Hair Transplantation and the Effect of the Hair Cycle Products
There are many aspects of HT surgery that may be discussed. The proper angles, positioning, density, grafts size and many other factors enter into determining whether a transplant is mediocre or superlative. Then, the method of graft harvesting is another issue. The debate continues to rage over the emergence of CIT - FUE Hair Transplantation as a superior extraction method over standard strip harvesting with linear scarring as a result. Then we must consider the ethics of transplanting younger men, who are often desperate, but whose best interests may be served by postponing surgical intervention. For the purposes of this discussion, however, let us consider the processes of healing and growth.
Grafts taken from the donor area and placed into the recipient zone (front, top and/or crown) behave just like any transplanted tissue; that is, the healing process is the same as any wound healing, and the nutritional requirements are identical. However, we are not concerned only with the wound healing aspects of the procedure. The transplant is only as successful as the rate of growth and the yield (the percentage of grafts that grow). We must do whatever is possible to maximize the growth of these precious follicular unit grafts; the donor resources of the balding person are not infinite.
Normally, if the HT is properly done by using the best hair transplantation tools, most of the hair shafts will shed at about 2 or 3 weeks post-operatively. Then, after about 3 months, the first of the “new” hairs will begin to emerge from below the surface of the skin. Then, over the next 8 or 9 months, the remainder of the grafts will grow in (much to the delight of the eager patient!)
This is not as simple as it seems. The grafts must be handled with great care during the procedure to avoid trauma and drying, which can cause the death of follicular tissue. Once placed, nature takes over and there is reestablishment of the graft’s blood supply. Then, the process we know as healing takes place. This process is often taken for granted, but it is a complicated and miraculous one which may easily be disrupted; however, with proper care, the healing process may be assisted by proper use of supplementary nutrients and a variety of other agents applied to the area.
Let’s talk for a moment about healing. As alien as this may sound, healing requires inflammation. Inflammation gets a “bad rap” in the popular press, but healing is characterized by this process, which is associated with redness, swelling, pain and heat. There are myriad inflammatory mediators which are released immediately and also in a delayed fashion whenever there is tissue injury. One of the first things that begins to occur is an increase in blood flow to the area of injury (and remember, injury is the same whether accidental or surgical in nature). This increased blood flow is in part responsible for the warmth, redness and swelling we see with healing/inflammation.
So, in this context, a little inflammation is a good thing. However, out-of-control inflammation can lead to problems, such as excessive scarring, pain, and tissue damage. Also, there can be excessive formation of free radicals, which are highly charged oxygen species which can damage cell membranes and even DNA. So it’s a question of balance. Another factor is the potential for infection. Whenever the normal protective barrier of the skin is violated, for instance, by cutting the skin and deeper tissues, micro-organisms may find their way in and begin to proliferate. This can lead to a local infection, which also can promote too much inflammation, scarring and tissue damage. The blood stream carries the important infection fighters of the immune system, so good blood flow is vital to preventing or fighting infection.
As the healing process continues, things begin to change. The inflammation diminishes, and the body begins to form new blood vessels in the area. Specialized cells known as fibroblasts begin to produce collagen, a protein that is part of our connective tissue. A number of chemical mediators are at play at this point; one of the most intriguing is nitric oxide (NO), not to be confused with nitrous oxide, or laughing gas! Nitric oxide has been shown to be involved in a huge number of metabolic processes in the body, including immune system function, healing, and hair growth.
Some of the ways we have tried to assist the body in its healing capacity is through our formulation of the Hair Cycle products. They contain a number of ingredients designed to prevent infection, modify inflammation, diminish the damage caused by free radicals, and increase levels of nitric oxide. In this way, we are maximizing the ability of the body to promptly heal the surgical wounds, improve local blood flow, and allow the tissues to expend their energies nourishing the delicate grafts that are just beginning to grow. This will insure the maximum yield and the best possible cosmetic and aesthetic outcome after the procedure. Hair Transplant Photos