When you are still in the early stages of hair loss you can get good results by using the medical treatments minoxidil and finasteride. If your hair loss is more advanced then medical treatments will not restore your old hair situation. Minoxidil and finasteride unfortunately can’t make your hair regrow if your hair loss is so advanced that the hairs aren’t even visible anymore for the human eye. Minoxidil and finasteride are more for preservation and thickening of the remaining hairs. When your hair loss is too advanced a hair transplantation is probably the only remaining option.
What is a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is an operational procedure in which a surgeon relocates hair follicles ( grafts ) from the back of the head to the desired balding area of the head. This procedure is performed mainly for men who suffer from androgenic alopecia (hair loss according to the male pattern). The hairs that the the surgeon will remove from the back of the head are not affected by DHT. This means that The transplanted hairs will not fall out, and can be used to fill up the balding spots on the head.
The different types of hair transplants
The FUE ( Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant is the most common used method. In this method, the grafts are removed one by one from the donor area. After this is done they will be transplanted to the desired location. Of course this procedure will be done using local anesthesia. Before the grafts can be inserted the surgeon will create tiny incisions. The surgeon will place all the grafts from the donor area in these incisions. This whole process takes approximately 6 to 8 hours. If the FUE procedure is properly conducted then the tiny scars will not be visible to the naked eye.
FUE stem cell
The FUE hair stem cell method is the latest technology in the field of hair transplants. The difference between the traditional FUE and the stem cell method is that the surgeon uses a smaller type of needle (0.55 mm) for the stem cell transplantation. This needle is so small that when the surgeon removes the hair follicle there are stem cells left behind in the donor area. This means that the hair is is actually copied to the balding area of the head instead of relocated. So you can conclude that the stem cell method is the only procedure that increases your number of hairs.
The FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) method is the oldest hair transplantation method. For the FUT method, a strip is removed from the donor area. Then the grafts are removed from the strip and placed in the balding area. The average duration of a FUT hair transplant is shorter than the FUE method (4 to 6 hours). With the FUT hair transplantation you will see a thin scar visible on the back of the head along the length of the strip which has been removed. With today’s technology this scar is much less visible than a few years ago, however the FUT method is still not recommended if you want to keep your hair short on the back head. The FUT method is the cheapest hair transplant method.
Will a hair transplant work for me?
The most important factor for a successful hair transplant is the status of your donor area. Your donor area is the area located at the back of your head. As I said before the hair folicles in this location are not affected by DHT. If the hairs that are located in your donor area are not thick enough, the cosmetic effect of the transplantation will be less successful. In addition, you must remember that with a normal FUE hair follicles are removed from the back of your head. So the hairs on the back of your head will be thinner. If your hair is already pretty thin on back of your head you will probably not get the desired result.
Your age is also an important factor. You should keep in mind that your hair situation will deteriorate over time. Especially when you’re facing hair loss at a younger age and you have plans to undergo a hair transplant it is definitely advisable to be very conservative in placing your new hairline. Often you will discouraged to take a hair transplant at an early age if you are not willing to use finasteride or minoxidil for preservation of your current hair situation. The risk is that your hair loss will continu after your transplant. In this case there is a big chance that you will lose your hair in the area behind the transplanted hairs. The result is that you will get horns on the front side of your head, and that is definately not something that you want.
Also, people who suffer from thinning hair are not ideal candidates for a hair transplant. They often have a poor donor area. When the surgeon will place the grafts, there is a risk that he could damage other hair follicles. In this case the cosmetic effect of the transplant will be considerably less effective. The use of minoxidil will be a much better solution for people with thinning hair.
The cost of a hair transplant
One of the biggest barriers to take a hair transplant is the price tag attached to it. The cost for a hair transplant varies between 3,000 and 12,000 dollars. If you are interested in the cost of a hair transplant then the first step is to find out how many grafts you need. Look at the picture below (the Norwood scale) and find out which Norwood state matches your personal hair situation.
Norwood IIa = +- 1100 grafts
Norwood III = +- 1300 grafts
Norwood III Vertex = +- 1400 grafts (including crown 1900 grafts)
Norwood IIIa = +- 1600 grafts
Norwood IV = +- 1900 grafts (including crown 2400 grafts)
Norwood IVa = +- 1900 grafts
Norwood V = +- 2250 grafts (including crown 2650 grafts)
Norwood Va = +- 2500 grafts
Norwood VI = +- 2700 grafts (including crown 3100 grafts)
Norwood VII = +- 2850 grafts (including crown 3300 grafts)
The number of grafts is a good indication of what you need to restore your hairline. If you want to know how much a hair transplant will cost you, visit the website of your hair transplant doctor and look at the pricing table.
Frequently asked questions on hair transplants
1. Am I stuck with an ugly scar after a hair transplant?
Every surgical procedure will leave a scar on your body. If you choose for the FUT technique you will get a scar on the back of your head in the shape of a horizontal stripe. This scar is visible in some cases. If you undergo a FUE hair transplant, tiny incisions are made on the location where the follicles are placed. These incisions will heal in such a nice way that the scars are hardly visible to the naked eye .
2. Can I loose the transplanted hairs in the future?
The transplanted hair follicles are removed from the back of the head. Hairs from this location are not affected by DHT. This means that these hairs basically will never fall out. The first few days are actually the most risky. The hair follicles are still not fully attached to the scalp. For this reason you must be extremely careful with your head, especially the first day after surgery.
3. Can I afford a hair transplant?
As I described in the previous chapter, the cost of the procedure depends on your hair situation.
The cost of a hair transplant will vary between 3000 and 12000 usd, so you could say that it is not affordable for everyone.
4. How long does it take to see result from the hair transplant?
You can expect the transplanted hair to fall out again a few weeks after surgery. As of the 4th month you could really expect visible results. The final result of the operation can be expected after a period of 12 months.
5. How long will the surgery take?
FUE hair transplant takes about 6 to 8 hours.
FUT hair transplant takes about 4 to 6 hours.
6. How long will it take for my scalp to cure after the operation?
After a few days you will see crusts will begin to form on the scalp. These will eventually fall off and then you will see the red-colored scalp appear. The red color will slowly fade in the coming weeks. After about three weeks, the red color will barely be visible.
7. Will people notice that I’ve had a hair transplant?
This will totally depend on how the transplant was performed. The most important part of the transplant is the new hairline. If the new hairline (for example) is put down too tight, this will look unnatural. Generally you can say that the technology is now so advanced that a hair transplant is in principle no longer visible.