What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve appearance and self-esteem. Cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance because it is elective.

Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. In general, reconstructive surgery is performed to improve function, but may also be completed to approximate a normal appearance.

Reconstructive surgery is typically covered by most health insurance policies, although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage may vary greatly.

What is the recovery from cosmetic surgery like?

Each patient tolerates pain after surgery in different ways. Your surgeon will prescribe the appropriate pain medications to help minimize any discomfort. In general, most facial cosmetic operations have minimal discomfort post-operatively. Liposuction is slightly more uncomfortable, and operations that require elevation or tightening of the muscles-such as an abdominoplasty or breast augmentation can cause discomfort equal to a C-section.

What should you know about the safety of outpatient surgery?

It's important to learn about the safety of a plastic surgery procedure, as well as the expected outcome. Although thousands of people have plastic surgery every year without complications, no surgical procedure is risk-free.

How do I know what size breast implant is right for me?

The decision is based on a number of factors, including the patient's desires, reasons for the surgery and overall health.

For example, are you doing it because you feel your breasts are too small relative to your body contour or are you unhappy with the size and firmness of your breasts following pregnancy, breastfeeding or major weight loss? Unevenness between the breasts can also be a motivating factor. Your surgeon can help you make the right decision during your pre-surgical appointment(s).

What is the right age for plastic surgery?

There’s no hard and fast rule as to the right age for plastic surgery. Asian Hospital evaluates each cosmetic surgery patient on a case-by-case basis. During a consultation, your surgeon will take into account individual factors, such as your unique body type, size and age.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Preparing for plastic surgery procedures such as a rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast implants, reconstructive surgery or a face lift, although fairly easy, is necessary for a successful surgical outcome. The process begins with a surgical consultation in order for you to thoroughly understand what the procedure involves, the course of recovery and the ideal outcome.

Then, Asian Hospital will bring you in for a preoperative surgical interview. During the interview our nursing staff and an anesthetist will review your health history, answer your questions, give you additional instructions on surgery preparation and tell you what to expect. The interview process may take one to two hours, so please plan your schedule accordingly.

How much will it hurt?

Honestly, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised. When you read about the procedure, it seems a tad gruesome – but the fact is, there’s no pain with the surgery.

The discomfort comes from being in the chair for up to ten hours for the entire process to be completed, though you will get regular breaks.

Post-op, you might experience some mild pain but nothing that your standard painkillers can’t manage for a few days, just like with any minor surgical procedure.

 How noticeable will the scarring be?

Follicular unit grafting requires tiny incisions to the recipient area and any resultant scarring is generally invisible to the untrained eye. There will also be a small scar from the donor area at the back of your scalp, but it will be hidden under existing hair.

How long before signs of growth are visible?

After you have the procedure, initial signs of growth can take anything from three to four months due to the hair’s natural growing cycle. As your hair starts to grow, the full effects will take around eight months. At one year post-op, you’ll see the full effect.

 Will everyone know?

You’ll need a minimum of three weeks out of the loop – or you can wear a hat – due to the healing process.

After the procedure, the hair grows in very slowly but as time passes, you’ll probably have people asking if you’ve lost weight; they’ll notice ‘something’ but won’t be able to pinpoint the physical change in you, especially if you’ve only had minimal work done.

How long will I need to rest?

You’ll generally only need to take it easy for a couple of days after the procedure. Take it easy while allowing your body to recover.

Will I lose more hair because of the surgery in the area?

When work is done in areas where there is existing hair, you could possibly lose some of those hairs. It’s called ‘shock loss’ and happens especially if the hair is weak and miniaturising (which is why you’re having the work done in the first place).

What drugs are available for treatment of baldness?

Presently, there are only two approved drugs;

  • Minoxidil lotions 2% and 5% – It has to be applied daily twice over the affected area for many years.
  • Finasteride 1mg tablets (propecia) – one tablet daily.

What are the disadvantages of these drugs?

They are very safe and free from serious side effects. However, these treatments need to be taken for long duration. They are very useful in following situation:

  • Early hair loss and thinning.
  • After a hair transplant surgery to promote hair growth and to prevent further hair loss in the remaining scalp.
  • In those who rule out hair transplantation as an option.

Is there a nonsurgical method of transplantation?

There is no non-surgical method of transplantation.

What is trichogram and trichoscan?

Trichogram is a record of different phases of hair cycle. Trichoscan is an estimation of hair density, hair thickness and type of hair units, using a microscope.

These facilities are available at our center.

A Trichologist is a trained person who studies hair and hair problems. They are usually not doctors and hence are not allowed to prescribe drugs or perform surgery.

What is Hair weaving?

Hair weaving is a temporary cosmetic method of treatment. In this a wig is prepared and fixed on to the scalp with pins and clips. The weaving does not have to be removed.

However, the hairs do not grow and the person who undergoes hair weaving, will have a fixed hairstyle.

