▶ Yes, hair transplants work.
▶ Tens of different studies and research prove that the majority of hair transplants are the most successful hair loss treatment.
▶ And annually, hundreds of thousands of people successfully get hair transplants and move on with their lives with a full head of hair.
▶ But, it’s crucial to work with an expert surgeon (preferably a dermatologist) and adopt the right habits
It’s not uncommon for patients with hair loss, especially male pattern baldness, to question the risks and effectiveness of hair transplant surgeries.
As a dermatologist who has treated over 50,000 patients, I haven’t yet treated a hair transplant patient that didn’t ask the question:
“Is this going to work?”
That is why, in this article, I will answer that and other similar questions about hair transplants, along with discussing their effectiveness and success.
Table of Contents
The first step, of course, is understanding what it is:
What Exactly Is a Hair Transplant?
💠 A hair transplant surgery is pretty simple on the surface: We harvest hair from the donor area to implant it into the bald areas.
Yet, the surgery itself can take 4-8 hours.
You might start preparations months ago, and you’ll need to stick by some rules and guidelines for 12 months. When you combine all this work, it becomes much more demanding, intimidating, and even complex at times.
Let me briefly explain each of the surgery phases so you can get a sense of what awaits a hair transplant patient when they make the decision:
You can just show up at the clinic and get your hair transplant, but it is NOT suggested.
Before going into surgery, we need to make sure your body is in its best shape to undergo a transplant operation.
For example, at UnitedCare, we ask you to start using Oral Finasteride 90 days before the operation and encourage Vitamin C supplements. Also, we don’t recommend the consumption of certain drugs and substances to ensure success such as cigarettes and nicotine, alcohol, Minoxidil, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and a few others.
👉 If you’re going in for a hair transplant surgery soon, you can use our Care Assistant tool to see what is allowed (and not) to make sure everything’s in order.
Once the day of the surgery arrives, you are first briefed on what’s going to happen by your physician. Then, your hairline is drawn, and local anesthesia is applied to your scalp before the surgery phase begins.
The surgery can proceed differently depending on the technique and surgical procedures your physician is using:
A Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) is a hair transplant procedure where a strip of tissue is cut from the donor area to harvest grafts.
➡️ The surgeon extracts a strip of tissue from the donor area (usually from the back of the scalp). Then, the hair transplant surgeon and their team harvest individual hair follicles from the tissue and get them ready for the implanting part.
Once that’s done, individual hair follicles are implanted in the balding area.
⚠️ FUT is not preferred by most hair transplant clinics because it can leave visible linear scars in the donor area since, to harvest hair grafts, tissue is removed from this part.
That’s why, according to ISHRS research, only 33% of all hair transplant surgeries are done using the FUT method.
Other than some cheap clinics choosing this this technique to save time and effort, the more preferred version is the FUE:
The most popular hair transplant technique, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), is a more skill-demanding and time-consuming operation that generates more natural results due to this extra work.
*️⃣ The main difference from FUT comes in the follicle harvesting part. There are no cuts to your scalp in this method, instead, a special punch tool is used to extract individual follicles from your scalp one by one.
Then, the harvested grafts are planted in the bald areas, and the operation is done.
FUE is more advantageous and should become more common, not only because it doesn’t leave permanent scars, but because it produces much more natural-looking results and the healing phase is much quicker. 🍀
Once the implanting is done, bandages are applied to your donor area, and the surgery is completed.
Now we come to the final phase where your personal efforts matter the most:
From my own medical experience, I would say hair transplant aftercare is twice as important as the surgery itself.
That is because the success of the whole operation mostly depends on whether or not you enable your body to adjust itself to all the changes.
To properly handle the physical stress of the surgery and eliminating further hair loss, numerous medications and practices are necessary for your hair to adopt and survive the following months. 💊
To understand how the term “success” depends a lot on the post-surgery phase, I will first define what success means and looks like in a hair transplant:
How Do We Define “Success” in Hair Transplant Surgeries?
When we measure the success of a hair transplant, we measure the survival rate of the transplanted hair.
If, after a year or so, you retain the majority of the transplanted hair and have a full head of hair, then we can count your hair transplant as a success.
🔍 That’s because almost all transplanted hair loss happens during this period, and you start to see visible hair growth from the transplanted follicles around 6 months post-surgery, so a year after your transplant is a great time to evaluate the process.
Based on the evaluation results we get a year after surgery, we can determine the success rate of the hair transplants:
What Is the Success Rate of Hair Transplants?
According to hair loss statistics, 57.2% of patients achieve success (desired result) in their first hair transplant surgery, while 33.1% of them consider the process successful after their second surgery.
And only 9.6% of hair transplant patients undergo 3 or more surgeries to achieve their desired look.
🔹 These numbers are highly dependent on the hair transplant technique, the expertise of your physician, and the aftercare guidelines you’ve followed.
At UnitedCare, the patients who have successful hair transplants the first time, where most grafts survive and the hairline is restored, is much higher, around 90%.
The reason for the drastic difference is the FUE technique and advanced methods we use, our expert dermatologist staff, and the importance we put in aftercare.
However not all clinics structure their teams and processes the same way, which can end up creating many failures:
Hair Transplants Can Go Wrong
Hair transplant failures are real.
