Hair transplants have become fairly popular among men and women. According to statistics run by the International Society for Hair Restoration (ISHR), there was a 76% increase in hair transplant procedures between 2006 and 2014, with men making up 85% of the demographics. The popularity of hair transplants is largely due to them being the single permanent solution to baldness in our time. Regardless of how many have had the procedure and how sought after it is, smooth-headed men and women interested often feel lost as to how to begin the process. In this article, we will address all the elements that need to be considered before surgery.
1. Are You A Suitable Candidate?
Before delving deeper into the topic and planning your hair transplant experience, you should probably start by learning your candidacy status. In order to be a suitable patient, you need to have a sufficient supply of donor hair. Donor hair refers to the stable hair usually found in the back of the scalp that is resistant to androgens. Surgeons extract donor hair and relocate it to bald areas. In order to be a candidate, you should have adequate donor hair to cover bald regions on the scalp.
The second condition that you should consider is the cause of hair loss. Certain categories of alopecia simply cannot be treated with hair transplants. Androgenic alopecia, traction alopecia, and traumatic alopecia make you a suitable candidate. Hair transplants cannot reverse alopecia aerate and alopecia universalist.  
If you suffer from alopecia aerate you are not a suitable candidate for hair transplants since the underlying cause is an autoimmune disorder. If you proceed with the surgery despite being diagnosed with alopecia aerate, it will most likely fail. With alopecia universalist as well, you do not make for a suitable candidate because the condition has depleted all your potential donor regions.   
2. Post and Pre-Surgery Instructions
It is important that you become familiar with pre-surgery and post-surgery instructions to discover whether you are capable of committing to the directions or not. Hair transplants depend entirely on the number of donor regions you have. In other words, if you consume the supply and neglect your scalp after surgery, odds are you will never have another chance.
Two weeks before surgery: You need to avoid the consumption of blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs. This particular precaution increases the risk of bleeding during surgery . The drugs that belong to this class of medicines are Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran, Apixaban, Heparin, and Warfarin. In addition, you should refrain from consuming blood supplements during this time period as vitamin supplements can interact with drugs and sedatives . You should also abstain from smoking and drinking alcohol as the two tend to delay the healing rates of wounds and increase the risk of infection . Finally, you should massage your scalp at least once per day for thirty minutes to stimulate blood circulation in the area.
Twenty-four hours before surgery: A day before the surgery, you are expected to thoroughly wash your scalp. The brand and type of shampoo do not matter; the important thing is that the scalp is clean. You also should not apply gels or oils. In the morning, treat yourself to a light meal before surgery begins. For your choice of clothing, pick something with a wide-collar to not disrupt your transplanted hair post-surgery.
During the first week after surgery: Your showering routine will be different. You should not apply water directly from the hose to your scalp. Instead, employ a bowl to pour water on your scalp after surgery. To avoid swelling, you should sleep at an inclined angle of 45 degrees. Moreover, during this period you should not consume alcohol or smoke tobacco for a smooth recovery. To avoid infection, apply a saline solution to your scalp a few times a day for the first week   .
During the first two weeks: Throughout the first two weeks, you should avoid direct sunlight by covering your scalp with a cap. You should avoid all sources of heat and that includes hair dryers.
3. Hair Transplant Techniques
If you find that you make for a suitable candidate for hair transplants and that both the pre-surgery and post-surgery instructions are not difficult to abide by, then your next step is to consider hair transplant techniques. You have to know the difference between the current hair transplant techniques and knowing which is more efficient. We will discuss the techniques in chronological order starting from oldest to most recent.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
follicular unit transplantation is the oldest of all technique and the least convenient of all as well. All hair transplants include similar steps: extraction of grafts, preservation of grafts, channel-opening on recipient site, and finally implantation.
In FUT the extraction phase is where the technique falls short. An entire strip of the scalp is removed and later dissected to collect follicular units. This method of extraction leaves a linear scar on the patient’s scalp. Moreover, with dissecting an entire strip of skin, there is a risk of nerve damage that could either be permanent or temporary. Post extraction, FUT does not differ from this point thereon. The second step is the preservation of grafts in Hypothermosol solutions and channel-opening in the recipient site begins. The process then comes to an end with implantation.   
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction emergence was largely motivated by the inconvenience of the FUT technique. In FUE, the extraction process is far more efficient and effective. Utilizing a micro-punch to first surround and isolate follicular units, FUE leaves microscopic scars. Later, surgeons extract the isolated follicular units with the aid of forceps. Aside from extraction FUE and FUT do not differ in the remaining phases.
