Donor Area

by admin
February 28, 2017
A staggering 70% of men (and 40% of women) will suffer from hair loss at some point in their lives. By far the greatest factor for potential hair loss is a genetic predisposition.

Men go bald because they have testosterone sensitive receptors on the hair follicles at the front and top of their heads. Genetics determine that when hormonal changes occur, men will lose their hair and go bald. Hair at the back and sides of the head (the horseshoe) do not have these testosterone sensitive receptors, and therefore doesn’t fall out. The good news is that the hair from the horseshoe area can be used as donor hair to fill in the other balding places. The bad news is you only have a finite amount of donor hair.
Thérapie Hair Restoration Clinic mainly transplants the frontal area and the mid-scalp; on occasion, we will also do the crown. In the vast majority of cases, we do the front and the mid-scalp because it frames the face. Your hairline acts as a frame for your face and changes the aspect ratio of your face. Think of a painting. It looks slightly different once it has a frame around it.

Dr Andre Nel, the resident surgeon at the Thérapie Hair Restoration Clinic, explains that they have certain criteria that need to be met before they transplant in the crown area. It takes many follicles to fill the circular area and the ‘whirl’ where the hair spins off makes it difficult to create the ‘cross over shingling effect’ that he relies on for hair transplantation.

In terms of harvesting donor hair, a conscientious surgeon will examine the donor areas and figure out what percentage of existing follicles can be appropriately harvested. Aggressive harvesting is not practised at the Thérapie Hair Restoration Clinic because it would leave noticeably large spaces of missing follicles, which would take some time to become hidden again. Factors like the thickness, curl, and density of your follicles need to be taken into account when determining how much hair is appropriate to harvest.

There is a method for deciding which areas to extract from and how many grafts or hairs will be needed. The area for the extraction of follicle units is measured and sectioned into three areas – both sides of the head and the back of the scalp. The total surface area is then calculated. The density is measured in each area and averaged out for an overall density. The groupings of follicular units are measured and an average is taken. This allows your surgeon to calculate the number of grafts responsibly available for extraction.

In the surgical process, strips of hair are removed from the horseshoe donor area and grafted onto the top of the head in strips or single follicles. The strips go on top of the head to create density, while the single follicles are used in areas that will catch the eye such as the hairline. This gives a more natural looking result, but the entire procedure can take up to two days to complete. Dr Nel notes that the procedure is 70% art and only 30% science.

The goal when harvesting from the donor area is to avoid any noticeable thinning or large amounts of visible scarring. A patient’s health and appearance are of utmost importance to us and the Thérapie Hair Restoration Clinic concedes only to make decisions based on what is best for each patient individually.
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