Alopecia is the term used to define hair loss or baldness medically. It is a general definition for any kind of hair loss such as male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss, hair loss caused by scarring or any other illness.
In an etymological sense, the word “alopecia” means “fox” or “fox’s magne” in Ancient Greek and it is related to human hair in scientific terminology.
Androgenetic alopecia, also known as “male pattern baldness”, is the most common reason for hair loss for men. However, as it defines a baldness pattern, women who suffer from hair loss may also have the same pattern and their hair loss can be diagnosed as male pattern baldness and treated accordingly.
The main reason for this pattern is the hormones, such as DHT, that are inherited from the genetics of the person.
Alopecia Areata, also known as “spot baldness”, is a pattern of hair loss that occurs in circular patches on the scalp. This pattern has the tendency to expand into other areas with hair, such as body hair, eyebrows, beard and moustache or even the whole scalp.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to treat alopecia areata with hair transplantation. The only viable treatment alternative is steroid injections or medicine based treatment by a dermatologist.
Alopecia Reduction, also known as “scalp reduction”, is an older treatment alternative for hair loss. It is a fairly invasive procedure. In scalp reduction, a thin strip of skin with no hair is removed completely, stretched onto the skin with hair and stitched by a doctor.
Scalp reduction is not a method of hair distribution or transplantation but a skin removal technique. In certain cases, the method can be performed more than once.
Crown area, also known as the “vertex”, defines the top area of the head. Etymologically, the word “vertex” stands for “whirlpool” in Latin. Likewise, in the “vertex” area, the hair growth is in a spiral or swirling pattern, looking like a whirlpool.
The most common hair loss patterns have a tendency to start from the crown area or the frontal part of the scalp and a hair transplant surgeon plans the treatment according to the receding volume on the crown area.
Density is the thickness and the number of hair in a specific area that is measured in grafts/hairs per cm². Density indicates the volume of hair on the scalp and it is a very vital element in hair transplantation treatment plans.
The available number of grafts, the areas to be implanted, the thickness of the hair and the number of hair that a graft holds are various aspects that determine the density of the hair after the operation.
DHI, also known as Direct Hair Implantation, is a type of hair transplant involving extracting hair follicles individually and then directly implanting them into the recipient area. It is a labour-intensive hair transplantation technique and a tool is used called a Choi Implanter Pen. In the DHI method, the canal opening stage of other hair transplant methods is skipped, so there is no need to create slits or holes.
The DHI method also helps with more density on the transplanted area because, compared to FUE, a higher number of grafts can be implanted on the same area. Also, in particular cases, DHI allows unshaven hair transplant, that is only the transplantation area of the hair is shaved and other parts can remain the same during and after the operation.
Donor area, also known as the “donor site”, is the area where hair follicles are extracted for implantation. In most cases, the hair on the donor area is immune to hair loss. It is because DHT hormone does not affect the hair on this area. That’s why this particular area is ideal for hair transplant. Thanks to the immunity, the transplanted hair never falls again.
On the scalp, the donor area is usually in the back of the head and between the two ears. Donor area can also be anywhere on the face or the body. The strength of the donor area determines the number of grafts available for hair transplantation.
Donor dominance is the principle that hair follicles transplanted from the donor area will keep their characteristics and continue to grow in the recipient area. Discovered in 1950, this principle enables the possibility of hair transplantation that we know of today.
Thanks to this principle, the hair follicles extracted from the donor area can grow anywhere on the skin and thanks to their immunity to hair loss, the extracted hair follicles are always permanent.
Female pattern baldness, also known as “female hereditary hair thinning” or “androgenetic alopecia”, is the type of hair loss that affects women. Female pattern baldness is inherited from genetic predisposition. The cause may also be related to hormonal affections as well. In female pattern baldness, the hair loss usually occurs with more diffusion across the top of the head.
Female pattern baldness is separated into three categories: Christmas Tree Pattern, Ludwig (Generalized Hair Loss) and Male Pattern Baldness.
A follicular unit is a group of hair follicles usually consisting of one, two, three or four hair. The average number of hair on a follicular unit is 2.4, but it changes depending on several factors such as genetic inheritence and ethnicity. For example, people with African origin have the tendency to have more hair on a single follicular unit.
