You can now reverse that hair loss

Baldness could be a result of aging. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA

Losing hair can be discomforting, especially in the early stages of one’s life. But it is more discomforting if the person is a woman and can’t find a reason for the loss.

Sometimes people will just adjust to the new look because they will think there is no way out of it.

Losing hair is mostly hereditary but could also be a result of an accident or a natural deformity. But did you know there is a procedure through which you can prevent hair loss?

A month ago, six doctors, who had been working abroad, set shop in Kampala to start a hair loss treatment centre to conduct hair transplants.
The team reverses hair loss after making assessments on the person. The service is offered under Unity Skin Care Clinic in Kololo Kampala.

How it is done
According to Malik Ssempereza, one of the hair transplant surgeons at the clinic, hair loss is sometimes unavoidable with 50 per cent of people losing hair due to old age or some deficiencies.

Hair loss, Ssempereza says, is a result of different factors but is mostly rapid, especially when hair roots start detaching themselves from the hair follicles. The process is natural and mostly follows a genetic trend, especially among men.

Men have a hormonal effect called testosterone that makes movements and will force hair roots to detach themselves from the hair follicles at a certain stage in life.

Women can also lose hair through paternal baldness. It could be genetic or a result of old age but hair in women can also be lost through (traction alopecia). Constant pulling causes stress on the hair roots forcing them to start a gradual detachment from the hair follicles.

The impact is gradual but hair, in a very slow process will start to recede, especially from the forehead as it is pulled backwards.
But beyond this, according to Ssempereza, inflammatory diseases can attack hair follicles thus resulting in hair loss.

Other factors that can lead to hair loss include stress and some treatment procedures, especially for terminal illnesses.

Treatment for pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness can be treated using creams or forms that regrow the hair. However, this is temporary because the procedure is reversed once someone stops using the creams.

However, hair loss can be reversed permanently through follicle graft transplant commonly known as hair transplant.

Hair grows from the back to the front and because back hair is not affected by testosterone hormone, the procedure gets part of the back hair to replace the one that has been lost.

“We do not get hair from other sources. We get it from the recipient themselves,” Ssempereza says.

This, he says, is the best procedure as it involves no scarring and has minimal bleeding.

It is not a painful procedure but the only discomfort is the person is numbed, especially around the area that is being worked on.
The procedure is done in a single session and could take just a day’s work. However, this could also depend on the surface area as it has the potential to extend into a second or third day.

About the transplanted hair
Because back hair is immune to the testosterone hormone it cannot fall off. It will be just like any other hair on your body. It grows and it can be trimmed when overgrown after six or more weeks. However, the recipient will need follow up procedures that would cover a whole year to assess the progress.

Can a transplant fail?
“Yes it can, especially if procedures have been ignored,” Ssempereza says, noting that the first three days of the transplant are the most crucial.
In the first three days of the operation, he says, the area worked on should not be left dry for longer hours, “they have to be watered”.

The cost
Prices vary depending on hair follicles and circumstances under which the hair was lost. But the charges range between Shs1m and Shs5m.
“The charge for those who lost hair as a result of scars is different from those who lost it naturally,” Ssempereza says.

Getting a transplant

The person intending to do a transplant, according to Ssempereza, needs to first see a dermatologist who will access the needs and the after effects.
A transplant cannot be conducted on a person who loses hair as result of a disease unless the disease is first treated.

If the cause of hair loss is auto immune, then such a person does not need a transplant because the hair will fall off again.

Our bodies produce antibodies, which in some circumstances might wrongly attack the hair follicles thus resulting into loss of hair. This is called auto immune and because it is a natural process it does not need a transplant.

Celebrity hair transplants
Wayne Rooney. In 2011 Rooney, then 25 years conducted a hair transplant to cover a balding head.

John Travolta. He is a famous actor, who has been around for almost forever. He has conducted a hair transplant to cover up his balding head.
Nicolas Cage. He has done hair transplants. But unlike Travolta, his has been instigated by fashion.

Mel Gibson. He is one of the most well- recognised faces from Hollywood. When he started noticing his hair loss, he knew that the only way to maintain his position in the world of glamour was to get a transplant.

Ben Affleck. He might still be the hottest item in Holywood thanks to the expert touch on his hair.