When you think of “hair transplants,” you might be envisioning the patchy, noticeable hair plugs of years past. But hair transplants have come a long way, particularly in the last decade.
Hair transplantation — sometimes called hair restoration — is an outpatient procedure that uses micrografting technology to donate your own hair follicles to other areas of your scalp that are thinning.
The results of a hair transplant are visibly long-lasting and are considered to be permanent. The procedure is also time-consuming and does involve a healing and recovery process. For these reasons, people who have already experienced significant thinning of the hair on their scalp are the typical candidates for a hair transplant.
This article will help you understand the results of a hair transplant, what to expect, and types of procedures.
Is it permanent?
After your hair follicles are grafted into areas where your hair is thinning, it takes some time for your skin to heal. In fact, it’s normal for some of your hair to fall out for the first three months after the procedure.
Healing can take somewhere between 6 to 12 months. But once the healing process is complete, the transplanted follicles begin to grow hair that will fill out the bald patches on your scalp. This is hair that will continue to grow naturally as you get older.
The movement of the hair follicles is permanent; there’s no way to return them to their previous position. But like the rest of your hair follicles, the transplanted ones have a lifespan. At some point, they may gradually stop producing as much hair as they used to.
Is it possible that you could need another?
It’s possible that your first hair transplantation procedure won’t be your last.
There are some candidates who will be told by their doctor that they need multiple “sessions” of transplant surgery to achieve the results that they want.
Other candidates are pleased with the results after their first hair transplant has healed, and later decide to try to fill out additional thinning patches on their head.
Types of procedures
There are two types of “modern” hair transplantation procedures that are currently performed.
The Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) type of procedure transplants a strip of your own hair follicles, taken from your scalp at the back of your head, to areas of your hair that are thinning or bald.
A Follicular Unit Extraction (FEU) uses small punctures to transplant follicles from all over your head to areas where your hair is thinning or bald.
Both types of hair transplantation procedures are considered permanent.
When your hair transplant procedure is done, it will take some time before you can see the results. As the transplanted sections of hair begin to heal, you may notice that you lose even more of your hair for the first few months. Your provider should reassure you that this is normal and to be expected.
Once your hair transplant has fully healed, you will see follicles of your own hair beginning to make an appearance. The hair will grow in and eventually be the same texture and length as the rest of your hair. Hair transplants performed by a micrograft can be cut, styled, and dyed according to your preference.
What to expect long-term
Your hair transplant should hold up over the long-term. It’s possible that as you age, the hair follicles will thin, but they will most likely produce at least some hair for the rest of your life.
If your hair thinning continues, your hairline won’t recede according to your former “pattern” of natural hair loss. Your provider should discuss with you, at length, the plan to make sure that your hair doesn’t look patchy or unnatural in the coming years after your hair transplant.
When to talk a doctor
If you feel self-conscious about your hair loss, you should speak with your doctor. There are medical conditions and medications that can cause hair loss as a side effect. You may need to rule out those outside factors before you are considered a candidate for a hair transplant.
There is no credentialing process to vet doctors who wish to perform hair transplantation. That’s why it’s essential to do your homework as you consider which doctor to use for this procedure.
Look for a healthcare provider who specializes in hair transplantation. This may include dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, and plastic surgeons. Ask for several sets of before and after photos and discuss the method and process of your hair transplant with a potential provider before booking your appointment.
The bottom line
Hair transplants are a treatment option for hair that is visibly thinning. The results of a hair transplant are considered permanent because you cannot undo them.
However, that doesn’t mean that the way your hair transplant looks after it heals is the way that it will look for the rest of your life.
Finding an experienced provider who understands how to create a natural-looking, sustainable hair transplant design is essential to being pleased with your results.