Hair TransplantNo Comments
Last Updated:
July 3, 2024
Written By:
James Wilson

Going for a hair transplant isn’t an easy decision, right?

I’ve personally helped thousands of people from all over the globe in their hair transplant journey.

Finding good, clear information on hair restoration procedures can become quite a challenge with all the content and various information.

That’s what we are here for.

I’ve prepared this Expert Guide, which provides a basic understanding of a Hair Transplant and answers the most common questions.

It gets better.

What makes this guide interesting is its comprehensive nature and the real-life experiences I have included from my work as a hair restoration professional.

Before I take off, let me introduce myself shortly if you are new to our site.

I am James, the co-founder of one of Turkey’s Premium Hair Restoration Surgery Clinics.

Since 2012, we have helped thousands of patients from all over the globe.

So you could say that I have some credit for my name to be talking about hair restoration topics.

But let’s get back to you.

When you first experience hair loss, feeling panicked, frustrated, and scared it might worsen is normal.

You might doubt and stress a lot if you’re going through this.

It might sound surprising if you’ve never faced this, but thinning hair can weigh on someone, sometimes even leading to depression.

But when you think about it, it’s not that weird.

Our hair is a big part of who we are for many of us.

Losing it can feel like you’re losing a part of yourself.

Most people’s first move?

They hit the internet, searching for what could be causing their hair loss and balding areas.

You will quickly become more familiar with terms such as androgenetic alopecia(androgenic alopecia), male pattern baldness, pattern hair loss, and many more first times heard definitions.

Then, they might think about seeing a dermatologist or trying out products that promise to fix all their hair troubles and regain their full head of hair.

If hair loss keeps up and becomes long-term, a hair replacement surgery might be a treatment option as a more permanent solution.

It’s a natural, lasting fix; it can return someone’s hair density.

But it’s a bigger deal than just using some product – a severe and more invasive step.

This guide covers the key things you should know about hair transplantation surgery.

We’ll look at the basics: what they are, if they work, and the different hair restoration techniques.

We will also dig into some deeper topics, like whether hair transplants are a forever fix and how safe these procedures are.

By the time you finish this blog, you’ll have a much better understanding of hair transplants.

And if you’re thinking about getting one yourself, you’ll be way more informed about whether it’s the right move for you.

Ready to dive in?

Let’s get started!

What is a Hair Transplant?

Let’s break it down as simply as we can: a Hair Transplant is moving hair(scalp grafts) from one part of your head to another where you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning.

A hair transplant surgery aims to transplant hair follicles(mini-grafts) and realize new hair growth.

A hair transplant is a cosmetic surgery that falls under Plastic Surgery’s specialism.

The area from which we take the donor grafts is known as the donor area.

You might also hear it called the extraction site, graft collection site, or harvesting site, but they all mean the same thing.

This donor area is usually located between the two ears at the back of the head.

And here’s a key thing about a hair transplant: the type of hair in this area isn’t prone to hair loss.

To get a bit technical, they’re not affected by DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) – the hormone responsible for weakening hair follicles until they eventually die.

But I promised to keep this simple, so remember: hair from the donor area(back of your head) is resistant to hair loss.

Now, onto the treatment zone(thinning area).

The treatment zone is the area of the scalp where hair loss or hair thinning occurs.

Other terms for this area are the recipient site or graft allocation site.

So, a hair transplant is a kind of hair surgery.

Healthy hairs are taken from the donor area and then implanted in the recipient site, where hair loss or thinning occurs.

If you’re still with me after this basic explanation, let’s dive into how a hair transplant works.

New Hairline Design of Patient before the Hair Transplant at Tecnifue International

How Does a Hair Transplant Work?

So, you now know what a hair transplant is.

Let’s take a quick look at how it works.

But first, let’s talk about the consultation you’ll have before the transplant.

In this meeting, you and your hair transplant surgeon(Plastic Surgeon) will discuss your needs, your hopes, and your options.

Once you’ve hashed out the details, you’ll devise a treatment plan together.

The treatment plan will include all the nitty-gritty about what to expect from the surgery.

Having your hair transplant surgeon prepare a graft allocation and hair loss treatment plan is a good idea.

