What to Know About Hair Transplantation

Hair transplant – also known as hair replacement or hair restoration – involves moving hair from areas of the scalp with good hair growth to balding or thinning areas. The procedure aims to provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance for those distressed about the impact of hair loss on their physical appearance.

Key takeaways:

Hair transplantation is used in people who suffer from hair loss, especially hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia, the most common driver of hair loss in men and women. To be a good candidate for a hair transplant, you should be in good health and try other nonsurgical options for restoring hair, such as Rogaine.


For hair transplantation to be successful, it is important to have an area of the scalp with good hair growth. Men with male pattern baldness, women with thinning hair, and people who have lost hair due to an injury or burn tend to benefit most from hair transplants.

Hair transplant performed with grafts

The most common type of hair transplant surgery is hair grafting. This procedure involves moving a small piece of skin from an area of the scalp with good hair growth – termed the donor site – to the area where hair growth is desired. Usually, this means moving hair from the back of the head to the front.

The incision, which can be made by a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist, is usually several inches long and closed with stitches. Regardless of the size of the incision site, the number of hairs in the graft varies. Hair often falls out following the procedure as part of the healing process. However, the hair should subsequently grow back.

Hair transplant techniques improving

The effects of a hair transplant can take up to a year to be observable, but recent advancements in hair transplantation techniques have made the results of these interventions appear more natural. Whether desired results are achieved depends on several factors, including the quality of the hair and whether it curls, as well as the density of follicles in the transplanted area and the laxity of the skin on the scalp. Whether the procedure is done in conjunction with other interventions, such as platelet-rich plasma injections can also significantly affect the outcomes.

The results of hair transplantation may not last forever. For example, the site where hair is transplanted appears to affect the longevity of hair restoration. Touch-up procedures are therefore often needed to achieve and maintain one’s preferred appearance.

Risks and side effects


Hair transplants are minimally invasive, so people can normally go home the same day the procedure is performed. There is some chance that the surgery is unsuccessful, and hair does not grow back in the balding or thinning area. However, serious clinical complications like excessive blood loss or allergic reactions to anesthesia are rare. The most common complication associated with hair transplantation is swelling, which occurs in 5% of cases.

Other relatively common transient side effects associated with hair transplantation include pain, itching, scabbing, throbbing, and loss of feeling. Bleeding, folliculitis, numbness in the scalp, cysts, ingrown hairs, scarring, and infections may also occur.

Hair transplantation is not for everyone

While hair transplantation can be beneficial for many people suffering from hair loss, there are some people who experience hair loss for which hair transplantation is not appropriate. For example, people whose hair loss may be caused by an inflammatory condition or hair trauma are often not eligible for hair transplantation.

Those whose hair loss is due to medications, and women who have widespread hair loss, are not good candidates for hair transplantation. In addition, those with certain skin conditions, infections, malnutrition, or illnesses including psychiatric disorders may also need to avoid this procedure.

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