Hair Transplants—A Comprehensive Guide

As you age, you’re expected to accept that you’ll lose hair and that there aren’t any options to reverse it, but that’s not the case! Hair transplants allow you to have a full head of hair again, with minimally invasive consequences. 

Hair transplants are not a new concept, in fact they have been occurring since the 1950s. The most advanced treatments began in the western world, when a dermatologist began experimenting with donor grafts to help a recipient area of the scalp in need of hair growth where there were thinning areas. Donor hair grafts are retrieved from a donor area of your scalp where hair regrowth is likely to succeed without medical intervention. 

Hair transplant surgery can seem scary and unfamiliar if you don’t know enough about it, but experienced hair transplant surgeons have been successfully performing these surgeries for decades. Once you see the tried-and-true results, you’ll feel confident taking the next step forward to elevate your head of hair. Public figures, such as actors, musicians, and athletes get hair transplants all the time with terrific results. 

There’s many questions when it comes to hair transplants, but the most important item to know about hair growth is that with advanced medicine and experienced surgeons like Dr. Herbert Feinberg, your head can retain beautiful locks of hair with natural results.

Do I Need A Hair Transplant?

If you’re recovering from hair loss due to chemotherapy or telogen effluvium, hair transplants may not be the best procedure for you. There could be better options for hair loss associated with cancer treatments and medications. 

Likewise, if you’re in the very beginning stages of hair loss, you may not need a hair transplant just yet. Instead, you should check out how minoxidil and finasteride works and see if it might be the right solution for you.

If you’re looking into hair restorative options, you may be experiencing male or female patterned baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, which is a common form of hair loss for all genders. Other causes could include, but aren’t limited to: stress, genetics, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, autoimmune diseases, and hereditary hair problems.

You may have noticed extra hair clogging your drain or an overabundance of strands on your hair brush, on the floor, or gathering on the shoulders of your clothes. Bald areas can soon appear and make hair restoration seem more and more futile. Luckily, hair transplants are incredibly effective if you remedy hair loss early on.

What to Expect from a Hair Transplant

The first step is to find and contact a well-trusted, accredited hair surgeon who has an abundance of experience, with clients who trust them.

Most insurance companies don’t cover hair loss because they consider it to be cosmetic surgery, meaning it could be an untenable option for you based on cost alone, which usually ranges between $7,000 to $15,000+. 

With that being said, a hair transplant surgery will be a more cost effective treatment if you’re able to take care of your hair loss early on, instead of later. Your surgeon might take into consideration what your budget is and your lifestyle goal in order to make your hair care goals a reality. 

Hair Transplant Techniques

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

This technique is a longer process than strip surgery. FUE consists of several small sessions or one longer session, depending on the extent of hair loss. One to four hairs are removed under local anesthesia, while a surgeon punches 0.6 millimeter to 1.0 millimeter holes into the scalp for hair retrieval. 

During this treatment, small blades and needles are also used to arrange the pattern of hair implants and wounds to make it consistent with the pattern you previously had. They can take a few thousand grafts of hair over these sessions to reconstruct hair.  

Robotic Hair Restoration

During surgery, Robotic Hair Restoration helps your surgeon use the technology of robotic arms and cameras to accelerate the efficiency of hair transplants. The ARTAS iX system was approved by the FDA in 2011 for use on men with black hair and brown hair. 

These advanced robotic systems help identify the best grafts on a client and ideal pores to place them in. While it’s still relatively new technology, ARTAS robotic FUE hair restoration is very effective. Noticeable hair growth should begin to occur within three to four months of the surgery.

Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)

Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), also known as strip harvesting, is a procedure in which strips of existing hair-bearing material are taken and they are relocated to bald areas that are resistant to hair growth. The recovery time for strip harvesting is approximately one to two weeks. 

Follicular Graft Units are often charged at $3.50 to $7.00 by the unit. People may need several thousand of these in order to regraft entire areas of balding hair. It’s an exhaustive, technical, and time consuming surgery, which is why the premium price for it is so high.

Occasionally, telogen effluvium (one of the most common hair loss causes) occurs at the site of the area, but will typically regrow on its own within six months without any additional help.

Risk Factors of a Hair Transplant

Shock Loss

Some of the original hairs may be shed several months after a procedure. Luckily, this is not a common problem experienced by people who receive hair transplants.

A mega session for hair grafts can cause shock loss because of the trauma to the scalp during such extensive sessions. Be aware of that if you choose to participate in a singular procedure.

Bleeding and or Infection

Both bleeding and infection are uncommon side effects of a hair transplant. Wearing a bandage overnight usually prevents any post-surgical bleeding, and the need for antibiotics following a hair transplant is rarely required.

Swelling is also common and patients should follow any instructions that they are given post surgery, which may include:

  • Washing the site the next day
  • Taking prescribed medications
  • Avoiding exercise for at least a week
  • Avoiding tight caps
  • Not brushing or combing your hair for several weeks


These measures may seem over the top, but they’ll benefit you as your hair shaft regrows. 

Taking care of your hair will benefit you and aid in the longevity of your hair transplant. 

Scarring

It can be disheartening if your head is covered in hundreds of scars post surgery, instead of covered in a new head of hair. Extensively researching your surgeon and verifying their reputation will allow you to experience a positive hair transplant procedure. 

No one wants to endure the pain and cost of hair transplants and be scarred afterwards. There’s always a chance of scars occurring, but minimizing your risk is the only thing you can rely on. 

Actor Jamie Foxx has had very successful hair transplant procedures, but has also experienced scarring. Foxx used tattoo art to cover any damage that occurred to his scalp.

Anesthesia

You may be used to local anesthesia because of dental removals and fillings, which use it to minimize any pain. Hair transplants follow the same route and you may only feel minor pinching or tugging during the surgery. A mild sedative, such as valium, is a common medication taken before surgery and other procedures that anxious patients may consider taking.

Are Hair Transplants Safe?

Yes! In the proper hands, a hair transplant will be easier than most dental procedures. 

Getting FUE or FUT treatment is very exciting! When you make the decision to repair your thinning hair, look for a surgeon that best suits your needs. If you need multiple hair transplants, you may need to find a surgeon close to home. 

If you think the recovery time is going to take several days, allow yourself to rest at home before going to work or performing a strenuous activity.

When thinking about what to expect during your hair transplant recovery, you should schedule time to rest after your procedure. Treat your hair restoration procedure as a stay-cation and relax, rest, and plan all your future get-togethers once your head is healed and covered in precious hair. 

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