The graft allocation plan means you’ll have on paper how many grafts will be placed in each area needing treatment.

Make sure you’ve agreed on the number of grafts for each region and get this in writing.

After all that’s been taken care of, your hair restoration surgeon will work on your hairline design.

This step is super important because you’ll live with this hairline for the rest of your life.

My tip?

Choose a hairline with a natural look and one that suits your face.

We’ve got more info on this since it’s vital to a hair transplant.

But to stay on track here, also trust your gut feeling. If it feels right, it usually looks right.

Now, onto the technical side of a hair transplant.

After everything’s set and you’re ready to get your thick hair back, the medical team will shave your hair to prep for the procedure.

Once your health checks are all clear, the procedure begins.

What are the stages of a Hair Transplant?

The first stage of any hair transplant is extracting(harvesting hair) the hair grafts.

The method varies, which we’ll get into later.

These extracted grafts are kept in a special liquid called Unbuffered Normal Saline (UNS) – the same solution used in IV drips.

Next up is the channel opening phase.

The channel opening involves making tiny cuts at the recipient site to insert the grafts.

These are sometimes called hair transplant holes. It’s making a small incision for each graft.

This step isn’t needed with the latest DHI Hair Transplant Method.

The final stage is the implanting phase.

The extracted grafts are implanted into the pre-made channels during this final stage.

And that’s the gist of how a Hair Transplant works.

Next, we’ll dive into the different methods of hair transplantation. Are you feeling more clued in about hair transplants?

Hope so! If not, no stress!

You’ll sound like a pro on the topic when you finish this page.

Let’s keep going!

What Methods of Hair Transplantation exist?

Many people ask us about the different transplant techniques during their initial consultations.

Knowing how crucial this info is for making an informed decision, we’ve put together separate blogs for each method where you can find detailed information.

But, to give you a complete picture, we should touch on these methods here.

In the world of hair restoration, there are primarily three main methods.

You might see some fancy terms online claiming to be new and innovative methods, but often, it’s just marketing.

Dig a little deeper; they usually fall under one established method.

So, what are they?

The first is the FUT Method, also known as Follicular Unit Transplantation.

Sometimes, it’s called the STRIP surgery(follicular unit strip surgery).

The method involves removing sections of hair(small pieces of strip of skin) from the donor area for extraction.

This method has three stages, and one of its most noticeable features is the linear scar it leaves in the donor area.

For more in-depth information, check out our blog on FUT Hair Restoration.

Next, we have the FUE Method, also known as Follicular Unit Extraction.

This procedure is the most popular worldwide.

Like FUT, it involves three stages, but its vital characteristic is that hair grafts are extracted individually(individual hair harvesting).

We’ve got a separate page discussing this method in detail, too – head over to our FUE Hair Transplant Blog to learn more.

The third method is the DHI Method or Direct Hair Implantation.

The ‘Direct’ part refers to grafts being implanted directly into the recipient zone without opening channels first.

The implanting happens using a unique tool called a Choi implanter, which makes this method unique.

As with the other two methods, we’ve got a dedicated DHI Hair Transplant Blog for more insights into this technique.

And there you go, those are the available methods of hair transplantation.

Next, let’s tackle another vital question: Do Hair Transplants work?

Do Hair Transplants Work?

Hair transplants do work.

They wouldn’t be as popular as they are if they didn’t.

But, there are some cases where they might not be effective.

For example, a hair transplant might be impossible if someone has severe scalp conditions like scalp psoriasis.

The severity of the skin condition is a significant factor here.

Another reason a hair transplant might not work is when a patient is suffering from a type of hair loss called alopecia areata.

Our clinic has successfully performed hair transplants on patients with milder forms of scalp psoriasis.

How Effective is a Hair Transplant?

A Hair transplant is very effective in restoring hair. It is the most effective proven method for permanent hair loss.

What’s the Success Rate of Hair Transplants?

The success rate of a Hair Transplant is a great question and one we hear often.

But before diving into a specific answer, let’s add some context.

Don’t worry; I’ll get into the specifics soon.

