man may require up to 1,000 grafts to get good coverage of a bald area; consequently, a series of surgeries scheduled three to four months apart is usually required. Individuals may be completely awake during the procedure with just a local anesthetic drug applied to numb the areas of the scalp. Some persons may be given a drug to help them relax or may be given an anesthetic drug that puts them to sleep.
The most common transplant procedure uses a thin strip of hair and scalp from the back of the head. This strip is cut into smaller clumps of five or six hairs. Tiny slits are made in the balding area of the scalp, and a clump is implanted into each slit. The doctor performing the surgery will attempt to recreate a natural-looking hairline along the forehead. Minigrafts, micrografts, or implants of single hair follicles can be used to fill in between larger implant sites and can provide a more natural-looking hairline. The implants will also be arranged so that thick and thin hairs are interspersed and the hair will grow in the same direction.
Another type of hair replacement surgery is called scalp reduction. This involves removing some of the skin from the hairless area and "stretching" some of the nearby hair-covered scalp over the cut-away area.
Health insurance will not pay for hair transplants that are performed for cosmetic reasons. Insurance plans may pay for hair replacement surgery to correct hair loss due to accidents, burns, or disease.
It is important to be realistic about what the final result of a hair transplant will look like. This procedure does not create new hair. Rather, it simply redistributes the hair that an individual still has. Chest hair has been experimentally transplanted onto the scalp. As of 2003, this procedure has not been widely used.
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