A Hair Transplant is a minimally-invasive, outpatient surgical procedure that can permanently restore the hair of men and women who are experiencing partial baldness by transplanting new follicles into balding or thinning areas.
A hair transplant can be recommended for anyone experiencing partial baldness due to male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia), a receding hairline, traction alopecia, or head trauma. A hair transplant can offer eligible candidates a permanent, natural-looking solution.
The procedure is not recommended for anyone experiencing female-pattern baldness, diffuse hair loss (chronic telogen effluvium), spot baldness (alopecia areata), or for those with insufficient hair at the donor site. The surgery is also not recommended for anyone under the age of 25, since it is difficult to assess the long-term stability of donor hair and the extent of future hair loss.
There are two treatment methods used by hair transplant surgeons today, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).
A graft refers to a piece of living tissue that is surgically moved from one body site to another, without bringing its own blood supply with it. After it is placed into the target site, a new blood supply will grow in.
Hair follicles naturally grow in groupings of 1 to 4 hairs, known as follicular units. FUE hair transplant surgeons will aim to harvest and transplant hairs in their natural groupings to promote uniform hair growth. The surgeon will harvest each follicular unit (graft) with a hollow needle between .6mm and 1.0mm in diameter. Then, the surgeon will use microblades and fine needles to insert the grafts into the target sites, angling the grafts in a consistent pattern for a natural look and density.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) is a generally accepted supplement to Hair Transplants, to promote hair growth and healing after the surgical procedure.
PRP is a natural derivative from blood, dense with nutrients and growth factors. Platelet cells promote healing, accelerate the rate of soft tissue regeneration, enhance responses to injury, and stimulate stem cells for the formation of new cell growths.
To obtain the PRP, blood is drawn from the patient and centrifuged twice, to separate the red blood cells from the platelets. The platelet cells are then concentrated into a jelly-like plasma, at 3-5 times the concentration normally found. The PRP can then be injected or applied topically during or after the surgical procedure.
The length of the procedure itself varies, based on the number of hair grafts required and the size of the surgical team, but is usually completed in 4 to 8 hours. Because the procedure is done under local anesthesia, the patient is fully awake and can read, watch TV, have conversations, eat, etc., during this time.
Immediately following the procedure, patients can walk around and resume the majority of their normal day-to-day activities. The transplanted area will be swollen and tender for 3 to 5 days, but patients can return to work within 2 to 3 days of the hair transplant. There will usually be redness and scabs for up to 10 to 14 days post-procedure.
Some patients may require that the hair transplant be performed in multiple sessions, a few months apart, to achieve the desired result. This can be determined by the surgeon before the procedure.
Within the first 2 to 3 weeks after the hair transplant, all of the transplanted hair will fall out. This phenomenon is known as ‘Shock Loss’, and is a normal result of the trauma that the moved hair follicles have undergone. Some patients may also experience hair loss from areas that were not involved in the transplant--this is temporary and normal.
Within 6 to 8 weeks after the surgical procedure, 85% to 95% of the transplanted follicles should start generating new hair growth, with more hair and thicker growths coming in after every growth cycle (each growth cycle is around 6 weeks, depending on the individual). Although results will be visible by the 6-month mark, the full scope of the hair transplant will occur 12 months after the procedure.
For optimal results, patients are encouraged to carefully follow the surgeon’s post-operative care guidelines, including protecting the area from sun exposure, not scratching the scalp, and shampooing regularly to prevent scabs from forming around the hair shaft. Most surgeons also recommend minimizing alcohol consumption and smoking in the weeks following the procedure, as this can contribute to poor graft survival.
Hair Transplantation is a simple, minimally invasive, and comparably low-risk medical procedure. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated and potential side effects, which may include bleeding, infection, swelling of the scalp and/or forehead, scarring, and uneven hair growth. Over 95% of hair transplant patients do not experience any postoperative issues.
To minimize any postoperative complications, patients are advised to select an experienced hair transplant surgeon and to follow all recommended care. Most surgeons will prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatories to prevent infections post-procedure, and will recommend bandage compresses be worn to alleviate scalp tenderness.
Yes! Hair Transplants can be performed on the beard area, eyebrows, eyelashes, chest, abdomen, and pubic area. Hair transplants can also be used to fill in scars.
For a facial hair transplant or a body hair transplant, the surgeon will need to evaluate the consistency of the hair in the recipient area and match it to an area of the body with a suitable donor site for the most natural look.
The cost of a hair transplant depends on the number of grafts required for each individual, and where the procedure is performed. The pricing differential between countries is usually due to different living costs and labor costs, rather than quality.
Below are average prices across countries for a 2000 graft hair transplant utilizing the FUE method at a high-quality hospital.