Hair Transplants: What are They and What to Expect

Most of us take our hair locks for granted, just like we do our health and youth until they are gone. 

For many people worldwide, a hair transplant can help restore what appears to be a full head of hair, or at least one that is fuller.

One way to feel more secure about your looks is to have the surgery if losing your hair or thinning on top genuinely bothers you. 

However, you should consult your doctor about what to expect during and following the procedure.

What Is a Hair Transplant?

It’s a kind of surgery where the hair that you already have is moved to cover bald or sparse areas. 

In the United States, hair surgeons have been performing these transplants since the 1950s, but techniques have significantly changed recently.

Typically, the procedure is performed in the doctor’s office. To numb the back of your head, the surgeon first cleans your scalp and injects medication. 

Your doctor will use either follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) or follicular unit extraction (FUE).

With FUSS, a 6-to-10-inch piece of skin is removed from the back of your head. They then set it aside and seal the scalp with stitches. This area is hidden straight away by the hair around it.

After that, the surgical team divides the strip into 500 to 2,000 tiny little grafts, each with one or a few hairs.

The type and number of grafts you will get depends on your hair type, quality, color, and the size of the area where the transplant will take place.

If you are getting the FUE procedure, the surgical staff will shave the back of your scalp. 

The doctor will next remove each hair follicle from that area one at a time. 

The area will then heal with little dots, which will be covered by your existing hair.

Both procedures are identical after that. The surgeon prepares the grafts, cleans and numbs the area where the hair will go, then uses a scalpel or needle to make holes or slits, and then carefully inserts each transplant into one of the holes. 

The grafts will likely be planted with assistance from other team members, too.

The whole process will take around 4 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the transplant. You will possibly need another procedure later on, if you keep losing hair or decide to have thicker hair.

Expectations and Recovery

Your scalp could be very tender after the surgery. You may need to take pain-relieving medications for several days. Your surgeon will have your scalp covered with a bandage for at least a day or two. They may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs for you, too, to take for several days. Most people should be able to return to work 2–5 days after the surgery.

In 2 to 3 weeks after the operation, the newly transplanted hair will all fall out. But you should expect to see new hair within a few months’ time. Most people should expect to see 60% of new hair growth in 6 to 9 months. Some surgeons may have to prescribe the commonly used hair-growing drug, minoxidil (Rogaine), to boost hair growth after transplant, but by now, it’s still not quite clear how well it will work.

The Risks and Costs of the Treatment

The price of hair transplants depends largely on the amount of hair you want to transplant, but in general, it ranges from $4,000 to $15,000. Hardly ever will such operations be covered by insurance. 

As with any type of operation, hair transplantation could be quite risky. They may result in bleeding or infection. There’s also a chance of scarring or unnatural-looking newly grown hair.

Some people may have inflammation of the hair follicle infection, known as folliculitis. Antibiotics may be of some relief. It’s also possible that the person suddenly loses some existing hair in the area where the new hair has grown out; this is called “shock loss.” 

Consult your doctor about these risks before you allow the operation to happen, and whether you’ll likely get your desired look after surgery. The doctor should be able to help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

Could Hairpieces or Toupees Fix the Bald Head?

As proven by most hair specialists and doctors, the best solution to cope with hair loss issues is hairpieces or toupees. 

With hair transplants, the person’s existing hair has to be 100% healthy, so it is possible that after the surgery, new hair may grow. 

Apart from scarring or bleeding risks, after a hair transplant, no doctors or specialists can guarantee that new hair will actually grow out of the person’s scalp. 

The cost of one hair transplant will allow the user to frequently use a top-quality hairpiece for 20–30 years. Plus, a successful transplant may not necessarily help the person achieve their desired look or density. However, with hairpieces or toupees, all densities and lengths are possible. You can literally achieve any celebrity’s hairstyle you want.

Overall, more than 50% of the hair loss population isn’t suitable for hair transplants. 

Click here to choose some of the world’s top-tier hairpieces or toupees.