How do I know if I am a good candidate for a hair transplant?
The assessment of a candidate for a hair transplant depends on a number of factors which include the extent of the hair loss, the hair density at the donor site, the hair quality and the age of the patient.
Generally speaking, a hair transplant will be successful with people who have clearly defined areas of hair loss (moderate and extensive alopecia). Younger people with very limited but progressive hair loss are candidates better suited for medical treatment than a hair transplant.
The best way to find out whether you are a good candidate for a hair transplant is to pay a visit to our clinic for a direct assessment. Patients who are not presently in the Canary Islands can e-mail us photographs which will allow us to determine the extent of the alopecia and offer our advice.
How do I know if I am a good candidate for a hair transplant? Can I send some photographs so that you can assess my alopecia and tell me whether I am a good candidate or not for a transplant? How should I take these photos?
The best and simplest way is to use a digital camera and send the images to us by e-mail in JPEG format. We would need to have good clear images of the donor site (the back of the scalp from where the hair follicles used in the transplant are extracted) and the recipient site (the area of hair loss where the hair follicles from the back of the scalp will be implanted). Photographs should be taken from the angles as described and seen below:
How many grafts might I need in my particular case?
The number of grafts that are transplanted in a session will depend on the area to be covered. THE NUMBER OF FOLLICLES TRANSPLANTED REFLECTS THE NUMBER OF FOLLICLES THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO TRANSPLANT, BUT NOT NECESSARILY THE NUMBER THAT IT IS WISHED TO TRANSPLANT. Larger areas may require 3,000 or more follicular units in each session, smaller areas between 500 and 1000 units.
We are essentially talking about a mathematical relationship; a certain number of follicular units can be inserted depending on the size of the area that needs to be covered.
There are cases in which a single session may be sufficient but, depending on the extent of the hair loss, 2 or more sessions may be required. Hair density and volume will increase with each transplant session, and the result will be correspondingly better. A period of around 8-9 months is required between sessions (if more than one session Is required) to allow the transplanted hair to grow and to see how much of the area has been covered.
What are the possible complications that can occur with hair transplants?
Hair transplantation is considered the safest of all cosmetic surgery procedures and the one with the fewest possible complications. Though they are very uncommon and of relatively low importance, the patient should be aware of the following:
- Poor graft growth. This is the most frustrating situation that we, as hair transplant surgeons, face. In most patients, 80-100% of the transplanted hair begins to grow at around 4 months. In some patients, this growth can be slower, taking place up to 8-12 months after the transplant. However, and in fortunately a very few patients, less implants begin to grow than hoped for (less than 50%). Nobody is sure why. One of the world’s most experienced surgeons, the Australian Dr. Richard Shiell, has reported that 1% of patients may experience poor graft growth for unknown reasons, the so-called X factor (Poor hair growth after hair transplantation: the X factor. In Hair Replacement. Mosby 1996; pages 314-16: Stough D, Haber B.).
- Swelling on the forehead (edema). Some patients (10%) may develop a slight local swelling on the forehead which tends to appear the 2nd day after the session and lasts 2-3 days. It is caused by local anaesthetic infiltration and disappears shortly after its appearance.
- Sensation of numbness of the scalp skin. This usually lasts from 3 to 18 months. Very few patients note this sensation. It causes no discomfort and has no consequences of any importance.
- Infection. An extremely rare occurrence (<1%), and one which has never affected a patient of Dr. Jiménez. An antibiotic is administered before the intervention to avoid the minimum risk of this happening.
Instructions before the transplant surgery
Before the hair transplant surgery is performed, the patient should follow the instructions described below:
I. The following analytical studies should be carried out:
- Hemogram blood test (complete blood count)
- PT (Prothrombin Time) and APTT (Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time) coagulation tests
- Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus and HIV
II. If the hair transplant involves the donor strip (FUT) method, the patient should allow the hair at the donor site (back of the scalp) to grow to a length of at least 2 cm. If the individual hair follicle extraction (FUE) method is to be employed, then it is best to have the hair as closely shaven as possible.
III. Very important: DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN or products containing aspirin (e.g. Couldina®, Frenadol®, Adiro®, etc) during 1 WEEK BEFORE and 3 DAYS AFTER the transplant. If a painkiller is required or a high temperature needs to be lowered, paracetamol or a paracetamol containing product can be used (e.g. Gelocatil®).