⚠️ And I’m not just mentioning the survival rate of the grafts; there can be surgical complications that cause health problems, poorly designed hairlines and transplants that look unnatural, and even some irreversible effects that might affect you for life.
Your hair transplant can simply be rejected by your body, ending up in undesirable results.
1️⃣ The primary reason behind these risks is actually simple: A hair transplant is a medical surgery that requires an actual surgeon and a holistic approach.
Most hair clinics are built solely for the purpose of generating money. You can come across clinics that hire inexperienced physicians to run the operations or inexperienced staff that don’t know what they’re doing and even adopt practices that are medically wrong.
So, the usually number one reason for terrible hair transplant results that look worse than before the operation is surgeries that do NOT involve the surgeon.
2️⃣ And the second biggest reason is making the mistake of NOT following the aftercare guidelines.
The surgery is the smallest part of the whole hair transplant experience, and the most important part for most expert surgeons is the aftercare.
The surgery only involves harvesting and implanting the grafts into the bald areas of your scalp in the operation room. At the end of the day, it’s up to your body and scalp to accept or reject this newly transplanted hair.
If you provide your body with everything it needs during the recovery process and stay away from unadvised activities and substances, you’re providing your body with the right environment to recover and grow. 🌱
So, first, you need to make sure you choose a quality clinic equipped with the right tools and an expert staff that consists of dermatologists and seasoned physicians. 🩺
Finally, you need to make sure you get the right guidelines from your physician and stick by them for the next 12-16 months until you see hair growth. The right choices will dramatically improve your chances of success for your hair transplant.
After passing the one year barrier and seeing your transplant was a success, you can then start to seeing how long it will last:
How Long Do Hair Transplants Last?
So, the question is, how long do hair transplants last and are they permanent?
Hair transplants should ONLY last forever IF you stop the existing hair loss.
So, if you have healthy post-surgery care for battling hair loss, you shouldn’t lose the majority of your transplanted follicles (not the hair grafts; hairs fall out and grow consistently), especially after the first 12 months, when the most amount of loss happens.
If you already have, let’s say androgenetic alopecia, where you keep losing hair as you age, shouldn’t you lose the transplanted hair also?
For most of my patients, no.
To understand why, I need to explain where the transplanted hair comes from:
The area we use to harvest hair follicles is called the “safe donor area,” which is usually at the back of your head, just a little above your neck. The reason these areas are called “safe” is that the hair follicles on these parts don’t actually fall out of your scalp due to androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
It’s not the skin on these parts that are resistant to AGA; it’s the healthy hair follicles themselves. So when we harvest and implant these follicles in the bald areas, they are stronger than the follicles they replace and should stay there unless an external source affects them.
In transplant surgeries, there’s a concept called “donor dominance,” which implies that the donor tissue will always keep its traits and behavior in the new body/location.
So, the transplanted hair follicles protect their characteristics and end up growing hair on top of your head for a long time (if you go through the two steps we’ve mentioned before).
With all the information I have presented to you about them, there is only one question left to answer:
Are Hair Transplants Really Worth It?
Basen on the countless studies we have and hundreds of successful operations I’ve been a part of over the years, I can say that yes, hair transplants are totally worth it.
Especially if you’re proceeding with the latest technology and advanced methods while working with a dermatologist doctor for your hair transplant, there’ll be no reason to fail.
But the first step is, of course, diagnosing your pattern baldness and seeing if you’re available for a hair transplant, which we do for you for FREE at UnitedCare.
At UnitedCare, we begin your hair transplant process by offering you a free one-on-one consultation with our expert doctors to determine your suitability.
💊 Our holistic approach provides advanced technologies and bio-enhancements to ensure you do not need another surgery.
Once you have decided on a method, we begin the treatment with the utmost attention. 💉
But most importantly, we stay in contact with our patients even long after the surgery, ensuring that your transplant becomes permanent. 🍀
Affordable hair transplant costs, a holistic approach, and experienced dermatologists on-site are here to provide you with the right solution.
Click here to start with a free consultation:
UnitedCare provides a holistic approach to FUE surgeries with the latest technologies.
You can get a free consultation right now and restore your natural look with our dermatologists:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do hair transplants work permanently?
Hair transplants should be permanent ONLY IF you follow proper post-surgery guidelines about the medications and activities you can add to your daily life to battle and stop hair loss that may be caused from external sources. However, because the harvested hair is from a region called the “safe donor area”, it is not influenced by androgenetic alopecia or other genetic types of hair loss.
Which age is best for a hair transplant?
The ages between 25 and 35 are the ages when your pattern baldness becomes more settled and visible, making it a great time to have a hair transplant. Thus, the majority of hair transplants are actually operated on this age group.
Is getting a hair transplant painful?
Most patients feel just a very little pain during the surgery thanks to the local anesthesia. Following the surgery, if you’re getting a FUT transplant, you might feel pain and tightness around the donor area since there is a surgical cut there. If you’re getting an FUE, however, you will likely experience much more milder pain, which will be the same in the recovery process, too (with medication support).
Are there any side effects of hair transplants?
Yes, however, these are minimal side effects that are comprised of your body’s reaction to the physical trauma of the surgery which is easily recovered after some time of resting. These side effects include bleeding, itching, swelling and temporary hair shedding in the first months.