How Effective is Hair Transplant?

a doctor using injection on a woman's scalp

Hair Transplant

Hair transplant aims to restore hair growth to the areas of the scalp with limited or no growth. They may be effective treatments for many types of hair loss, but they cannot pause any future hair loss. 

Hair loss and thinning of hair are a normal part of ageing, and they can also occur due to any trauma or medical condition to the scalp. Some people who face hair loss may opt for a hair transplant for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons.

Types of hair transplant

During a hair transplant, a surgeon removes follicles from a thick area of hairs, such as the back of the head, which they will refer to as the donor area. Then they implant the follicles into tiny cuts on the affected area of the scalp.

Two main kinds of hair transplant are:

  • Follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS). The surgeon will remove a strip of skin from the donor area and close the cut with stitches. They will then use a microscope to separate the donor skin into tiny follicular units that contain several hair follicles and insert those units into the desired area.
  • Follicular unit extraction (FUE). The surgeon will use a tiny punch tool to pull out follicles from the donor area. Although this course of action will still lead to some scarring, it may be less observable, and the person will not usually require stitches.

Both the techniques are effective, but they can attain different results in some cases. In most cases, surgeons use the back or side of the head as the donor area. However, taking skin from the back, chin, or chest of the body can also be effective. Using body hair may be helpful for those who do not have thick hair on the back or sides of their heads.

One research suggests that taking body or beard hair is more time taking and requires more skill than using scalp hair. However, another study describes that the body and beard can be an excellent source of donor's hair for hair transplants.

Do hair transplants work?

Hair transplants are typically more successful than over-the-counter hair rebuilding products. But there are a few factors to look through:

  • Anywhere from 10-80% of the transplanted hair will fully grow back in an estimated three to four months.
  • Like regular hairs, the transplanted hair will become thin over time.
  • People with inactive hair follicles may have a less effective hair transplants.

Hair transplants don’t work for everyone. They’re mainly used to restore hair if you’re thinning or balding naturally or have lost hair due to an injury.

Most hair transplants are done with your existing hair, so they’re not as effective for treating people with:

  • widespread thinning and baldness
  • hair loss due to chemotherapy or medications
  • thick scalp scars from injuries

How much do hair transplants cost?

Hair transplant costs in India can range from about ₹25000 to ₹260000.

Final costs may depend on the:

  • the extent of the transplant procedure
  • availability of surgeons in your area
  • experience of the surgeon
  • surgical technique chosen

As hair transplant is a cosmetic procedure, health insurance won’t pay for the procedure. Certain aftercare medications may also add to the final cost.

Hair Transplant Side effects

Hair transplants are generally safe when a well qualified and experienced surgeon performs them. However, even with successful hair transplants, some different types of side effects can happen like:

Infection or bleeding

Hair transplants involve making cuts or incisions into the skin. A surgeon makes a cut to remove the donor follicles, and they make tiny cuts on the scalp in which the surgeon will place the follicles. With any cut, there is a risk of infection or excessive bleeding.

Scars

There is an increased risk of scarring on donor area and the area of the transplant. A person should speak to their surgeon about the risks before they decide to have the hair transplant procedure.

The follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) method usually leaves a long, linear scar where the surgeon takes out a strip of the scalp. This scar may become disguised as the new hair grows around it. It may, however, be visible if it becomes widened during healing, or the surrounding hairs are thin, or the person wears it short in style.

The follicular unit extraction (FUE) method may also leave some scars in the area where the doctor removed the follicles with the punch tool. However, these scars may not be as broad as the scar from FUSS.

In some cases, a person may have increased bumps around the transplanted hair. As the hair grows back, it may lock up these bumps.

Pain and swelling

Some people may feel ache as their skin heals after the procedure. The surgeon may suggest some pain killers to get relief from the pain and swelling. Some people may also have some swelling in the face and head as the skin heals.

Take Away

The hair transplant surgery may be a good option for those who have the problem of  hair thinning and hair loss. It might not be a lasting solution to thinning hair, but for many, it can help restore hair fullness and build self-confidence.