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A study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that having a single surgery can be safe and can reduce the risk of the infection developing into a more serious infection.
The study found that the number of infections linked to hair transplants decreased by one in 100,000.
“We know that people can have infections from a single cut or procedure, and the infections can be very difficult to manage and control,” Dr Chris Smith, a senior author on the study and a lecturer in surgery at the Australian National University, said.
“So it’s really important to consider the possibility that a single haircut or procedure might be safe for a number of patients, and not just for the surgeon.”
The study involved more than 30,000 Australians, with almost half of those who had been treated at least once before the surgery.
A total of 8,826 people were assessed, with the majority having no previous history of infection and the rest having had two hair transplations.
“There was no significant difference in infection rates between patients who had had a single procedure and those who hadn’t had a procedure,” Dr Smith said.
The researchers looked at whether people with the infection had the same number of hair transplant procedures performed as those who did not.
They found that people who had a hair transplant had fewer infections compared to people who did the same amount of surgery.
Dr Smith noted that while the infection rate was still higher than non-hair transplant patients, it was not significantly different to non-surgery patients.
“In the non-natal setting where the infections are less severe, it’s not surprising that you would see an improvement,” he said.
Hair transplants have been used for more than 100 years, but have not been widely recommended as an alternative to the conventional procedures.
The procedure is performed with a scalpel, which is used to cut the hair away from the affected area.
The scalpel then passes through the hair, creating a small incision that can be used to inject the chemotherapy drug that will treat the infection.
Patients have previously used the procedure in conjunction with chemotherapy to treat infections that spread to other parts of the body.
The latest study was carried out in Australia by Dr Smith and his colleagues.
It is the first of its kind to look at the long-term risks and benefits of hair transplantation.
The research is published in the latest edition of the journal Current Biology.
The authors noted that a number more studies are needed to confirm the findings, but concluded that the results “demonstrate that having multiple procedures is safe and effective for many patients, regardless of the type of surgery”.
“It also highlights that the safety and efficacy of multiple hair transplications is a topic of ongoing research and debate among the medical community,” they said.
It will be years before a definitive study on the safety of the procedure is available.
“It is a question of waiting to see if this is a useful procedure for people who have been treated,” Dr Harris said.
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