In hair transplant operations, follicular units are divided into single grafts and the grafts are used for the implantation process.
Follicular Unit Excision, also known as “Follicular Unit Extraction”, is a type of hair transplant technique that is most commonly performed globally. During the procedure, each follicular unit is individually excised with a micro-punch and moved from the permanent donor area to the area of hair loss called the recipient area.
In FUE Hair Transplant, unlike FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) no strip of tissue is removed. Therefore, hair transplant performed by the FUE technique is known to be less invasive compared to FUT. FUE enables much shorter recovery time and nearly invisible scar formation.
A follicular unit graft is a graft that consists of a single follicular unit of 1 to 4 hairs. Follicular unit grafts are used in follicular unit hair transplant procedures such as the FUT and FUE. The follicular unit grafts are intact and implemented to the recipient areas. As a result of the donor dominance principle, implanted follicular unit grafts are immune to hair loss if they are extracted from the donor area.
Follicular unit grafts are separated and grouped based on the number of hair they include so that they can be implanted to needed areas on the scalp. For example, follicular unit grafts with more hair tend to be implanted on the frontal part of the scalp for more density.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) also known as the Strip Harvesting Method, FUT is a type of hair transplant technique that involves the removal of a strip of tissue, with hair follicles on it, from the donor area (generally from the back of the scalp). Then hair follicles are collected from this strip of tissue and implanted into the recipient areas.
Hair transplant by using the FUT technique is mostly outdated and is not preferred to be performed by many hair transplant clinics. This is because unlike hair transplant by FUE method, FUT hair transplant promises longer recovery time and scarring.
A graft is a single follicular unit (a group of hair follicles usually consisting of one, two, three or four hair roots) transplanted in the recipient area during a hair transplantation treatment. These units are taken individually from the donor areas using the FUE technique with a micromotor. Then, they are implemented into the balding areas.
The number of grafts to be implanted in a hair transplant treatment varies from one patient to another depending on the needs, circumstances, and expectations of each patient.
Hair follicle is a strand of hair with its root that is taken from the donor area and implanted into the recipient area in a hair transplant procedure. Terminologically, hair follicle can also be used to define graft interchangeably.
However, there is a difference between a hair follicle and a graft. Hair follicle is the place where the hair grows while a graft is the combination of a hair follicle and a follicular unit.
Hair transplant is a surgical way to reverse the effects of hair loss involving the implementation of hair follicles from the donor area to the recipient area. Both men and women can have a hair transplant as a solution to their hair loss problem as long as the reason for their hair loss is male or female pattern baldness.
There are different types of hair transplantation treatments such as the FUE, Sapphire, and DHI Hair Transplant. Each method comes with its advantages and the best and the most suitable method for a patient is determined by the doctor.
Hair cloning is the process that replicates and multiples healthy hair follicles. It involves the replication of hair follicles and transplantation of the cloned hair follicles into the balding/recipient areas.
Hair cloning aims to eliminate hair loss issues and baldness. However, hair cloning has yet to offer a solution for hair loss issues. Although there are many companies working on hair cloning and there are some promising results, research and development on hair cloning is still underway.
Ludwig scale is used to classify female pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia). The scale is from 1 to 3; with 1 referring to the mild hair loss, 2 moderate hair loss, and 3 extensive hair loss.
Grade 1 refers to the receding hair on the top of the head.
Grade 2 hair loss on the top of the scalp becomes highly visible.
Grade 3 refers to complete baldness at the top of the scalp.
Ludwig scale is considered used merely for general categorization. Many women do not actually fit into the Ludwig stages.
Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a hereditary condition for men that causes hair loss. Male pattern baldness may start after puberty and gradually result in complete baldness. Usually, the crown and the hairline areas are mostly affected by hair loss.
Male pattern baldness is classified according to the Norwood Hamilton Scale with 7 different levels and various sub-levels. Hair transplant works with the best results for patients who suffer from male pattern baldness. The hair transplant surgeon classifies the scale of the male pattern baldness and arranges the treatment plan accordingly.
Micrograft is a type of graft that indicates the contained number of hair. A micrograft contains 1-2 hairs. During the extraction phase of the operation, micrografts, small mini grafts and large mini grafts are separated from each other. After the grouping, the grafts are stored carefully to ensure their health.
