Hair transplant is a hair replacement treatment. The procedure restores hair by transplanting follicles into balding or thinning areas. The procedure involves transplanting follicular units (the natural bundling of one to four hairs) from the back or side of the head.
FUE or FUT?
The most common technique is “strip harvesting” (follicular unit transfer, or FUT). It involves removing a single strip of the scalp where follicles are plentiful, and cutting out the follicular units to create grafts for transplanting.
Another common technique is follicular unit extraction (FUE). During a FUE procedure, each follicular unit is removed one at a time. It’s more time consuming, but avoids the linear scar that results from a FUT procedure. FUE is a popular choice for anyone who wants to wear their hair short after the transplant.
How long does a hair transplant procedure take?
Hair restoration surgery usually takes a full day and is performed under local anesthesia and sedation. Healthy hair follicles are removed from the back, or sides of the head, and transplanted to areas where hair loss is occurring.
The average number of individual grafts needed depends on the patient. Many surgeries involve between 1,000 and 3,000 grafts.
Recovery, results, and potential complications
Your recovery time will depend on the extent of the surgery. Many patients report mild pain, numbness and soreness. It is common for hairs from the transplanted follicles to fall out in the first month and then regrow. It’s possible to see new growth within three months of surgery, although some patients may need to wait six to nine months to see results.
Complications with hair transplant surgery are relatively uncommon. Potential hair restoration side effects may include scarring or uneven hair growth. If the results of the surgery are patchy or if the follicle grafts don’t establish well at the new site, your surgeon may wish to perform a follow-up surgery to correct scarring or to transplant more follicles to fill in thinner areas.