Sometimes referred to as hair transplants, hair restoration or hair implants, these replacement treatments for men and women permanently restore hair by transplanting new follicles into balding or thinning areas. Hair transplants correct male-pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss.
What is a hair transplant?
A hair transplant involves harvesting hair from your own head where your hair grows more thickly, and transplanting it to areas where you wish to have more hair.
What’s involved in a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is performed under local anaesthetic and takes 4-8 hours depending on the technique used and the desired results. Sometimes a hair transplant may be done over two days if the procedure will be very extensive.
There are two methods of harvesting the hair, which is normally taken from the back of the head where hair grows thickest and tends to be least affected by age-related thinning.
In the FUT or Strip method (also known as Micro-grafting or Micro Hair Transplanting), a strip of tissue is removed and then dissected under a microscope into individual follicular units. The Strip method can be better for patients with larger areas of baldness as more grafts can be transplanted during one procedure. In Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), grafts consisting of small groups of hair follicles are harvested individually with a special punch, and the surgeon must be careful to harvest over a wide area so that the donor site is not left looking patchy. The scalp is usually shaved before an FUE procedure for maximum accuracy and yield, although some clinics now offer an option for Unshaven Hair Transplant (U-FUE), and the FUE method is more time consuming, meaning less potential grafts can be harvested in the time available.
How long will it take me to recover from a hair transplant?
You should expect some soreness and a little swelling for the first few days, so be prepared to take around three days off work. If the FUT method has been used, this is slightly more invasive and the scalp may take longer to heal. However, results with the FUT method can be better, as not only are more grafts likely to be harvested and transplanted in the available time, but also the grafts have a slightly higher success rate, as the punch extraction method causes less damage to the follicles.
What are the risks of a hair transplant?
The risks involved in a hair transplant are very minimal, but there is a very small risk of infection, bleeding and unexpectedly severe scarring. If the FUT method has been used some scarring at the back of the head is to be expected, but this is not extensive. It should soon fade, and as hair grows back over the donor site it will no longer be visible. There is also a risk that you might not get the cosmetic result you desire, and a further transplant may be needed later.
Although you will be able to see an instant difference, often transplanted hair may fall out due to the trauma of the procedure, and the follicles will take a few months to revive and achieve normal growth. It will take 6-12 months to see the full effect.
How much will a hair transplant cost?
Prices for a hair transplant range from £1,900 to £7,000 depending on the technique used and the extent of the transplant. Fees for correcting crown thinning are at the lower end of the scale, while treatment for extensive baldness is likely to cost over £5000.