Hair transplant is a surgical treatment in which a surgeon transplants healthy ‘hair follicles’ from an area of the body called ‘donor site’ to the hair loss affected area called ‘recipient site’.
A couple of different hair transplant procedures are offered by cosmetic surgeons. The basic technique of transplanting follicles from one region of the body to another stays common in all of them.
The difference lies in techniques of harvesting follicles. The four most common procedures are Strip Harvesting, FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction, FUT or Follicular Unit Transplant and Robotic Hair Restoration.
Introduction to techniques
Robotic Hair Restoration is a fairly new technique that employs the use of cameras and a robotic arm to assist a hair transplant surgeon during the procedure.
As the name suggests, strip harvesting is performed by dissecting a little strip of hair follicles from a donor site. The key difference between the two follicular techniques of hair transplants lies in the process of harvesting follicles.
In FUE, the surgeon harvests individual follicular units containing 1 to 4 hairs from the donor site. While in FUT, a longer linear strip of hairs extracted from the donor site, followed by manual dissection into smaller grafts.
12 Important Hair Transplant Questions
Hair transplants are such a vast topic. Where does one start and where does one end? At Tamira, our team of doctors meet hundreds of new hair transplant patients every month.
Lucky for you, the Hair Transplant Doctors and the Scientific Committee team at Tamira, decided to put together a single comprehensive list of the most important hair transplant questions that patients ask.
In this article
Strip vs Follicular Harvesting
Which harvesting procedure is the better choice?
FUE vs FUT
Which follicular technique should I opt for?
How can I tell if I am a good candidate?
What kind of results can I expect?
Should I be worried about the side effects?
How long will it take for me to recover?
What is the average cost of a hair transplant?
How soon can I expect my hair to grow?
Is hair transplant a permanent solutions?
Facial Hair Transplant
Can hair be transplanted on my moustache and beard area?
Before and After
Are the before and after pictures on the internet realistic?
Choosing a Surgeon
How can I tell which surgeon or hospital is best for me?
Strip vs Follicular Harvesting
Now that you understand the basic difference in techniques, you should figure that Strip Harvesting treatment is faster. And while it may also be less expensive than follicular harvesting, it lacks the amazing results that follicular harvesting techniques can ensure.
Lets look at some more differences. FUE produces multiple, unnoticeable scars, while strip procedure produces a single scar that may be hidden under the hairline. The transplant process requires two operations: one obtains the follicular units, while other implants the grafts.
Based on feasibility, harvesting and implanting can be performed in a single session. In both techniques, the patient’s scalp is cleaned with a disinfectant solution.
Patient’s are given a local anesthetic, usually consisting of lidocaine with epinephrine, to numb the area that is going to be treated and to help control the bleeding.
An incision is performed to cut vertically into the scalp to harvest donor hair without hurting the follicular units. Incisions are usually only so deep that harvesting the entire follicular unit is possible.
Strip harvesting uses harvesting a small strip of donor tissues that is divided into individual follicular unit grafts by a your surgeon. After the donor tissues are harvested, the donor site is closed, using stitches or small staples.
A small needle or blade is used to make a required incision into the recipient area. The transplants get placed in a random pattern in the area according to natural hair angles and directions. This ensures the hair looking as natural as possible.
Healing & Recovery
The treatment areas heal in several days after the procedure. Human scalps have a large number of vessels, thus after the treatment surrounding tissue begins nourishing the transplanted follicles.
In both strip and follicular treatments, you can return to work and almost all daily activities the next day. But strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided until 7 to 12 days have passed or as advised by your surgeon.
Most transplanted hairs are going to fall off after 2 to 4 weeks after the treatment, but the follicles themselves will stay. Both transplant techniques may require additional surgeries, depending on extent of hair loss.
FUE vs FUT
If you’re interested in follicular harvesting over strip harvesting, then there are two types of hair transplant procedure options. One is FUE hair transplant and the other is FUT hair transplant.
Let’s look a little deeper into both of these popular cosmetic procedures, which are designed to correct hair loss and give recipients thicker, fuller hair which boosts attractiveness and self-confidence.
Both hair transplant types work very well for most people. Typically, men undergo hair transplant more often than women.