When discussing the success rate, we need to differentiate between whether the hair will grow and the survival rate of the transplanted hair(graft survival).

It’s crucial to understand this distinction.

Let me explain.

From a patient’s perspective, a hair restoration procedure can be considered successful even if only 85% of the implanted hair plugs survive.

However, there might be cases where all grafts survive, but the patient isn’t happy with the result, viewing the transplant as unsuccessful.

This view is entirely subjective, so it’s not the best measure of success.

If many transplanted hairs don’t grow for some unknown reason, that’s generally seen as a failure.

A more reliable measure of a hair transplant’s success is the survival rate of the transplanted hair grafts.

Different clinics report varying survival rates, with some even claiming that areas like the crown have survival rates of 50-70%.

Such survival rates have always been a bit puzzling to me.

Survival rates can be close to 100% when experienced surgeons and staff do the procedure under the right conditions.

However, it’s more than just the medical team’s expertise.

Factors like the quality of the extraction site, the skin condition of the recipient site, the patient’s lifestyle, and adherence to proper aftercare all influence the survival rate of hair grafts after a transplant.

So, what’s the success rate of a hair transplant?

It can be as high as 100%, depending on various factors.

If you still need clarification on this, feel free to contact us.

My team and I are here to help!

Next, let’s find out if you’re a good candidate for a hair transplant, especially if you’re considering one.

Let’s explore this in our upcoming topic.

How Do I Know if I’m the Right Candidate for a Hair Transplant?

Figuring out if you’re an ideal candidate for a hair transplant involves two technical factors and one subjective factor.

The technical aspects relate to your health condition and the feasibility based on your donor and recipient areas.

Certain Medical conditions make it impossible to perform a hair restoration procedure.

The subjective factor concerns your expectations from the procedure, which I’ll delve into more shortly.

But first, let’s talk about the technical aspects.

Firstly, a good health status plays a crucial role.

A hair restoration might not suit you if you’re on certain medications or have specific health issues.

Key health concerns include:

  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia (general or local)
  • Heart conditions
  • Use of blood-thinning medications
  • High blood pressure

Next, we consider the technical feasibility of the transplant.

The technical aspect concerns having enough donor hair for the area that needs treatment.

If your donor area doesn’t have sufficient grafts and your recipient site(hair-bearing scalp) is large, a hair transplant might not be feasible.

This means that in some cases, the bald scalp or balding area has become too large to be restored.

Technically, transplanting fewer grafts to the area of the scalp where more is needed is possible, but it can lead to long-term disappointment.

Such results are not the best results, and we would not call them natural-looking results.

Remember, a hair restoration procedure is primarily a reconstructive surgery.

Transplanting 3,000 grafts when 7,000 or more are needed won’t look natural, no matter how well the grafts are placed.

In such cases, we consider the person not suitable for a transplant.

Now, the subjective factor.

The following aspect overlaps with the technical aspect but adds another layer – your expectations from the procedure.

It’s essential to understand your current hair loss situation.

For example, if you’re at a severe stage of hair loss (like a Norwood 5 on the baldness scale), you’ll need many grafts.

If your donor area can only provide a fraction of what’s required for full coverage, achieving the hair of your youth is unrealistic.

Setting realistic expectations with cosmetic procedures is crucial.

We’ve had consultations where we’ve had to turn down patients due to unrealistic expectations.

As medical professionals, we must protect the patients and maintain our long-term reputation for quality.

This approach aligns with our ethical policy of prioritizing long-term patient interests over short-term financial gains.

As we near the end of this guide, I hope you’re feeling more informed about hair transplants.

We’ll cover a few more questions next, like whether hair transplants are safe and if they’re permanent.

I aim to empower and enlighten you, especially if you’re considering a hair transplant.

Let’s tackle these last few questions, shall we?

Are Hair Transplants Permanent?

The short and easy answer is a clear yes! Let’s add a bit of nuance to it for better understanding.

Whether hair transplants are permanent is very important because understanding the answer can help prevent future problems and disappointments, especially for those who still have hair and are considering a transplant.

Let’s start with a critical fact: hair loss can continue into adulthood.

If you’re experiencing hair loss at 30, your existing hair might keep falling out until you’re well into your 70s or beyond.

