Exactly What To Expect From Hair Transplant Surgery

I. What Is Hair Transplant Surgery?

     A. It’s Important to Know What Goes Into Surgery

     B. Does it Hurt?

II. Are There Other Types of Surgeries?

     A. Tissue Expansion

     B. Flap Surgery and Scalp Reduction

III. How Long Does the Process Take?

     A. The Transplant Procedure Itself

     B. Recovery Time

     C. When Will I Start to See Results?

IV. What Are the Risks?

     A. Will I Need to Repeat the Procedure?

V. How Much Does Hair Transplant Surgery Cost?

VI. Am I Ready to Have Hair Transplant Surgery?

Hair transplant surgery can be a life changing decision on the road to restoring one's confidence. Many of us take our hair for granted until we start to notice it’s going, going, gone. Luckily we have options to bring it back, and give ourselves the same boost of confidence we had in our younger years. Consulting with an expert like Dr. Feinberg at The Hair Restoration Center of NY and NJ will give you all the answers you need when deciding which option is best for you. 

Summary: The steps involved in hair transplant surgery as well as risks, recovery, and success rate.

What Is Hair Transplant Surgery?

It’s Important to Know What Goes Into Surgery

Hair transplantation involves taking hair from a fuller section of your scalp, also known as the donor area, and transplanting it to areas that need attention. A follicular unit transplant procedure takes a strip of hair from the back of the scalp and harvests your own healthy hair follicles. From that graft, the follicular units are transplanted onto the areas of the scalp that have experienced hair loss. 

HairMD’s Dr. Feinberg uses two surgical methods, the traditional follicular unit transplant (FUT), and robotic follicular unit excision (FUE). Robotic harvesting involves the use of artificial intelligence to assist with accuracy. 

With FUT surgery, a strip of skin is taken from the back of the head and divided into hundreds, sometimes thousands of tiny grafts. The type of graft and number of grafts all depend on your specific hair type. The FUE procedure differs slightly. Your surgeon shaves the back of your head and extracts the follicles individually. 

For both procedures, after the grafts have been taken, your surgeon creates small incisions on the area of concern, and implants each graft one-by-one. 

Does it Hurt?

Hair transplant surgery is done in the doctor's office under local anesthesia. You’re awake for the surgery and you won’t feel a thing. Occasionally, local anesthesia is paired with a sedative to help you relax during the procedure. You will get to go home that same day.

Are There Other Types of Surgeries?

Tissue Expansion

Additional techniques of hair restoration are available that don’t involve transplantation. Tissue expansion, for example, uses a device similar to a balloon to expand the tissue underneath the skin. The goal is to grow new skin cells and generate new hair-bearing scalp. The expansion process itself takes several weeks, as the balloon-like instrument is inflated over time, and not all at once. Once the skin grows new skin cells, another operation is necessary to put the new skin over the bald spot. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons explains that the stretched skin on the scalp retains normal hair growth. 

Flap Surgery and Scalp Reduction

Flap surgery is the process of taking hair-bearing skin and moving it up to cover bald areas of the scalp, leaving one end intact to keep its own blood supply. Scalp reduction is the same process, but specifically meant for the top and the back of the head. These methods are not intended for hairline restoration. Flap surgery and scalp reduction require removing the bald section of skin before moving up the flap with hair on it. General or IV sedation may be used for this procedure, but it still won’t require an overnight stay.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The Transplant Procedure Itself

Transplant surgery for hair loss takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, and the robotic procedure mentioned above adds another 2 hours. 

Recovery Time

The first night home, you may experience some mild discomfort that can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication. Many patients feel fine the next day. Post operative swelling is normal and can occur 2-3 days after the procedure. The swelling goes away in another 2-3 days. Some patients report a tingling feeling and occasional numbness during their healing process, which goes away on its own.

Within 2-3 weeks, the transplanted hair will start to fall out. This is known as “transplant shock” and is part of the recovery process. 

When Will I Start to See Results?

It is estimated that 10 to 80 percent of hair will grow back in three to four months. By the eighth or tenth month, most of the transplanted hair has grown back after falling out. 

What Are the Risks?

No medical procedure is perfect, and they all come with risks, though usually mild. Infection and bleeding is rare, but still possible. The best way to keep yourself safe after hair transplant surgery is to follow your aftercare instructions exactly as they are given to you. You may be prescribed antibiotics after your procedure to prevent infection. Your risk of running into any issues is greatly reduced when you choose a highly skilled, board-certified surgeon. Rare complications such as excessive swelling, severe pain, or oozing should be reported to your doctor immediately. Inflammation of the transplanted hair follicles can also occur, and can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication. 

A common side effect of hair transplant surgery is scarring. A linear scar is usually present in the back of the head from the donor graft site.

Will I Need to Repeat the Procedure?

Every individual case is different and success rates vary from person to person. Overall, hair transplant surgery is considered to be permanent. The transplanted follicles are there for good, but just like all hair, they can start to thin out over time. If you experience hair loss months or years after surgery, you may need to repeat the process. It is always advised to keep in contact with your surgeon to follow along with your progress and get advice tailored to your specific needs. 

How Much Does Hair Transplant Surgery Cost?

Since hair transplant surgery is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, it is impossible to get an estimate without a consultation. Ballpark estimates found through news archives range from $5,000 - $20,000, depending on how many grafts are used. Since transplant surgery is a permanent solution to hair loss, it is considered an investment. There is no “one size fits all” approach to hair restoration. Experts obtain additional certifications and schooling to provide the very best services. It’s important to remember that level of expertise when determining cost.  

Am I Ready to Have Hair Transplant Surgery?

If the benefits of hair restoration sound appealing to you, you’re not alone. Dr. Herbert Feinberg of The Hair Restoration Center of NY and NJ has performed over 5,000 hair transplants and counting. To see if you’re eligible for a surgical hair transplant, or to discuss non-surgical options as well, contact his office at (201) 739-1885, or use the online form to request a consultation.