This term is common place in the hair industry and is a broad term used to describe the numerous procedures available to replace lost hair. They typically fall into two categories which are:
The following describes Surgical Hair replacement options:
Surgical hair replacement is the replacement of hair by surgical means. It can also be termed as hair restoration surgery. The surgery is suitable for men and women suffering the effects of genetic balding / thinning and is a permanent solution to the problem.
During this procedure, hair follicles are taken from a donor site and then placed individually in the balding area. The region in which the hair is taken from (the donor site) is important as the hairs need to be unreceptive to the effects of the balding process, which is usually an area of hair that exists at the back and sides of the head and is available even in the baldest of scalps. Once established, these implanted hairs will continue to grow permanently and naturally.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia. Modern transplantation is called ‘Follicular Hair Transplantation’. With this process a band of skin approximately 1 cm wide containing the permanently growing hair, is surgically removed from the desired area of scalp, this is called the ‘excision’. Precision is required for this procedure as a band of skin too wide can prevent a neatly sutured area, with the possibility of creating a scarred line. Once removed, the band of donor tissue is dissected, and the hair follicles are removed. The hair follicles are then transplanted into tiny surgical sites made in the required areas of the scalp. Once the hair is transplanted, it functions as before and continues to grow naturally. The transplanted hair begins to grow again around 14-16 weeks post surgery but significant growth will take around 6 months.
Many techniques for this procedure have progressed over the years. Early surgeries involved 4mm circular areas of hair bearing scalp being removed and then repositioned in row like deposits. This was often unappealing and was frequently referred to as a ‘dolls head’ effect. Thankfully this type of procedure was being replaced by a better technique using smaller ‘mini’ grafts which were then transplanted into small holes on the scalp. This giving a far less ‘tuft-like’ appearance. Hairline areas were also given a softer more natural line using micro grafting.
There are numerous types of non surgical hair replacement and as the name implies there is no surgery involved in these types of hair treatments. These procedures may also be referred to (amongst others) as: non surgical hair replacement systems, natural hair replacement solutions, wigs, toupees, hair extensions, and hair weaves.
Hair replacement systems often refer to modern high-end toupees and wigs. These hair systems are bespoke for the clients needs, using the finest quality often European or Asian hair exacting to the clients needs. The hair is made to order using an extremely durable mesh base which can be colour selected to match skin tone. The hair is attached to this mesh base foundation using special hand knotting techniques that fasten the hair to the base. This method also allows for the “knots” to disappear on the base, giving the illusion of hair growing out of the head. Some integrated systems can even add volume to fine hair. The method of attachment varies from weaving to the existing hair or bonding to the scalp. The main difference these hair systems have to conventional wigs, is that in general wigs cover the entire head and are fitted over the scalp or by using a tape. Wigs can be made from synthetic hair, human hair, or even a mixture of both.
Wigs and toupees can be made to order and are called ‘bespoke’ or can be purchased ready made then ordered by size, colour and style required. Wigs generally cover the entire head whereas a toupee is a hair piece that covers a bald area. Price varies enormously from: whether it’s made from human hair or synthetic / artificial hair, the type style and length. Bespoke is made specific to the individual and are the more expensive variety, they are usually styled and fitted for the client.
Hair extensions are lengths of hair which are added to existing hair. The extensions again, can be made from artificial synthetic hair or human hair. Methods of attachment vary from bonding, weaving, braiding, or clip on. The extensions that clip into the hair are easy to apply by the wearer and can be purchased in many different varieties. More permanent hair extensions need to be fitted professionally. The method of attachment differs greatly but the most widely used method is bonding using glue. These extensions can be worn for several months before needing maintenance. The hair extensions can extend existing hair, provide volume, and even add highlights.