It’s crucial to differentiate between existing hair and transplanted hair.

Existing hair may continue to fall out, but transplanted hairs(treated areas) won’t.

That makes the transplanted hair permanent. So, yes, in that sense, a hair transplant is permanent.

Now, a technical side note: When consulting with patients, analyzing hair recession or thinning patterns is vital for planning where grafts are placed.

In layman’s terms, understanding how your hair loss is progressing helps us predict how it might continue in the future.

By strategically placing grafts, we aim to offset future hair loss so that the results are enjoyable for many years.

This way of placing grafts means that future hair loss will be less noticeable even as hair loss continues.

Does a Hair Transplant last forever?

Technically speaking, I can say yes, a hair transplant lasts forever.

However, as mentioned above, it is essential to distinguish existing hair from transplanted hair.

Existing hair can continue to fall out, but transplanted hair cannot.

But there is a catch to it.

It’s critical to use donor hair only from the correct zone. Let me explain the DHT-resistant zone.

I have seen too many cases where the donor zone border is extended to zones with non-DHT-resistant hairs.

In other words, hair from those zones is prone to hair loss.

Why do they do this?

Well, for one reason, it is easier to extract more grafts, and secondly, it is technically a bit easier to make a graft extraction plan for a larger area.

One final comment I would like to make is this, and it’s quite an important one.

I have seen cases where some patients would see their transplanted hair weakening over the years following the hair transplant.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with the hair transplant itself.

Two possible underlying factors are involved.

The first one could be that hair starts to lose its vitality as we age.

And secondly, this is a bit related to the first factor. Hair needs care!

Most individuals are disciplined in their hair care routines following a hair transplant.

But after a year or two, many return to their old routines.

They stop caring and caring for their hair, so it becomes weak and looks less vital.

Are Hair Transplants Safe?

Absolutely, but with some critical conditions.

First off, thorough medical examinations and pre-operative checks are essential.

The Medical team must fully understand your medical history and current health situation to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for a hair transplant.

A hair transplant is safe if all these boxes are ticked and you have a skilled medical team carrying out the procedure.

Does a Hair Transplant Hurt?

Pain related to a hair transplant is a common question; I would like to answer it by sharing our patients’ experiences at our clinic.

The only time you might feel pain during a hair transplant is when the local anesthesia is applied.

To give you an idea, I’ve made a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is almost no pain and ten is extremely painful.

But before I delve into our patients’ experiences with pain, let me tell you about an innovative approach we use for pain management during the application of local anesthesia.

Previously, the local anesthetic fluid would be injected into the donor and recipient areas.

Now, we use something called the “Dermojet” Pre-Anaesthetic tool.

It’s a pen-shaped tool with a compartment for the anesthetic fluid.

When the handler is lifted, pressure is created in the liquid compartment.

At the tip of the tool, there’s a button. Pressing this button releases the anesthetic liquid at high pressure.

When we use the Dermojet on the donor site, the liquid is inserted under the skin at high pressure, meaning no needles are involved.

The Dermojet tool pre-numbs the area, making the injections less noticeable and painful.

We have visual and video content to explain and show this process for a clearer understanding.

Now, about the pain scale: Before this innovation, patients typically reported pain levels around 5 or 6.

Thanks to the Dermojet, the average pain level is now around 2 to 3, making it a real game-changer in managing pain during local anesthesia.

One final note: discomfort lasts only for the first few minutes with the FUE and DHI methods.

Once the anesthesia takes effect, there’s no pain for the rest of the treatment.

And what about post-treatment patient care and pain?

There’s no severe pain afterward, just mild discomfort, which you can easily manage with pain medications.

Many patients are surprised at how pain-free a hair transplant surgery is, especially after the procedure.

Some discomfort is normal, but it’s manageable.

How long does a hair transplant last?

The duration of a hair transplant takes 6-7 Hours, but this depends on a few factors.

First of all, the method can play a role in this.

Secondly, the number of hair follicles that need to be transplanted in your case will influence also how long the transplant will take.

Finally, your situation could impact the time it will take to complete the hair restoration procedure.