However, sometimes women can also experience severe hair fall for a variety of reasons. These could range from genetics to health problems to hormone shifts etc. Women who suffer hair loss from such conditions opt for hair transplants too.
In FUE hair transplant, every follicular unit is taken right from the scalp, individually. There isn’t a strip of tissue which is extracted. Also, the follicles are removed in a way that is random, this ensures lower density within the donor area.
When performed correctly, there is minimal to null evidence of a procedure on the donor area. This works great for those who want a thicker hair look, without obvious signs of cosmetic surgery showing at the donor part of the body.
With FUE being a more intricate procedure, there is always a question over how many grafts can be harvested in on session. This intricacy, according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery also makes FUE a more tedious and demanding procedure for patient and surgeon.
In FUT hair transplant, a patient’s hair is transplanted in small groups of 1 – 4 hairs. The groups are naturally-occurring. These units also feature oil glands known as sebaceous glands.
Besides the glands, they have a compact muscle, nerves and sometimes, vellus hairs that are very fine.
Pros and Cons
Let’s come to the pros and cons of each type of hair transplant procedure. FUE hair transplants leave no visible linear scarring in the donor region of the body. It’s therefore a good choice for people who specifically do not want a visible scar.
However, every cosmetic procedure has its drawbacks and FUE can sometimes have greater odds of damage to grafts, as compared to FUT.
Also, since grafts are attached to the base of surrounding tissue, it is sometimes harder to grab the full follicular unit and this can result in decreased density.
The primary advantages of FUT include high follicular unit graft yields and high-quality grafts. Grafts are also less fragile than with FUE.
If you opt for consecutive FUT procedures (only if your surgeon recommends), the initial scar from your first procedure will be taken away by the following procedure.
Basically, you’ll end up with only one scar when it’s all over, rather than a whole bunch. FUT can also tend to cost less than FUE but this depends on where you live and your surgeon’s skill and experience.
FUT also comes with its own drawbacks. According to Wikipedia, it requires a longer recovery time as compared to FUE and FUT leaves a long, linear scar at the site where the donor strip is harvested.
Which treatment is best?
Lets set the comparisons of individual hair transplant techniques aside. We need to assert the importance of the fact that, which technique is more suitable to which patient depends on a host of factors.
Degrees of hair loss or baldness, reasons for hair loss, medical history and lifestyle are few of the factors that come to mind. Hence it is often bet advised to meet a hair transplant surgeon for a personal consultation.
Based on the factors and your convenience, you and your surgeon can then mutually decide what technique is best for you.
Lots of people are candidates for this form of surgery. However, surgeons definitely proceed with caution before they approve candidates who are under the age of 18.
In rare cases, people that young do want this procedure and they will be carefully vetted before being approved, if they are approved at all.
So, age is a factor. Another factor is the general health of the patient. For example, a surgeon will look at medical history, current health conditions (if any) and then decide if it’s safe to perform the procedure.
In some cases, a candidate may need to resolve health issues prior to being approved for the surgery. Also, patients should have immune systems which are strong enough to allow them to heal properly after their operations.
Doctors prefer to perform hair transplants on patients who live healthy lifestyles. So, following a healthy diet, getting moderate exercise and practicing stress management will boost your odds of getting the “ok” for a hair transplant surgery.
A surgeon will also look at your degree of hair loss and how much donor hair you have available. As you can see, there are some variables.
Getting a consultation from a cosmetic surgeon will be the best way to see if you’re a viable candidate for this type of procedure, as every patient is different. A surgeon will know if this procedure is right for you.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Anyone over the age of 18 who is experiencing thinning hair or baldness and has a healthy immune system will be a good candidate for this type of procedure.
A cosmetic surgeon will conduct an initial consultation and then let you know if you are viable candidate. Most people are.
The surgeon will need to assess your general health and consider your age and other factors before deciding whether or not you’re a good candidate for a hair transplant.
It’s all about protecting you and ensuring that you’re strong enough to heal from the operation. Once you’ve found a respected surgeon who is board-certified, you’ll be ready to move forward and book a consultation.
While you will need the “OK” from your cosmetic surgeon, most men are good candidates. In addition, women get these procedures when they are experiencing hair loss for a host of reasons, from hormone shifts to genetics and beyond.
