Hair transplantation surgery

Surgery Overview

Hair transplantation surgery involves moving scalp hair and hair follicles from an area with a lot of hair to an area with thinning hair or baldness. Single strands of hair, multiple strands of hair, or long and thin strips containing 30 to 40 strands of hair may be transplanted. This technique can produce a natural look on the forehead, and a natural, dense look on the top of the head.

The follicles and hair are removed from one part of the head with either a tubelike instrument called a punch graft or with a scalpel. Stitches are used to close the opening made from removing the hair. The hair strands are then transplanted into tiny holes or slits in bald areas of the scalp.

In most cases, you will need several surgeries to achieve the coverage you want. To maintain healthy blood circulation, the transplants (known as grafts) are usually spaced apart during the first surgery. In the following surgeries, more hair grafts are used to fill in the spaces.

What To Expect After Surgery

Often, hair may fall out after it is transplanted, but new hair will regrow in the transplanted hair follicle. But it may take a period of time before you can see the new hair growth.

The success and amount of hair coverage on a treated area depends on how many hair follicles remain healthy after being transplanted. You will probably need several surgeries to get the hair coverage you want. Healing between surgeries usually takes several months.

Why It Is Done

Hair transplantation is used to cover bald spots on the scalp.

How Well It Works

The success of hair coverage depends on how many hair follicles remain healthy after being transplanted. You will probably need several surgeries to get the coverage you want.

Risks

Risks of hair transplantation surgery include:

  • Death of the hair follicles after being transplanted, in which case no new hair will grow.
  • An unnatural look with a patchy hair pattern.
  • Infection.
  • Scarring.
  • Excessive bleeding.

What To Think About

Hair transplantation surgery may be a permanent treatment for hair loss. But it can be expensive, and it may take several surgeries and up to 2 years to achieve the coverage you want.

No other factor may influence the results of cosmetic surgery as strongly as the doctor's level of experience. Don't be afraid to ask about the doctor's experience with the procedure you are considering. To learn more about choosing a doctor, see Choosing a Surgeon and Facility.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.

Last Updated: June 17, 2008

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