Surgical Hair Restoration Information

As a surgical method of restoring hair, hair transplants get all the attention. However, there are some other forms of surgery that can also restore hair growth to bald areas of the head or at least reduce the amount of bald pate showing.

These other surgical hair restoration procedures are not performed as frequently as hair transplantation, but they can be helpful in special circumstances, such as dealing with bald areas caused by trauma or conditions such as alopecia areata.

Scalp reduction surgery is a procedure that takes advantage of the natural stretchiness of skin. The surgeon removes a section of bald skin and judiciously pulls up the hair-bearing portions of the scalp so that they cover more of the head. For some people, this is all that needs to be done and they are happy with the results. There are several ways to place the incisions in this procedure and you and your surgeon will pick the one that is most suitable.

However, scalp reduction can be performed in conjunction with hair transplantation. Scalp reduction greatly reduces the bald area that needs to have the transplants, making the whole process easier and faster. Scalp reduction can also be performed in conjunction with a brow lift, which can smooth furrows from the forehead.

You are a good candidate for scalp reduction surgery if you are in good health and have a good amount of hair-bearing scalp at the sides of your head (or at the sides of the area where you have a bald spot). Your scalp should be elastic and not too tight, since it will have to be stretched somewhat. You may not be a good candidate if your hair loss is progressing rapidly and is expected to keep doing so.

As with all surgery, there is the risk of infection and excessive bleeding. You may not heal well and may be left with a visible scar.

Scalp flap surgery is a technique in which a flap of hair-bearing scalp is detached and moved or rotated to cover a bald area. This procedure is used more commonly in reconstruction surgery after trauma to the scalp or for congenital defects. It has limited application in cosmetic hair restoration, but can be used effectively. A scalp flap procedure can result in a good head of hair quite quickly. As with scalp reduction procedures, it can be combined with hair transplantation techniques.

Scalp flap surgery takes planning because it can involve a series of procedures a week or so apart. The surgeon must take care to note in which direction the hair grows on the flap so that it will look natural later. The surgeon must ensure that the flap has a good blood supply. Most flaps are moved with their arteries and veins still attached so that they maintain a blood supply. However, the flap can be detached completely, with the surgeon performing microsurgery to reattach arteries and veins.

Complications of this surgery include infection and death of the repositioned tissue from a problem with blood supply. This is a surgery that should be performed by a surgeon who is well trained and very experienced not only in transferring scalp tissue, but in selecting the patients who would benefit from it most.

Scalp expansion surgery also involves moving hair-bearing scalp and removing bald areas. However, the area of hair-bearing scalp is expanded first by slowly stretching it. This is done by inserting one or more devices under the scalp that slowly expands it and causes it to stretch and grow. In cases of male pattern baldness, the devices would be placed at the sides of the head, under hair-bearing sections of scalp.

Starting a week or two after insertion, the device or devices are expanded every few days, stretching the scalp. This process can take several weeks and the shape of the head will look strange during that period.

When the scalp has been suitably expanded, the devices are deflated and removed. The surgeon then performs what is essentially a scalp reduction by removing bald areas of scalp and bringing together the hair-bearing sections that have been expanded so that they can cover the head or most of the head.

Scalp expansion, like scalp flap surgery, is not commonly done to treat male pattern baldness. It is more commonly done to correct bald areas left by trauma or disease.

As with the other forms of scalp surgery, complications include infection and excessive bleeding. Scalp expansion also involves a few weeks of having a head that looks misshapen by the expansion devices.

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