IV. No alcoholic beverage should be consumed for 48 hours before the hair transplant surgery.
V. Use of topical Minoxidil® should be stopped at least two weeks before the transplant.
VI. The head should be washed with a mild shampoo the night before and the morning after the transplant.
VII. A light breakfast or snack can be consumed before coming to the clinic on the day of the transplant.
After termination of the hair transplant session, the patient should follow the instructions described below:
I. Avoid driving. It is better to take a taxi or arrange some other means of transport.
II. Eat something shortly after leaving the clinic.
III. Do not do any intense physical exercise for at least 5 days.
IV. A saline spray (which the clinic will provide) should be applied to the transplanted area each 3-4 hours the day following the transplant.
V. The day following the transplant the patient should return to the clinic for a hair wash. After 48 hours the hair can be washed on a daily basis, very softly touching the transplanted areas during the first 4 days and with gentle rubbing until the 7th day. After one week a normal rubbing and lathering motion can be used. When combing or brushing the hair, care should be taken not to touch the scalp in the implanted area until the 4th day after the transplant.
VI. Very small white scabs will form over the grafts which will begin to fall around the 7th day after the transplant. Some of the scabs that fall may contain transplanted hairs, but this does not mean that the transplanted hair will not grow again.
Hair shafts will generally begin to emerge from the grafts during the 3rd or 4th month after the transplant, growing at a rate of 1 cm each month. A progressive improvement will be apparent from between the 3rd and the 9th or 10th month after the transplant.
VII. If the donor strip (FUT) method has been used, the stitches will be removed after 7-10 days (unless dissolvable stitches have been used in which case they will fall out of their own accord).
VIII. Patient follow-up will take place 8 and 12 months after the transplant via contact by telephone and an arranged appointment in the clinic.
How long before I can resume my normal daily activity?
The length of time varies depending on the type of work that is done. Some people can continue with their normal daily activity the following day, others prefer to wait 3-4 days, while some prefer to wait until the scabs that form over the grafts have fallen out (7-10 days).
If I do not live on the island should I stay the night in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria after the transplant?
It is advisable to spend the night after the transplant in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in order to attend the clinic the following day for a hair wash and to assess the post-transplant evolution. With this exception, the patient is free to travel wherever required or, of course, to stay longer in Gran Canaria.
After the transplant, when should I return for a check-up?
The time for the first check-up is 8 months post-transplant, after which point, and if required, another transplant session can be undertaken.
What happens if I do not see any hair growth in the transplanted area 3-4 months after the transplant?
Don’t give up hope. New hair normally emerges from the graft site at around 3-4 months, but in some patients this can take somewhat longer (up to 8-12 months). It should also be remembered that once the hair begins to appear it grows slowly, at a rate of 1 cm each month, and so 3 to 4 months more are needed to acquire a hair length of 3-4 centimetres and before a more noticeable hair density becomes apparent.
How and when do I pay for the transplant?
Payment for the transplant should be made on the day of the transplant itself. A deposit of approximately 10% of the total price is required before we can assign a specific day for the procedure to take place in the clinic.
Will it be Dr. Jiménez Acosta himself who performs the hair transplantation?
In many clinics, particularly franchise-type clinics, the patient very often does not know the surgeon who will perform the transplant. This seems to us to be a lack of professionalism and respect towards the patient.
In our clinic, Dr. Jiménez himself will perform the transplant, though obviously assisted by a team of 4-5 staff personally trained by Dr. Jiménez.
Our transplant team normally consists of between 4 and 6 staff members, as this is an extremely meticulous technique which requires specialist training. For graft dissection, we have 3-4 technicians cutting the follicles under the microscope and, at the same time, two more inserting the grafts.
With the FUE technique, Dr. Jiménez performs all the extractions.
Do I have to sign an informed consent form on the day of the transplant?
Yes. It is a legal requirement that any person who is to undergo a surgical intervention, however simple it may be, must sign an informed consent form.
The informed consent forms for the FUT and for the FUE procedures can be consulted by clicking on the respective links below:
Once I have taken the decision to have a hair transplant procedure in Mediteknia, what do I need to do next?
The steps to take are as follows:
- If you live in Gran Canaria or a nearby island, we recommend that you come personally to our clinic to allow us to assess your hair loss and offer you the best possible advice. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Jiménez, please contact us by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (928 232278).
- If you live in Tenerife, Dr. Jiménez travels to the island one Saturday each month to personally speak with those who have expressed an interest in the procedure. For more details and to arrange an appointment, please contact us by e-mail (email@example.com) or phone (928 232278).
- If you do not live in the Canary Islands you can send an ‘information request’ which you will find in the ‘contact’ section’ of our website and send the necessary photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we have received the photographs and assessed your case, we will contact you and, if so desired, arrange a date for the transplant.