When it comes to surgical procedures for dealing with hair loss, Hair Transplantation is the most popular option these days – this involves taking hair follicles from areas where there is still growth (usually the back and sides of the head) and transferring them to bald or thinning areas. But let’s look back at a slightly dated form of hair surgery, popular in the eighties and early 90’s – a ‘scalp reduction’.
Warning – Not for the faint hearted!
What is Scalp Reduction?
Scalp Reduction surgery involves cutting open the scalp and stretching the area of skin that can still produce hair over the area that is bald and no longer capable of growing hair.
How Does Scalp Reduction Surgery work?
Scalp Reduction surgery starts with the insertion of a balloon like device under the area of scalp with hair that is closest to the bald area. The balloon is filled with a salt-water solution to expand the tissue. Once the tissue has expanded to the required point, the balloon is removed and the bald area is cut away. The new, stretched skin is pulled over the gap and sewn up. In a single operation up to 5cm in width can be removed, resulting in an immediate reduction in the size of the bald area.
For larger areas of baldness, Flap Surgery might be more suitable if the size of donor area is suitable. With flap surgery a section of the bald scalp is cut away and a section of the healthy scalp is lifted from the head while still attached to the blood vessels – a similar concept to a skin-graft. The flap is pulled over the exposed area and attached to the remaining skin. The procedure is performed in this way to keep the hair follicles from the flap in constant contact with the blood supply which speeds the healing process and claims to help hair to grow without any delay. However, this procedure involves a minimum of 3 operations which are extremely complicated.
What Other Less Daunting Options Are Available?
Flap Surgery is rarely performed in this day and age as it is a lengthy and complicated procedure that also often results in scarring and an unnatural look. The procedure has been replaced by more modern, effective and less invasive techniques.
Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at The Belgravia Centre says, “The complications with Scalp Reduction and Flap Surgery include partial or complete failure of the flap, visible scarring along the hairline or donor area and most significantly, with the further progression of hair loss a potential unnatural appearance.”
“The most modern surgical hair restoration technique is FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction but much of the time the right combination of medications will offer as good as, if not better results than surgery depending on the extent of the subject’s hair loss. FUE involves carefully transplanting active follicles from an area of dense hair growth to an area of baldness or thinning hair and the results can look very natural.”
“However, seeking the optimum non-surgical treatment combinations can result in levels of regrowth that vary from person to person. Smooth areas of total baldness will not be restored so surgery may be necessary for areas such as a receding hairline, but where there is still thin hair anything is possible so giving treatment a go for at least 6 months is always advised before deciding on surgery. In any event the use of preventative treatments are necessary following surgical hair replacement in order to maintain the areas of hair that are still susceptible to hair loss”.
Finding the Best Hair Restoration Option For You?
The Belgravia Centre offers a free consultation with a hair loss specialist who will examine your hair and scalp and recommend the most suitable surgical or non-surgical option for you. Alternatively, the online diagnostic form in most cases provides Belgravia’s trichologists with all of the information required to offer advice on the best solution.
To book a consultation you can call the centre on 020 7730 6666 or send an instant message. The appointment is free of charge and will take about 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, to submit an online diagnostic form please use the link – a treatment advisor will be in contact.