How Does a Hair Transplant Work?

  • 18 June 2024
  • Dr. Sheldon Feld

Last updated on June 27, 2024

Hair loss is a common concern affecting millions of men and women worldwide. While various treatments exist, hair transplantation remains a popular and effective solution for achieving a permanent, natural-looking head of hair. But how exactly does this procedure work? Let’s look into the science behind hair transplantation and explore its remarkable ability to restore lost hair.

We Start With the Hair Growth Cycle

Hair follicles are the tiny pockets in your scalp that produce hair. Each follicle goes through a specific growth cycle consisting of three phases:

  • Anagen (Growth Phase)

    This is the active phase where the hair follicle actively produces new hair cells, resulting in visible hair growth. This phase typically lasts 2-7 years for scalp hair.

  • Catagen (Transition Phase)

    This short phase marks the end of active hair growth, lasting a few weeks. The hair follicle detaches from the blood supply and prepares for the resting phase.

  • Telogen (Resting Phase)

    The hair follicle remains dormant for several months during this phase before eventually shedding the existing hair strand. The follicle then re-enters the anagen phase, initiating a new hair growth cycle.

The Science of Hair Transplantation

Hair transplantation involves surgically extracting healthy hair follicles from a donor area (typically the back or sides of the scalp, where hair is genetically resistant to balding) and transplanting them to the recipient area (the bald or thinning area). This process leverages the natural growth cycle of hair follicles to establish new hair growth in areas experiencing hair loss.

The Two Main Hair Transplant Techniques

There are two primary methods for hair transplantation: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT).

  • Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

    This minimally invasive technique involves extracting individual follicular units, containing 1-4 hairs each, directly from the scalp using a specialized micro punch tool. The extracted follicles are then meticulously prepared and transplanted into the recipient area. FUE results in tiny dot scars at the donor site, generally undetectable with short haircuts.

  • Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)

    This technique involves removing a thin strip of scalp containing healthy follicles from the donor area. This strip is then meticulously dissected under high magnification into individual follicular units. Similar to FUE, the extracted grafts are transplanted into the recipient area. FUT leaves a linear scar at the donor site, which might be noticeable with very short hairstyles.

How Does Hair Transplantation Work

There are two types of hair transplant surgery – FUT and FUE. Both have their pros and cons, and your surgeon cna help you decide which method will work best for you.

Inside the Hair Transplant Process

Here’s a simplified breakdown of the hair transplantation process:

Consultation and Planning

A thorough consultation with a qualified hair transplant surgeon at a hair restoration clinic is crucial. They will assess your scalp health, hair loss pattern, and desired outcome to determine if hair transplantation is suitable for you. They will also discuss the most appropriate technique (FUE or FUT) based on your individual needs and aesthetic goals.

Preparation

On the day of the procedure, the scalp is thoroughly cleaned and numbed with local anaesthesia to ensure patient comfort. The chosen hair transplant technique is then performed.

Graft Extraction (FUE/FUT)

Depending on the chosen technique, either individual follicular units are extracted directly (FUE) or a strip of scalp containing follicles is removed (FUT).

Graft Preparation

The extracted follicular units are meticulously prepared for transplantation. This often involves microscopic dissection to separate individual units for optimal results.

Recipient Site Preparation

Tiny recipient sites are created in the bald or thinning area using specialized needles or blades to accommodate the transplanted follicles.

Transplantation

The prepared follicular units are carefully transplanted into the recipient sites with meticulous attention to direction, angle, and density to achieve a natural-looking hairline.

Recovery

Following the procedure, the scalp will experience some swelling and redness, which typically subsides within a few days. Specific post-operative instructions are provided to support proper healing.

Results

Hair transplant results are not immediate and, in fact, initial shedding of transplanted hair tends to happen within a few weeks post-surgery. This is a normal part of the growth cycle. Visible new hair growth typically begins around 3-4 months as the hair growth cycle starts to enter the anagen phase, with continued gradual improvement over the next year or so. Once established, the transplanted hair follicles are genetically resistant to balding and will continue to grow naturally throughout your life.

Process of Hair Transplant Surgery

You will only see the results of your hair transplant surgery once the transplanted hair follicles move back into the anagen phase (growth phase), which can take a few months.

Start Your Hair Restoration Journey Today!

Hair transplantation offers a permanent solution for men and women with hair loss who want a fuller, natural-looking head of hair. By understanding the science behind the procedure and the meticulous artistry involved, you can make an informed decision about your hair restoration journey. At Hair Transplant Medical Centre, we’re dedicated to exceeding expectations. Our team of highly experienced surgeons leverages cutting-edge technology to create stunning results. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your hair loss concerns and explore how we can help you achieve your desired outcome.

FAQs

What types of hair loss can hair transplants treat?

Hair transplantation can effectively address various types of hair loss, including male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), female pattern hair loss, and hair loss due to scarring or trauma.

Why choose the Hair Transplant Medical Centre for your hair transplant?

Our hair transplantation clinic offers you exceptional experience. Our lead surgeons have over 23 years of expertise in crafting natural-looking hairlines. We prioritize meticulous service and utilize cutting-edge technology to ensure a successful and confidence-boosting hair restoration journey for you. We offer both FUE hair transplants and FUT hair transplantations as well as other hair restoration treatments, allowing us to tailor the approach to your specific needs.

Am I a good candidate for a hair transplant?

The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for hair transplantation is to consult a qualified hair transplant surgeon. They will assess your individual situation, including your scalp health, hair loss pattern, and overall health. Factors like adequate donor hair availability and realistic expectations about the results are also considered.

What are the long-term effects of hair transplantation?

The transplanted hair follicles are genetically resistant to balding and will grow naturally for your lifetime. However, it’s important to remember that the surrounding non-transplanted hair may continue to thin with age. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing existing hair loss conditions can support overall hair health and longevity of the transplanted hair.

What are the risks associated with hair transplantation?

Like any surgery, hair transplantation carries some potential risks. These are typically minor and can include infection, temporary numbness in the scalp, and scarring at the donor site.  However, choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon significantly minimizes these risks and ensures the procedure is performed with the utmost safety and precision.

Dr. Sheldon Feld

About The Author

Dr. Sheldon Feld

With over two decades of dedicated practice, specializing exclusively in hair restoration since 2000, our highly experienced surgeon has performed over 2,000 successful hair transplant procedures, totaling 5,000,000 grafts. Trained under world-renowned experts like Dr. Walter P. Unger, we prioritize creativity and precision to deliver natural-looking results. Leading a compassionate team, we ensure patient satisfaction and are recognized members of esteemed organizations such as the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.

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