This could be related to your personal skin conditions or the need for more breaks, which all impact the workflow of the hair transplant procedure.

What Are Possible Hair Transplant Side Effects?

Like any surgical procedure, hair transplants come with their own set of potential side effects.

Thankfully, most of these side effects are harmless.

However, it’s crucial to be vigilant about infections and treat them effectively if they occur.

The most common side effects you might experience are swelling and bleeding in the first few days following a hair transplant. Itching usually begins a few days after the procedure.

Infection risk is highest in the first week after a hair transplant.

It is standard to take antibiotics as a precaution to prevent infections.

Managing infections with the correct protocol is vital to ensuring the survival of the grafts.

Another side effect that can occur is prolonged numbness at both the recipient and donor sites.

‘Shock loss’ is also a frequent long-term side effect to be aware of.

What’s next?

Let’s look at the possible costs of a hair transplant.

How much does a hair transplant cost?

A hair transplant can cost anywhere from USD 6.000 to USD 25.000.

These prices are what you will encounter in the United States.

The size of the bald areas and the number of hair grafts play a role in countries such as the United States.

Prices in Europe are somewhat lower, from around USD 4.000 to USD 12.000.

And countries such as Turkey offer prices from USD 2.000 to 8.000 USD.

It depends on a lot of factors.

I, therefore, always advise anyone considering a hair transplant to have this as one of the last questions to ask.

I understand that it is tempting to focus on this, but more critical questions need answers before taking the cost into the equation.

Why Do Many People Choose Foreign Countries for a Hair Transplant?

As the final topic of this guide, let’s briefly touch on why so many people with hair loss opt for hair transplant treatments in foreign countries.

Our clinic is in Istanbul, Turkey, and we welcome patients from over 17 countries, including the USA, Canada, and the UK.

Hair restoration in Turkey is very popular with anyone looking to restore their hair at good quality and affordable prices.

We delve into this topic more deeply throughout our website, but here’s the gist for a quick overview, especially if this concept is new to you.

One of the primary reasons people go abroad for hair transplants is cost.

Procedures can be expensive, and only some have the budget for them.

Hair transplant costs are generally lower in countries like Turkey, where our clinic is based.

Quality is another significant factor.

When done at a quality clinic, the results are often very satisfying for patients.

A third aspect, which is more of a bonus than a primary reason, is the opportunity to combine the procedure with a short holiday and explore a new country.

But as I mentioned, our website has plenty of content on this topic, so I’ll wrap up here.

Summing Up

On this page, I’ve aimed to provide you with essential knowledge about a hair transplant and its functions.

I’ve addressed some of the most common questions we receive, sharing honest, hands-on experiences in the answers and throughout the content.

Of course, there is much more to cover, such as what PRP(platelet-rich plasma) is and how long strenuous activity should be avoided.

These are all topics we cover extensively on our site and blogs.

But by now, you should have a solid understanding of hair transplants.

Whether you’re considering one for yourself or a partner, it’s essential to do thorough research.

Our website and its content are designed to inform and empower you with accurate and comprehensive information.

We realize this topic might be new to you, so we recommend exploring our various pages and blog articles, where we discuss other critical aspects that might have yet to come to mind.

Whether you choose to have a hair transplant at our clinic in Turkey or elsewhere is secondary.

Our main goal is for you to make the best decision for your needs, and our content will help guide you in that process.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re considering a hair transplant in Turkey or want more information about the process.

Our team of medical consultants are all trained professionals with excellent English skills.

Contact us to discover how we can assist you.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your future hair transplant decisions!

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James Wilson

James co-founded Tecnifue International and has guided thousands of patients personally since 2012 in their hair transplant journey. He is a trusted voice in Turkey's hair restoration scene and your go-to source for the best insights.

How we reviewed this article:

*About a Hair Transplant
Published on 11 October, 2023
*Complications of Hair Transplant Procedures—Causes and Management
Published online 2021 Dec 31 by Indian J Plast Surg.

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Written By

James Wilson

July 3, 2024 at 10:44 am

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July 2, 2024 at 02:14 pm

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July 1, 2024 at 01:49 pm

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June 27, 2024 at 12:22 pm

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