What’s the Difference Between Nonsurgical and Surgical Hair Replacement?

There are numerous differences between surgical and non-surgical hair replacement solutions. One of the most important is of course, the gravity and seriousness of an invasive procedure compared to a non-invasive one.

Far too many men and women are far too keen to simply jump into a surgical procedure, without first considering whether it is right for them. An invasive or irreversible hair-loss procedure may be more effective, it may be longer lasting or even cheaper than monthly treatments in the grand scheme of things – but it also involves a lot more pain and a lot more risk.

ID#:4809 - : The favus on this patient’s scalp...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are several different surgical procedures that can be used to restore hair lost through serious illness, injury or premature balding. They include micro grafting, slit grafting, punch grafting and scalp reduction. All involve surgically removing or changing small portions of a patient’s scalp.

Slit grafting, punch grafting and micro grafting are very similar procedures. A surgeon cuts away a small portion of the still hair-bearing scalp (often whilst a patient is sedated and anesthetised but fully conscious) and transplants it to the balding part of the head. This process can be repeated up to 50 times, or until a patient’s hair begins to look more even.

A scalp reduction on the other hand, is even more invasive. Non-hair bearing pieces of scalp are permanently removed, so that the still healthy pieces can be stretched to fill large bald spots. Scalp reduction can be very effective, but it is also the most painful and usually the most expensive of all hair-loss treatments.

Non-surgical treatments, on the other hand, differ greatly. There are many of them, most are relatively inexpensive and very few cause discomfort of any kind. There will always be a risk of side effects with pharmacy prescribed medications like finasteride or minoxidil, but they tend to be very rare. It is important to note that there aren’t any hair-loss treatments (surgical or non-surgical) currently available for free on the NHS, so even this type of solution can be expensive in some cases.

To reiterate, the most important difference between surgical and non-surgical hair replacement is simply the gravity of the procedure. A good hair surgeon will always advise a potential patient to try non-invasive procedures before deciding upon surgery. Surgery is still surgery – even if it is on your head. Surgical treatments are painful. They can leave ugly scars. They take a long time to heal and a long time to be complete. The full results of a typical hair graft or scalp reduction will not be seen for up to 8 months, in some cases nearly a year.

Non-surgical hair loss treatments, if administered correctly, can sometimes be even more effective than invasive procedures. Hair replacement systems are very popular amongst men who wish to improve their appearance, but believe that surgery should be reserved for unavoidable medical circumstances. A hair replacement system is a lengthy process, but it is 100% non-invasive. It is however, extremely expensive and not permanent. Hair pieces must be regularly cleaned and changed in order to maintain the intended look.

All hair-loss patients are advised to first try non-surgical replacement procedures for a reason. Surgical hair treatments can be almost impossible to reverse. They should only be considered by those who are completely informed and in possession of all the facts – good and bad.

If you’re considering an invasive hair-loss treatment, do first experiment with the vast range of non-surgical solutions on the market. They can be medically prescribed, bought from pharmacies, performed in doctor’s offices and reputable hair-loss clinics, and they do not come with a recovery period.

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