The success of hair loss treatments is often dependent on the quality of the skin and hair follicles of the scalp. After a certain period, or due to the cause of hair loss, the skin or follicles may be too damaged to grow hair again. This damage may be physical (injuries, burns, etc.) or biological (medications, hormones, genetics, etc.). When this happens, the hair restoration options become limited to a scalp restoration or a tissue expander, referred to in this context as a scalp expander. Northwest Face & Body provides the best scalp expander Bellevue and Kirkland offers.
A scalp expander is a type of tissue expander made especially for the scalp area. Tissue expanders are essentially inserted into the area and slowly expanded using various methods to stretch the skin and tissue in the treatment area. The scalp is unique because unlike most areas of the body, the expanded skin continues to bear hair. This makes scalp expander treatment a viable option to treat hair loss, particularly genetic hair loss.
In male pattern baldness, hair loss tends to start at the hairline and move backward. The hair on the sides and back of the head are more resistant to the hormones that cause genetic hair loss. Therefore, a plastic surgeon can insert a scalp expand and slowly move the more resistant hair forward. Depending how much the scalp is expanded, the plastic surgeon may also need to remove some skin which may be a minor or major scalp reduction.
The procedure is fairly non-invasive, but does require regular appointments and follow up. It can take several months to expand the scalp to the desired degree. However, results are likely to last and even if hair loss occurs afterward, the placement of hormone resistant hair further up on the scalp means that you should maintain more hair overall. Additionally, tissue expansion of the scalp often yields good results and comes with little risk because of the high vascularity of the scalp.
The initial placement of the tissue expander will take about one to two hours. After this surgical area heals, your surgeon will begin expanding the area. The expander itself is similar to a balloon. Over the coming weeks and months, your surgeon will gradually fill the expander with either air of liquid. This will slowly cause the scalp to expand and the hair bearing areas to grow in size. The number of expansion sessions you will need largely depend on your goals and anatomy. However, patients often need at least one or two and sometimes upwards of four or five expansion sessions. These sessions are also usually performed with local anesthesia and often without sedation.
It depends on how much the tissue needs to expand. For some, the expand may only stay in a few weeks while for others it may stay in for six months or more. Generally, the expander will stay in at least four to six weeks since expansion cannot begin until the initial surgical area heals. Your Bellevue plastic surgeon can provide a better estimate once they can evaluate your specific needs and situation.
Some patients do experience some minor discomfort after expansion sessions. Others experience little to no pain at all. Regardless, most patients do not find it overly painful. The expansions themselves usually consist of injections and your provider will numb the area prior to these injections.
Northwest Face & Body consists of surgical and non-surgical hair restoration specialists. Our plastic surgeons also have decades of experience performing facial plastic surgery, making them extremely qualified to perform scalp expander surgery for hair loss. Along with this, the office is perfectly located to accommodate patients from the Eastside, Seattle, and beyond. On the shores of Lake Washington, Northwest Face & Body is a few minutes drive from Bellevue and Kirkland, and often fifteen to twenty minutes from Seattle. To schedule a consultation, call us at 425-576-1700. You can also reach out online via Price Simulator, chat, or contact form.