Patients typically have their results double from six months to twelve months. The grafts grow at different rates, depending on the patient, since everyone responds differently.
However, most patients do experience good hair growth by the six-month period after the procedure. At the one-year mark, before and after photos usually show excellent results.
As you can see, you will be required to be patient. However, your patience will be rewarded only if you take proper care of yourself after your hair transplant and follow all self-care recommendations from your doctor
In which case, you should have much thicker hair within six months to a year after your operation.
First off, a hair transplant is a surgical procedure. So like every other type of surgery, this too comes with risk. When you sign on for a hair transplant, your surgeon will let you know all of the risks before you sign your consent form.
The main risks with this form of surgery are hemorrhage and infections. Hemorrhage is something that can commonly occur as a side effect of the grafting process.
Also, you may experience thinning of your hair which is temporary after your procedure. This type of hair loss is known as shedding and it is also called shock loss.
Another possible side effect of hair transplants is itching. Scarring and cysts are also possibilities. You may also suffer from bleeding and swelling.
In general, these cosmetic procedures are very safe and don’t cause many side effects. If side effects do occur, they aren’t severe and they don’t last for long.
However, there is always the risk of more severe side effects and prospective candidates for hair transplants need to know this. Also, bad design is a risk, so choose your surgeon with care.
Selecting a board-certified surgeon with good experience is a good option. This way, you can boost your odds of great results that you are happy with and minimizing the risk of surgery and side-effects.
Patients vary in terms of how long it takes for them to recover from their hair transplant procedure. In general, most people need three to four days in order to heal.
This 3 – 4 day period concurs with an article from National Health Service UK. According to NHS, patients may get on with their lives and resume their typical daily activities after 3 – 4 days.
After the 3 – 4 day healing process is finished, the follicles are under the scalp.
Infection risk is quite low at this point. Any discomfort which relates to the operation should also ease by the time that three or four days have passed.
Downtime, Self Care & Healing
With this in mind, you should plan some downtime after your operation. It might be three days or it might be a week. It depends on your schedule.
Be sure to take time to rest and heal after your hair transplant. It’s important to be kind to yourself, although you should find that the recovery process is not too demanding.
Your surgeon will recommend self-care techniques which help you to feel as good as possible right after surgery.
Scabs from a hair transplant tend to start falling off after a week to ten days. If you get an FUE or FUT hair transplant, then you’ll need to wash your scalp with very gentle shampoo like baby shampoo.
You may also need to take medications in order to manage discomfort right after your procedure. Ointments, antibacterial solutions and other health care products may be recommended in order to remove crusts from grafts.
Avoid scratching or hitting your head. Nothing should touch your head during recovery, except when you are touching it to perform aftercare as directed by your surgeon.
You should also drink plenty of fluids and stay away from sugar and salt. Sleep with two pillows in order to keep your head in an upright position.
An average hair transplantation cost in India starts from ₹1,30,000 ( $2,000 approx) and further depends on how many grafts are required and the cost per graft.
Likewise the cost of an average facial hair transplant can start from ₹80,000 ( $1,250 approx ) and this also depends on number of grafts required.
There isn’t a fixed price as the amount of hair being transplanted varies from person to person. The more hair which needs to be transplanted, the higher the price tag.
Also, the skill and talent of a surgeon will impact how much is charged. Naturally, the best surgeons are able to get more money for their services.
Since this procedure is cosmetic, it’s unlikely that it will be covered under a medical insurance plan. It is recommended getting the procedure from a very experienced and highly-rated surgeon.
When a surgeon is board-certified, he or she will have hospital privileges. These types of surgeons are the cream of the crop and it’s worth your time to find a board-certified surgeon.
The services of this type of surgeon may be pricier.But it’s safe to say that great hair transplant results are well worth paying for.
However, there are variables which affect the price of these procedures and you shop carefully analyse and decide. You’ll need the services of surgeon who offers a hair transplant for a price that you can afford.
After a hair transplant, you’ll need to wait for new hair regrowth. Optimal results begin to show within four months to one year. Hair which has been transplanted should become coarser, fuller and thicker.
