the surgery has enabled countless men and women worldwide to enjoy a full, healthy head of hair. We have people like the renowned Wayne Rooney who have been completely transformed by a hair transplant procedure. While it can work wonders, the procedure is not magical; there are certain criteria your hair loss needs to meet for the surgery to be successful.
If you’re completely bald or have an extremely receding hairline, depending on the amount of hair you have elsewhere, hair restoration surgeons might not be able to help you. One of the criteria you need to meet for hair transplant surgery is that you need to have an adequate amount of hair, to begin with. So, let’s take a closer look at how hair transplants work and see what your options are if you’re bald.
How Hair Transplants Work
There are several different types of hair restoration surgery offered at hair clinics around the world for treating bald patches and heavy hair loss. The most popular are Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), and Direct Hair Implant (DHI).
All three of these techniques require that you have a sufficient amount of healthy hair in the donor area on the back of your head – from temple to temple. The hair from the donor area is taken out and inserted into the recipient area – usually at the crown of the head, where baldness and thinning are the most visible.
During the FUT procedure, a long strip of the scalp is removed from the donor area, separated into smaller grafts, and inserted into the recipient area. You’ll have a noticeable scar on the back of your head that should be fully covered after a few months of hair growth. This procedure is the most invasive, has the longest recovery period, and is therefore becoming obsolete.
The FUE technique is much gentler and offers more natural end results with virtually no scarring. First, the surgeon will extract individual hair follicles from the donor area, then insert them one by one into small incisions in the recipient area. Within a few months, you should have a full head of hair with no signs of the procedure.
Finally, we have the DHI technique, which is the most highly regarded by international experts. It’s essentially an upgraded version of the FUE transplant.
Your surgeon will use a device known as Choi – a small, hollow needle that extracts individual hair follicles from the donor area and immediately inserts them into the recipient area. This procedure does not require incisions in the recipient area, and the transplanted hair will look completely natural.
A Closer Look at the Norwood Scale
Your surgeon will rely on the Norwood Scale to determine the severity of hair loss and your eligibility for a hair transplant procedure. It contains seven (+1) stages that depict the different types of hair loss patterns in men.
1st Stage: no obvious signs of hair loss. You still have a full head of hair, although you may be experiencing mild thinning.
2nd Stage: Hair falls out at the hairline, showing first signs of receding around the temples.
3rd Stage: This is when hair loss becomes noticeable. Your hairline recedes from the temples, and the recessed spots are either thinly covered in hair or completely bald. You’ll have the signature M-shaped hairline.
3rd Stage Vertex: In this stage, the receding hairline looks more like it does in the 2nd stage, but you’ll also notice severe hair loss at the crown of the head – known as the vertex.
4th Stage: You’ll see severe hair loss at the hairline and the crown of the head. The two bald spots are separated by a strip of hair going from ear to ear.
5th Stage: You continue to lose hair at the hairline and the crown. The two areas are still separated by a strip of hair, but the strip becomes thinner and narrower.
6th Stage: You become mostly bald on the top of the head. The receding hairline and the crown have connected. You might have very sparse hair on the top of the head.
7th Stage: Hair loss continues down your head, affecting the sides as well. You have only a thin, weak ring of hair around your head.
There’s a Class A variation of the Norwood scale as well. Here, you won’t have a separation between the receding hairline and the crown. You’ll lose hair uniformly and directly from the front of your head to the back.
What This Means for Extremely Thin or Bald Hair
If your hair loss is classed in the Norwood scale’s first two stages, you normally wouldn’t need hair transplant surgery. Most people opt for the surgery when they’re in the 3rd or 4th stage.
Unfortunately, though, if you belong to the 6th or 7th stage, hair transplant surgery might not be an option since the remaining hair is too thin and weak. It’s best to seek hair restoration procedures during the 5th stage at the latest.
Alternatives for Completely Bald Hair (Men)
While the 6th and 7th stages on the Norwood scale aren’t eligible for traditional hair surgery, there are still options and alternatives.
The renowned Dr Serkan Aygin Clinic, for example, offers hair transplants sourced primarily from the scalp but from the beard and body as well.
Beard is the best donor area after the scalp. It normally contains thicker hairs that can be used on the crown of the head. However, it’s best not to use beard hair at the hairline as the final result can look unnatural.
For the hairline, body hair, or chest hair, to be more specific, can be used. It’s not the ideal option, but it’s a good alternative that can offer pleasing results.
Hair thinning is a common problem, and as present in men, as it is in women. Hair restoration surgery is often the most effective solution that offers natural, long-lasting results.
While the surgery can be more difficult if you’re bald, you might still have options that could prove to be successful. It’s in your best interest to schedule a consultation with an experienced hair transplant surgeon and see what your best course of action would be.
Image was captured pre-COVID-19