How Does a Hair Transplant Work?

By on January 6, 2020

With around a third of all white men suffering from hair loss under the age of 30, it is little wonder that the hair transplant industry is up by 60% since 2014 as more and more men and women over 50 choose this option as a means of permanently correcting the issue of hair loss.  

But what is a hair transplant? How does it work, and what are the risks?

With a large price tag and long healing times, it’s worth knowing exactly what you are getting for your money, and also familiarizing yourself with the reasons behind such a massive difference in prices.  

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Quite a few wealthy and famous people have undergone the treatment successfully, Wayne Rooney is the most obvious but also rugby scrum-half Luke Gale who underwent the procedure after taunts from fans left his confidence knocked.  For Luke, the transplant took seven-and-a-half hours and consisted of 2,400 hair follicles being transplanted from the back of his scalp to the front. While Luke was very public about his decision to take positive steps towards correcting his hair loss, there are plenty of other celebrities out there who appear to be aging backward and growing more hair as time progresses.

However, not everyone is suitable for a hair transplant, and there are plenty of considerations to be made before committing to the procedure.  Firstly, you will need an area of hair known as the donor area from where the follicles are harvested before being transferred to the affected area.  But for those that meet all the appropriate criteria, there are two main methods for hair transplant: Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT).

Follicular Unit Transplantation 

FUT’s are performed by a doctor who would remove entire strips of tissue from the donor area.  These strips are then cut into individual follicular units which are then grafted to the scalp using tiny cuts.  This procedure does leave some scarring to the scalp.

Follicular Unit Extraction

FUE is the more modern method of hair transplant and leaves significantly less scarring.  Individual hair follicles are extracted from the donor area and moved to the transplant area.  

The first stage of this procedure is the extraction of the individual hair follicles.  This is done by first numbing the area and then the patient is asked to lie face down in a chair while doctors pluck around 3000 hair follicles from the donor area, usually located at the back of the head.  This is done by drilling down into the root before removing them whole. This part of the procedure can take around two hours to complete. The transplant site is then prepared for the new follicles to be inserted with tiny incisions, patients have reported this to be the worst bit with pain and sound being common factors.  The individual hair follicles are then inserted into the tiny incisions. The entire procedure will usually take as long as eight hours and patients will most likely require transport to their home or hotel afterward.

With both FUE and FUT the transplanted hair will usually fall out with two to three weeks post-surgery.  However, within a few months, patients should start to experience new growth and within six to nine months, there should be sixty percent of new growth.

Of course, many men head overseas for the procedure due to the reduced costs.  Hair transplant companies like GetHair have offices in London and clinics in Turkey where patients can have the same quality procedure done at a fraction of the cost. 

Of course, aftercare is also an important part of hair transplants and there are some possible side effects that need to be considered.  For the first few days, most patients will suffer from a tight, achy and swollen scalp, difficulty in sleeping and some temporary scabbing.  Following this, the hair will usually fall out and leave patients completely bald before the new hair starts to grow through. As with any medical procedure, there are some minor risks involved such as an allergic reaction or infection which is why it is important to go to a reputable company that will attend to the needs of the patient throughout.  It is common for doctors to expect patients to wear bandages for a day or two following the surgery.

 In order to guarantee natural-looking results, patients should look to secure the services of a talented and qualified surgeon who is able to mimic nature.  Ultimately the decision to embark on such a procedure is that of the patient, however, candidates should ensure that they are well informed beforehand.


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How Does a Hair Transplant Work?