Afro Hair Transplant
We have special interest in dealing with afro-hair patients. Afro-hair type has many technical challenges due to the nature of the hair. Our satisfaction rate is very high as can be seen in online testimonials.
We offer the most advanced techniques currently available in the world, including both FUSS (strip surgery) and FUE. Dr. Ali Emre Karadeniz is one of the very few surgeons in Turkey that can offer the FUSS method, which is the main treatment method for afro-hair. Dr. Ali Emre Karadeniz is able to achieve close to invisible strip scars with his surgical technique that includes the 'trichophytic closure technique'. With the aid of microscopic dissection of individual grafts performed by a very experienced team of technicians, high quality grafts with no damage can be transplanted. AEK Hair Institute is the only hair clinic in Turkey that can perform such 'ultra-refined surgery'.
Afro-hair type has many technical challenges due to the nature of the hair. Only surgical teams that operate at very high standards are able to deal with these challenges. Our satisfaction rate is very high as can be seen in online testimonials.
What Is Special About Afro-Hair
Afro-hair has unique surgical characteristics due to its curly/kinky nature. The difficulties associated with Afro-hair are;
- Hairs pierce through the skin in a curved direction, which means that if an incision is made cutting through the skin surface straight down, there will be a significant amount of hairs transected (wasted). This will result in a wide scar. Experience and surgical skills are necessary to get a feel for the curved nature of the skin and make an incision in a curved fashion so that the follicles are protected.
- The curved nature of the hairs makes the slivering and graft dissection (preparation) part much more difficult. Experience and skills by the technicians are necessary to prepare the grafts without damage.
- The curved nature of the hairs necessitates that more tissues are left around the follicles while preparing the grafts in order to prevent graft damage. Chubbier grafts necessitate bigger recipient incisions which means that a smaller number of incisions can be done per area. This also means that the transplanted density must be less than in straight hair.
- Curved grafts are more difficult to place which means experience and skills by the surgical team is needed to place these grafts without damaging them.
- Kinky hair makes FUE very difficult. FUE is the blind insertion of a straight surgical punch in order to extract grafts and works best when the hair is straight. A bigger punch could be used while trying to get a feel for the curved nature of the hair and making curved insertions. The surgeon must be very experienced and skilled in using this technique so to be able to harvest health grafts with as little damage as possible. This method may be preferred in afro-haired men who prefer using a very short hair cut and want to avoid the linear scar that the strip method causes. FUE should practically never be used in afro-haired females who not only would not tolerate shaving the donor area, but also are not concerned by the fine linear scar caused by the strip.
- Hair loss in Afro-hair men is more diffuse than in whites. The donor area is frequently affected by the thinning and donor density is lower which means the donor capacity is less. For the same reason, a strip scar or even FUE scars at the donor area may be more visible.
- Afro-hair men usually like having a low and straight hairline. This requires a lot of donor hair used at the hairline and in patients with wide thinning, donor reserves may not be sufficient to achieve the desired goals.
Female Afro-Hair Transplants
The most common hair loss problem in female afro-hair patients is Traction Alopecia, which is hair loss due to using too tight braids. It is usually presented as the loss of hair at the edges (temple points) and receding of the hairline.
In advanced cases, a type of scarring alopecia may occur, causing extensive loss including the mid-scalp and crown areas.
The good news in traction alopecia patients is that there usually is a health donor area at the back of the head where donor hair can be harvested for a transplant.
In non-afro-hair females, hair loss is usually a sophisticated problem. It is usually related to metabolic or dermatologic diseases that firstly need to be diagnosed by an experienced dermatologist and medically treated. All possible metabolic and dermatologic diseases must be overruled before surgical restoration can be considered, as attempts at doing surgery while an underlying disease is present are doomed to failure. Female afro-hair patients are no exception and all possible underlying diseases should be ruled out first before an attempt at surgical restoration is made. Once the diagnosis of traction alopecia is made, then plans for surgery can be done.
Technical details about the graft harvesting methods, FUSS and FUE were explained in the relevant chapter of this website. We already know that FUSS is the main method for afro-hair patients. In female patients, there are additional reasons why FUSS is overwhelmingly the better option:
- Females usually keep long hair. Since FUE requires shaving the donor area, FUSS gives a significant advantage that shaving is not necessary.
- The fact that females keep long hair also means that they do not have to worry about a linear scar being visible when the hair is kept shorter than 1-2cm.
- Traction alopecia patients have a perfectly health donor area. They do not have thinning at the back of the head where the strip is going to be taken, which means that they do not have to worry about a linear scar being visible when significant thinning occurs at the donor area.
- The 'trichophytic closure' technique that we frequently use when closing strip wounds helps hairs growing through the scar and greatly improves its camouflage.
The number of hairs transferred during a FUSS procedure depends on donor density and skin elasticity, however, neither of them can be measured by looking at photographs. A live examination is needed to make these measurements, although the vast majority of female patients receive between 1000-2000 grafts. Many clinics subdivide follicular units while preparing the grafts in order to increase the graft number and thus the price. However, subdividing kinky afro-hair follicular units is especially risky in that there is an increased risk of graft damage and follicle transection. We prefer to not divide units and keep their natural architecture. We find that this protects the grafts and avoids the surgical cost rising unnecessarily for the same number of hairs transferred. We also charge a fixed price for the surgical session to avoid confusion. We then do our best for each patient's individual situation.
Male Afro-Hair Transplants
Male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia), is the most common cause of hair loss in men. This is the thinning of hair at the top of the head, while leaving a more permanent area at the back of the head intact. However, hair loss in Afro-hair men is associated with some difficulties;
- Hair loss in Afro-men seem to progress in a more diffuse pattern, damaging the donor potential at the back of the head.
- Thinning at the back of the head not only limits the donor capacity, but also makes surgical scarring caused by FUSS or FUE more visible.
- Due to the kinky nature of hair and due to diffuse thinning, Afro-men tend to keep their hair very short. This makes donor scarring more of a concern.
- The kinky hair type makes FUE more difficult and a limited number of grafts can be harvested in one visit.
- The diffuse thinning and tendency to use short hair, makes the linear scar of FUSS more of a concern.
Due to the above-mentioned limitations, hair transplants in Afro-men should be done cautiously. FUSS should be the method of choice if the donor area is estimated to provide enough coverage for the linear scar. The 'trichophytic closure' technique allows for hairs growing through the linear scar which greatly improves the camouflage. If FUE is preferred then graft harvesting must be done conservatively in order not to cause significant donor damage and preserve donor area aesthetics.