How quick the hair growth happens may depend on the type of hair transplant that you had.
For example with FUE, hair which has been transplanted will grow upwards, as one hair. Later, it will become a double or triple hair, depending on what was present before the procedure.
Hair transplant results are generally very good. To see what we mean, just Google some “before and after” pictures of people who have had these types of procedures.
Hair transplants are permanent solutions to the problem of baldness and thinning hair. Some people don’t get any other procedures after their hair transplants.
However, certain people do opt for PRP hair fall treatment or laser hair therapy afterwards depending on the advice of their cosmetic surgeon.
These non-surgical procedures assist with the solidification of hair follicles which were transplanted and they also help to slow down hair loss in non-transplanted follicles.
Speak with your surgeon to find out what he or she recommends for after your own hair transplant. The healthy follicles which were transplanted grow hair on their own.
This is why hair transplant is very effective in terms of filling in sparse areas and giving a thicker hair look. The new, transplanted follicles grow hair just like your non-transplanted follicles did before baldness.
Facial Hair Transplant
A facial hair transplant is a cosmetic surgery operation which will restore hair to parts of the face where facial hair growth has slowed down or stopped.
A lot of men choose this form of procedure in order to restore hair to their moustache areas, goatee areas or complete beards. This procedure can also be performed on cheeks and sideburns.
In addition, this type of procedure may be utilized in order to hide scars from acne or other forms of facial scars. Facial hair loss has a variety of causes.
Some men can lose facial hair due to genetics, while others can lose hair as a result of prior laser hair removal which they later regret.
Other common causes of facial hair loss include burns, injuries, surgery or electrolysis.
Some patients require more hair restoration than others. Moustache or beard transplant is performed on regions where no hair is present or in places where hair growth isn’t adequate. It’s about adding a fuller facial hair looIn general, men need nearly between 350 to 500 grafts in order to restore fullness to their moustaches.
And nearly 600 to 700 grafts are required in order to add a thicker, more visually-appealing look to their goatees.
For sideburns, an average graft amount varies between 200 and 250 grafts. With the cheek beard area, 300 to 700 grafts are generally performed.
Usually, a single procedure sitting is enough. However, some people do need a second sitting.
Before and After
All over the web, cosmetic surgeons display before-and-after pictures of hair transplants via online galleries on their home pages and other web pages.
When you browse the websites of board-certified surgeons, you’ll be able to see results up close and personal.
You’ll probably be amazed by just how wonderful some of the “after” pictures for hair transplants are. For example, you’ll see some men who hardly had any hair left turn into guys with thick, luxuriant locks.
Before after images are only meant to represent typical results. Not everyone who undergoes a procedures will achieve the same results.
Like we already explained, it is important to not get carried away by these before after images. Try to set realistic expectations only after a consultation with a surgeon.
It’s also important to appreciate a surgeon’s style. The amount of grafts which are agreed upon will also impact results.
Choosing a Surgeon
The healthcare industry is experiencing a rapid growth. Suddenly, in one niche, there are hundreds of medical practitioners offering there services to patients.
On the patient’s side too, things have changed drastically. The “internet” happened. And now its easier than ever to find lots of surgeons and hospitals with one search online.
But how does one tell which doctor, surgeon or hospital is better suited for their needs? Here are some points to look into before you choose a hair transplant surgeon.
5 Important Factors
- Board Certification
Make sure the surgeon who will treat you is board-certified. This should be the first and the most important point on your checklist.
- Years of Experience & Professional Accreditation
The next step to narrow down your search to a list of highly competent and qualified surgeons. Check if he / she has a good track record. Inquire about their years of surgical experience in the procedure you want.
- Reviews & Ratings
Read patient testimonials and reviews on online message boards and forums. Ask other people who have undergone procedures about their experience with said doctor / hospital.
- Hospital Infrastructure
Hair transplant as a procedure is very much surgical in nature. You should thus inquire if the facility you choose has..
1. The availability of speciality surgeons
2. Use of latest / advanced technology
3. Good hospital infrastructure
- Friendly Doctors and Staff
Lastly, after a couple of visits to the doctor, it is vital that the doctor and the staff make you feel at home. A good doctor never pressurises their patients into surgery.