Scalp Reduction

Scalp Reduction Related Terms:
Alopecia, Cosmetic Surgery, Craniofacial Surgery, Dimple Creation, Face Procedures, Facial Liposuction, Facial Procedures, Hair Grafting, Laser Facial Procedures, Neck Liposuction, Neck Muscle Repair, Plastic Surgery, Playsmaplasy, Scalp Flaps, Scalp Lift, Skin Procedures, Surgeon

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Scalp reduction surgery involves the surgical removal of parts of the already bald scalp. This is followed by the stretching of the parts of the scalp, which still has new hair growing on it. This reduces the total area of the scalp that needs hair replacement. Scalp reduction surgery may be recommended at the same time as hair grafting in order to leave a smaller bald area, which then needs fewer hair grafts afterwards to cover it. Good candidates for scalp reduction surgery procedure are patients with excellent hair on the sides and back of the scalp that can be stretched upward to cover the bald scalp that is to be cut. Plus, the patient must have thick hair to be grafted as this hair will be stretched and so it needs to be strong too. This procedure can only be done on those with loose scalps. If this skin is already tight, then it won`t be possible to stretch it over the bald areas without the use of a tissue expander, such as in scalp expansion procedure.


Scalp reduction surgery is typically performed to treat alopecia. Alopecia is the loss of hair from skin areas where it is normally present. 


 Unlike scalp expansion which requires two surgeries, or scalp flap surgery, which requires three surgeries, scalp reduction surgery occurs in one step. Up to 2 inches of balding skin is removed, and an adjacent area of hair-bearing scalp is stretched over it and sutured into place.
 Scalp reduction surgery is actually quite standard. There is usually only one incision, and this incision is placed at the top of the scalp. After the incision is cut, the loose skin is removed and the remaining skin is attached, creating a much smaller bald spot on the scalp of the patient. The pattern of the incision is known as either the “football” incision or the “Mercedes” incision, and each term describes the shape of this incision.


Scalp reduction surgery is performed either at an outpatient care facility or at the doctor’s office if it’s equipped to handle such procedures. Your doctor will explain to you where surgery is performed to aid in your overall planning.  This surgery requires only local anesthesia, as the patient does not need to be unconscious for the procedure to go well. The patient will feel some tightness and pulling on the scalp during surgery, but will generally  feel either little or no pain.
 
The best candidates for scalp reduction surgery are those patients who have experienced a large amount of hair loss. If a patient has only lost a small amount of hair transplant surgery may be the best option. Those patients with significant hair loss should also have a thick body of hair remaining around the perimeter of the scalp so that the “new” hair grows in with a full look.


 After scalp reduction surgery, you will have prescriptions for antibiotics to prevent infection and pain pills to control discomfort. Many patients do fine with acetaminophen (Tylenol) after surgery and do not require stronger medication.


After surgery, you will wear a bandage overnight. to protect the flap, minimize swelling, and absorb drainage. It is normal to see a few drops of blood on the gauze. If you notice more than a few drops, or if the area of blood is increasing, call your doctor right away. The dressing may be removed in one or two days, and sutures come out after 7 to 10 days. Avoid overly-strenuous activities for a few weeks.   Physical stress increases the blood flow to the scalp, which could cause bleeding and/or swelling.


After about a few days, you will be allowed to gently wash your hair. At this point, most people return to work, if they haven`t already. After about 6 weeks, you can proceed with hair transplant surgery, if that was your ultimate plan.


Once the scalp is reduced, you may still require hair transplants to cover any remaining bald areas. Scalp reduction surgery does not stop hair loss, and you will continue to lose hair just as you would have without the surgery, but usually the effects of scalp reduction surgery will last 5 to 10 years or more. If your scalp begins to loosen after a period of time, you may need to report to the doctor for an additional procedure. Most patients have reported years of satisfactory results.


The risks involved in scalp reduction surgery can result in infection, scarring, or rarely, insufficient blood supply that leads to loss of part of the flap. But specific risks associated with scalp reduction include the stretching of the “new” scalp which results in another bald spot, scarring and reduced donor density, meaning that if a hair transplant is ever required to fill in additional bald spots, there will be less “material” to work with for that procedure.

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scalp reduction - News update:
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