Most of us take our locks for granted, just as we do our health and youth until they’re gone. Hair transplant procedures may help many individuals regain a full head of hair.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 17 Dec 2021.
What To Expect When Having A Hair Transplant
If you’re concerned about losing hair or becoming bald, hair transplant treatment may be just what you need. However, you should first speak with your doctor about what to anticipate before and after the procedure.
What Is a Hair Transplant?
It’s a kind of surgery in which existing hair follicles are moved to fill areas with thin or no hair. Doctors have been doing these transplants since the 1950s, although methods have evolved significantly in recent years.
The operation is typically performed in the doctor’s office. The surgeon begins by cleaning your scalp and injecting a numbing agent into the back of your skull. Your doctor will perform the transplant using two methods: follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) or follicular unit extraction (FUE).
A 6- to 10-inch piece of skin from the back of your skull is removed using FUSS. They put it on the shelf and stitch the scalp shut. The hair surrounding it quickly hides this region.
Next, the surgeon’s team separates the excised scalp strip into 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts, each containing one or a few hairs. The quantity and kind of grafts you get are determined by your hair type, quality, colour, and the size of the region where the transplant is being performed.
The surgeon’s staff will shave the back of your scalp if you’re having the FUE treatment. The doctor will next remove the hair follicles one by one. Small spots heal the region, which your current hair will conceal.
Following that, both processes are identical. The surgeon cleans and numbs the region where the hair will go, makes holes or slits with a scalpel or needle, and carefully inserts each transplant in one of the holes after preparing the grafts. Other team members will most likely assist them in planting the grafts.
The procedure will take between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the amount of the transplant. If you continue to lose hair or decide you desire thicker hair, you may require another treatment.
Expectations and Recovery
Your scalp may be extremely painful after surgery. You may have to use pain relievers for many days. For at least a day or two, your surgeon will have you wear bandages over your scalp. They may also give you an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory to take for a few days. The majority of individuals can return to work 2 to 5 days following surgery.
The transplanted hair will fall out two to three weeks following surgery, but new growth should appear within a few months. After 6 to 9 months, most individuals will experience 60% new hair growth. Some surgeons prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine), a hair-growth medication, to help with hair growth following transplantation, although it’s unclear how effective it is.
Risks and Costs of Treatment
The price of a hair transplant will depend mainly on the amount of hair you’re moving, but it generally ranges from $4,000 to $15,000. Most insurance plans don’t cover it.
As with any kind of surgery, transplants have some risks, including bleeding and infection. There’s also the chance for scarring and unnatural-looking new hair growth.
Around the time new locks start to grow, some people have inflammation or an infection of the hair follicles, called folliculitis. Antibiotics and compresses can relieve the problem. It’s also possible to suddenly lose some of the original hair in the area where you got the new strands, called shock loss. But most of the time, it’s not permanent.
Talk with your doctor about these risks and how much improvement you’re likely to get from the surgery. They can help you decide if it’s a good option for you.
- Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: “Treating Female Pattern Hair Loss."
- MedlinePlus.gov: “Hair Transplant."
- Dermatologic Surgery at the University of Washington: “Hair Transplantation."