Also, frequently the pins and clips become loose and have to be tightened-thus leading to maintenance expenditure. As explained earlier, there are only two drugs for male pattern baldness and the only permanent method for treatment is hair transplantation.

Does hair transplantation really work?

Yes. The transplanted hair is removed from back of the scalp (donor site) and transferred to bald site (recipient site).

The transferred tissue is not “rejected” as it is not foreign tissue. The transplanted hair maintains it’s own characteristics; colour, texture, growth rate, and curl, after transplantation and re-growth.

The vitality of the grafted follicle is maintained by the rich blood supply to the scalp.

Can women undergo this procedure?

Yes. Women are increasingly having hair transplant operations and can undergo the procedure.

Is the cosmetic result good?

Results are excellent. With latest updates in instruments and techniques truly natural results can be achieved by transplanting small grafts very close together. It has been found that hair grows from the scalp in groups of one, two, and three hair follicles – called follicular or hair units. These hair units are transplanted resulting in a denser and more natural result.

Who is the best candidate for hair transplant?

The very best candidates for hair transplants are men in their late 20s-30s and 40s. Very young people – who are in their late teens or in their early 20s need proper counseling since baldness and the future pattern of hair loss is not yet established.

Is it a complicated procedure? Does it need admission?

The procedure is relatively simple and is performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients can go home the same day-no admission is necessary.

Are there any complications?

No surgery is without any complications but rate of complications are extremely rare when proper pre-procedure proper assessment is done by board certified plastic surgeon and the procedure is done in operation suite where other complex cosmetic surgeries are done routinely as proper infrastructure, anesthetics and recovery/ICU backup is available. You are welcome to ask for any clarifications on any doubt you may have.

However, the complications are extremely rare and the procedure very safe.

Remember: This is an operation in skin only, reaching up to a depth of only 5 mm.

Pustules (small boils or pimples) may occur in the second month and represent reaction to hair; they do not represent infection. They are self limiting and subside with in 2-4 weeks.

What is the cause for swelling after surgery?

During surgery, diluted anesthetic solution is injected in the donor site for anesthesia and to minimize bleeding. The water in the solution may descend down due to gravity and result in swelling on 2-3rd post-operative day.

However, this is mild, temporary (lasting ~2 days) and can be prevented by using a tight plaster on forehead. It is easily treated by the use of ice compresses or steroids orally.

Can the entire bald area be grafted in one session?

The number of the sessions will depend on

  • The area of scalp treated,
  • The number and size of grafts used,
  • The density which the patient desires,
  • The individual characteristics of the patient, e.g. coarse hair will provide a more dense look than fine hair.

Will I continue to loose my remaining hair?

It should be clearly understood that hair transplantation gives you new hair in a bald area, but it can not prevent future loss of existing hair. Hence, if the patient has significant hair remaining at the time of surgery, he will need to use drugs to prevent further hair loss.
Alternatively, he may undergo a second hair transplantation if he loses further hair.

When can I undergo a second hair transplantation?

It can be done any time after about 6 months – 1 year. This is the time required for the door scar to heal and the results of the first surgery to be seen.

How long does it take for the transplanted hair to grow?

Typically the grafted hair will shed in the initial 2-4 weeks. New growth will begin in 3-4 months and length will increase approximately 1/2 inch per month.

A full cosmetic result can be expected in 9-10 months.

Is Hair Transplantation painful?

Little pain is experienced during the procedure. Some discomfort is to be expected as the anesthetic is injected into the scalp. Once the skin is anesthetized, there is no pain.

We also minimize the pain of injection by using sodium bicarbonate, vibrators, EMLA cream etc.

How long does the operation take?

Hair transplantations are classified as:

  • Small sessions: up to 1300 grafts. These take about 3.5 hours.
  • Medium sessions: 1300-2000 grafts. These last about 5 to 7 hours
  • Large or mega sessions: more than 2000 grafts per session. These last longer; from 8-10 hours

Should I take long leave ?

It is not necessary. You need to be available at the clinic only for four hours. You are discharged the same day and can attend work in a day or two.

How I will look after operation? Will I look normal?

After grafting, the area will appear with small dark brown spots- the grafts, which are only 2-4 mms in length. By the end of the 2nd week, the scalp appears normal.So cap needs to be worn for the first week. Alternately a camouflage powder( available with us) to hide grafts may be used.

After surgery, will I need to come for periodic checkup?

No, not necessary. You need to come for only one day- the 4th day. Thereafter you can travel. All further care can be done by you at home and we are available on emails for any clarification.

When can I do exercise? swimming?

Excercises have to be avoided in the first 2 weeks. After sutures have gone , both exercise can be resumed. Swimming should be avoided for 6 weeks.

After transplant should I leave hairs long or short?

It is wrongly assumed by many people that short hair does not fall and long hairs fall more. This is wrong. It is always preferable to leave long hairs as it length adds to volume and therefore looks better.

After surgery , will I need to visit the clinic again and again?

No, there is no need. Any doubts can be sorted out on emails or calls