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Hair transplanting is simply the transfer of hair to balding areas. It has come a long way and improved over the decades, solving hair problems that traditional solutions cannot answer. Learn more about hair transplants and why Japan is the place to go.
Who wouldn’t want thick and silky hair? Most of us want it. But hair loss is one of the common problems many people may face in their lives. For men, it is said that genetics is one of the common reasons for hair loss. People with this condition are born bald or the hairline recedes earlier than most. This happens because of the inherent trait they received from their parents specifically, from the x chromosomes or from their mothers but studies suggests that men with bald fathers are most probably would end up bald. Another reason would be hereditary hair loss. Compared to genetics, this condition is nature taking its place. As people age, it is natural that the hair would slowly fall off eventually leading to baldness. But don’t worry, because hair transplant technology is here to rescue! It is also known as Hair Restoration or Hair Transplantation, which means adding hair to parts where hair loss happens or hair is thin. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Japan conducted the first hair transplant using single scalp hairs in 1937. This revolutionary findings by Dr. Shoji Okuda saved thousands of men suffering from hair conditions.
※ National Center for Biotechnology Information, "Donor Harvesting: Follicular Unit Excision"
Transplant is defined by Merriam - Webster dictionary as to move an object to another place. In the medical field, it is defined as a medical process where one organ of a person is transferred to another or the same person. Hence, making hair transplant basically the transfer of hair to a place where there is no hair. The surgery administers local anesthesia, meaning you are widely awake during the process of hair follicles being removed and transferred from and to your head. Moreover, the procedure can also help restore and even add hair from other parts of the body like eyelashes, eyebrows, and beards.
Japan has top of the line facilities and services, clinics, especially for hair transplant and other concerns that might come after. In the following decade, a doctor from New York named Norman Orentreich discovered the “plug” technique in 1950. It has the same procedure with Okuda's but instead of transferring single scalp hairs it transfers a small bunch of hairs that looks like a plug hence, naming it the"plug technique." Since then, the appearance of transplanted hair that looks unnatural on the scalp is minimized by surgeons using mini- and micro-grafts, making the transplanted hair look more natural than before.
※ National Center for Biotechnology Information, "A Review of Modern Surgical Hair Restoration Techniques"
There are two types of hair transplant, Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), also known as Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) and Follicular unit extraction (FUE). Both procedures usually take several hours (4-8 hours) or days to be done (in separate sessions). FUE doesn’t have stitches or staples to remove, so after the procedure, you don’t have to stay too long in Japan, a day or two would be enough before going or traveling back home. The surgeon will remove bandages and may take extra steps to keep the area from swelling.
Should pain or soreness be felt at the transplant site and where the hair was taken from, your surgeon may prescribe medication. It is advised to stay in Japan a few days after the procedure to immediately solve any complications that may arise.
Many people use the clinics and facilities in Japan because Japanese healthcare is known worldwide. People can also travel the country before their scheduled operations to maximize the travel experience.
If the patient’s goal is to achieve a full restoration of the hair, FUT is more recommended as it provides a higher yield of hair than FUE. Also known as “strip” surgery, the donor area, which is usually on the back of the head, will be stripped and will be divided into individual follicular units. These grafts are placed in a chilled storage solution if they are not to be used immediately. After this procedure, stitching up the donor area is done and will be covered by the surrounding hair. Stitches are removed after 10 to 14 days. The donor area usually forms a linear scar after it heals.
On the other hand, FUE doesn’t require a strip of skin to be removed; instead, from the donor site, hair follicles are individually removed and embedded in a tiny slit which is created by a scalpel or needle across the bald or thinning area. On FUE, a series of tiny dot scars on the scalp is expected but so small that it’s scarcely noticeable. After these procedures, the surgical site will be covered with bandages or gauze.
These two methods have both benefits and flaws. Both have excellent results, but the most important thing is that whatever method is used depends on the patient’s characteristics or particular needs.
FUE leaves no linear scar, which is present by using FUT; only dot scars barely noticeable to the naked eye will be left. This method is recommended for those who wish to go back to their active lifestyle quickly.
FUT is for those who wish to gain their maximum amount of hair back as it contributes a higher yield of hair than FUE. It has shorter surgery time and is less inexpensive.
Both are painless and only require a local anesthetic.
FUE can cost around ¥200,000 while FUT, on the other hand, can cost around ¥500,000 and ¥250 per graft, being the lowest. However, choosing the procedure based on the cost alone is not recommended. Remember, hair transplant needs to last a long time, so you need to consider selecting the hair restoration best suited for you, and having a natural-looking result. This is a quick reminder that an attempt to save money by choosing an inappropriate method for you may lead to a short term gain but long term loss.
※ Shinwa Clinic website, Hair Transplant Cost (Men & Women) ※ The Maitland Clinic website, “What is the difference between FUE and FUT hair transplants?”
Cost is dependent on the number of grafts to be transplanted, for FUE, it costs ¥900 per graft follicles. As an example, 8000 grafts, or about 2000 hairs, multiplied by ¥900 is ¥920,000, is your total cost for FUE. On the other hand, FUT can cost ¥300,000 and ¥2,000 per graft follicles.
※ Shinwa Clinic Website, Hair Transplant Cost (Men & Women) ※ The Maitland Clinic Website, “What is the difference between FUE and FUT hair transplants?”
There are many different costs to consider when having a hair transplant in Japan. If traveling to Japan to get a hair transplant, flight fare and accommodation is to be considered, not to mention food and transportation during your stay in Japan. There may be other miscellaneous costs depending on your length of stay and if you plan to do some tourism while in the country.
In addition, costs after completing the procedure are to be considered. Doctors may prescribe medications and other post-care products for you to have a full recovery. The following are suggested by Healthline that can help you recover after surgery healthily: Anti-swelling, painkillers, and antibiotics are prescribed because in any surgery, not just hair transplant can be painful after the anaesthesia runs out. You will now feel what pain the anaesthesia is numbing you from. Moreover, surgeries may also have infections at times if wounds are not taken care of properly or the environment is not that clean. Multivitamins are also prescribed to keep your body healthy and ready to counter any side effects after the operation. Post-operation aftercare products are also recommended, such as specialist/mild shampoo, lotion, a special hat, headband, neck pillow, and wound dressing. Keep in mind though that you have to wait a few days after the operation before washing your hair. Also, do not brush or comb the new grafts after 3 weeks. A special hat and a headband may only be used after the doctor says so. You also have to change your wound dressing according to the doctor's instructions.
Also, an extra tip for you! Avoid exercising for a week, and do not worry if hair keeps falling out here and there, it is a normal side effect caused by the procedure.
※ Healthline, “Everything You Need to Know about Hair Transplants”
Some may experience hair loss, but there’s nothing to worry about because Hair Transplant can allow you to have that full head of hair back again. Japan offers some of the best Hair Transplant treatments and gives you a natural-looking result. You may choose from two methods: FUT and FUE, which are both painless and only require a local anesthetic. Let that Hair Transplant bring back the confidence and glow back to you!
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