The grouped grafts are used during the implantation phase and the hair transplant surgeon picks particular grafts for particular areas of the scalp based on the treatment plan.
Midscalp is a subregional area on the scalp that lies between the frontal and the crown areas. Generally, a hair transplant operation either starts from crown area to frontal area or from frontal area to crown area.
Standing between the frontal area and crown area, the density on the midscalp affects the appearance of the adjacent areas. Therefore, hair transplant doctors take the midscalp region into very attentive consideration.
Mini graft is a type of graft that has two different sizes based on the number of hair contained in a graft. The first mini graft type is called “Small Minigraft” and it contains 3 or 4 hairs. The second mini graft type is called “Large Minigraft” and it contains 5 or 6 hairs.
Contrary to micrografts which are usually used to cover the crown and midscalp areas of the head, minigrafts are the perfect grafts to be implanted on the frontal part because more hair will come out of minigrafts and this will lead to better density and volume.
Minoxidil is a medication used to slow down the pace of hair loss. It is a topical medication and applied to the skin of the head directly. Minoxidil can be used by males and females. It is proven that the medication is able to slow down or pause the hair loss, but it does not cure the hair loss or promote any hair growth on a balding area.
Hair loss medication may not be the right option for everyone. Therefore, they should only be taken following the advice of a doctor.
Needleless Anaesthesia, also known as the needle-free anaesthesia, is a type of anaesthesia that uses pressure to numb the area. Needle-Free Numbing Medication Injectors, also known as Jet Injector, are used for this type of local anaesthesia that uses air pressure.
The air pressure ensures a super-fast (less than one-third of a second) penetration through the skin. Up to 0.5 ml/50 units of any subcutaneous liquid anaesthetic medication can be applied in one shot. So, patients do not feel the pain of a needle during anaesthesia.
Norwood Scale, also known as the Norwood Hamilton Scale, is coined by O’Tar Norwood. Norwood Scale is a hair loss scale for men. It measures the severity of male baldness. The scale is from 1 to 7; 1 referring to the least severe degree of hair loss and 7 is the most severe.
Norwood Scale is accepted by all the hair transplant surgeons and it is only viable for male pattern baldness. After a patient’s Norwood Scale level is diagnosed, a detailed treatment plan can be arranged to have expected results.
Recipient area, also known as recipient site, is the balding area where hair loss has occurred and hair follicles gathered from the donor areas are transplanted. The recipient area does not have to be the head but can be anywhere on the body such as the beard, moustache and eyebrow.
As the recipient area is covered with implanted hair from the donor area which is immune to hair loss, the transplanted hair remains intact and permanent on the recipient site.
Sapphire Hair Transplant, also known as the Percutaneous Hair Transplantation or Sapphire FUE, Sapphire Hair Transplantation is one of the methods of FUE Hair Transplant. In the percutaneous technique, the canals or the holes are opened by the special sapphire blades with superfine needles instead of slits in the Classic FUE.
In Sapphire Hair Transplant, the holes have a round shape instead of a lateral one. This way, each hole will have precisely the same size as the diameter of the hair follicles which means each hole is very small and tiny.
Shedding phase, also known as shock loss or shock hair loss, is a normal and usual process happening after a hair transplant. Shedding starts around 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery. Shedding process is caused by the trauma that the skin experiences during the hair transplant procedure and happens to make a room for new hair.
After the shedding phase, the new hair will start to grow and the regrowth will be permanent.
Temples or Temporal area is usually among the first areas affected by male baldness, it is the two upper outer corners where the forehead meets the hairline. The hair loss starting from the temporal area follows a downward route.
The most known temporal hair loss pattern is bitemporal recession which happens when the two sides of the temporal area have receding hair and the frontal part remains with hair.
Trichologist is a medical person specialised in hair, scalp, and hair loss treatments including hair transplantation. Etymologically, “trikhos” means “hair” in Ancient Greek and this is where trichology and trichologist takes its name.
Trichologists do not only perform hair transplant operations but they are experts on the treatment of many hair loss illnesses such as hair-pulling disorder, hair breakage and alopecia. Although they are not authorized to prescribe medicines as doctors, they had a very specialized training on the hair loss treatments.