Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that removes hair follicles from one part of the body, called the ‘donor site’, to a bald or balding part of the body known as the ‘recipient site’. The technique is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness
You usually have the procedure in the doctor’s office. First, the surgeon cleans your scalp and injects medicine to numb the back of your head. Your doctor will choose one of two methods for the transplant: follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) or follicular unit extraction (FUE).
Expectations and Recovery
After the surgery, your scalp may be very tender. You may need to take pain medications for several days. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages over your scalp for at least a day or two. He may also prescribe an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory drug for you to take for several days. Most people are able to return to work 2 to 5 days after the operation.
Within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out, but you should start to notice new growth within a few months. Most people will see 60% of new hair growth after 6 to 9 months. Some surgeons prescribe the hair-growing drug minoxidil (Rogaine) to improve hair growth after transplantation, but it’s not clear how well it works.
Are there different types of hair transplants?
There are two types of transplant procedures: slit grafts and micrografts.
Slit grafts contain 4 to 10 hairs per graft. Micrografts contain 1 to 2 hairs per graft, depending on the amount of coverage needed.
Who might benefit from a hair transplant?
Receiving a hair transplant can improve your appearance and self-confidence. Good candidates for a hair transplant include:
- men with male pattern baldness
- women with thinning hair
- anyone who has lost some hair from a burn or scalp injury
Hair replacement isn’t a good option for:
- women with a widespread pattern of hair loss throughout the scalp
- people who don’t have enough “donor” hair sites from which to remove hair for transplant
- people who form keloid scars (thick, fibrous scars) after injury or surgery
- people whose hair loss is due to medication such as chemotherapy