4. Hair Growth Timeline After Hair Transplants
It is important that you become familiar with the hair growth timeline after hair transplantation since most patients assume the results are instantaneous. That is far from reality, the only immediate difference one would notice post a hair transplant is a new hairline. The remaining scalp area will consist mostly of scabs and blood clots. With the hairline, you can predict the final result, however, it will not be accurate. Instead, it will only provide a rough idea.
Regarding the scabbing and clots, most hair transplant hospitals provide a clinical washing session. During the session, a nurse will apply anti-clot shampoos to gently remove scabs and clots from the scalp without damaging the transplanted hair. In case the hair transplant center of your choice does not provide clinical washing sessions, enquire from your surgeon on after-care instructions.
Two weeks after surgery
During this period, your hair will begin to shed, mostly patients react with panic. However, this is actually a normal part of the procedure. The important thing to note is that your follicular units will remain intact whereas it is merely the hair falling. New healthier hair will grow to replace the hair shed. From this period up to the four-month mark, no remarkable changes will occur.
Four months after surgery
During this period, another anxiety-inducing symptom occurs that often sparks wildfire in the souls of hair transplant patients: acne. Your scalp will most likely be ridden with acne during this time period. Patients worry as they confuse this symptom with infection. To differentiate between the two, look out for persistent pain that worsens over time. The acne is folliculitis from weak follicular units that are still too brittle to penetrate the scalp.
To combat this problem, you can apply antibiotics or ointments that contain one of the following ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. You can also run warm water on your scalp during this time and it should alleviate the symptoms in within a few days. Once past the period of folliculitis, no further noteworthy changes will occur up to around eight months.
Eight months after surgery
Between the four-month mark up to eight months, your hair will grow but it will remain brittle and colorless. However, the pattern of hair growth will be more vivid. From eight months to one year, hair growth will be more noticeable and the hairs will have more pigment.
5. Risk of Infection
Whether a procedure is big or small, once it involves opening the skin, it will inherently involve a risk of infection. It is just the natural order of events. In hair transplants, the risk of infection is 1%.  However, that does not mean you should be careless with your aftercare. First and foremost, you should become familiar with symptoms of infections so you would not confuse them with recovery symptoms.
To differentiate between the two, look out for symptoms that involve redness, swelling, and pain that do not diminish and actually worsens over time. Otherwise, you are not dealing with an infection. In case of infection, you should seek professional help.
To avoid infection, you should abstain from touching your scalp and picking your scabs. You should as well, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol during this period as it affects the body’s healing mechanisms. In short, stick to the aftercare routine your surgeon provides.
6. Alleviating Recovery Symptoms
Some of the recovery symptoms patients can find unbearable. If you are one of the people who cannot handle itching, pain, bleeding read along for tips to eliminate these symptoms.
Expect bleeding that is mild in the first few days after the surgery. Usually, that will progressively diminish on its own as the wounds heal. You can attend to the bleeding by applying pressure using a sterile gauze on the bleeding area. However, while applying the gauze with light pressure, it is important to note that you should not be vigorous or rub the gauze around. During the first few days, the transplanted hair is very sensitive. Meaning, it can fall out and lead to poor results. 
Itching is possibly the worst healing symptom of all. It is unfortunate that the process of wound healing creates mechanical stress. As a result of the mechanical stress, itch nerves are activated . In any case, there is nothing much we can do to eliminate this process; however, we can alleviate the symptom.
For starters, you should avoid touching your scabs regardless of how tempting it could be. Sticking to your aftercare routine and post-surgery instructions will also help end your suffering sooner. If the situation becomes unbearable, you can visit your local pharmacist who will most likely prescribe ant-bacterial serums .
Pain is the easiest of all symptoms to deal with. Your surgeon will most likely prescribe you painkillers, however, if your surgeon did not, visit your local pharmacist and request pain killers.If you need any guidance on planning your hair transplants, session with Vera Clinic. The medical specialist can analyses your special case, help determine your candidacy, and take you through the entire process
Hair transplants are to date, the single permanent method of hair restoration. While it might sound like a magical experience, it is important to understand that hair transplants are a commitment. You should become familiar with various factor and determine for yourself whether it is currently in your abilities to abide by the instructions and tend for your scalp as it is recovering. This is because hair transplants depend entirely on the patient’s density of donor hair. In other words, if you do not care for your hair transplants chances are you may never have another chance.
In order to achieve optimal results, you need to first discover whether you are a fit candidate for the procedure or not. Next, you have to become familiar with pre-surgery and post-surgery instructions to prepare yourself for the surgery. You should as well learn the difference between infection and recovery symptoms to intervene before the situation progresses. Moreover, you should learn the difference between hair transplant techniques and their results, to choose wisely.