The Complete Guide To Hair Transplants (And All Of Your Options)

About hair transplants

Hair transplant procedures have come a long way in recent years, with impressive, natural-looking results that last. They’ve also become less of a taboo, with more people being open about the fact that they’ve had a hair transplant. Some well-known names who’ve admitted to having hair transplants include Wayne Rooney, Joe Swash and Gordon Ramsay. Additionally, there are also many celebrities who are rumoured to have had a hair transplant, including Jude Law, John Travolta and Hugh Laurie. 

Like other cosmetic procedures, choosing to have a hair transplant can help boost your self-esteem, restoring the confidence you once had. But as with any procedure, it’s important that you understand the ins and outs. By learning more about hair loss and what procedures are available to treat this condition, you can be better equipped to decide the best route for you.

The causes of male-pattern hair loss

Male-pattern hair loss is experienced by around a third of men, with signs usually appearing by the age of 30. Some studies claim that male-pattern hair loss affects as many as 42% of men, with frontal baldness, in particular, being more common than previously thought. 

Your hair grows from underneath the skin, with hairs shedding roughly every 3-5 years. After a hair has shed, a new one will grow from the follicle – a process that repeats itself.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a type of testosterone that when produced, can damage hair follicles, meaning that new hairs come back thinner and more fragile, leading to thinning and eventual hair loss. It’s important to point out that not everyone is susceptible to DHT, since it depends on your genes. Once you experience male-pattern hair loss, however, it will continue to progress. 

What are the different types of hair transplants?

There are two main types of surgical method for treating male-pattern baldness: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). They work by taking hairs from the back and sides of the head, and moving them to the areas where there is hair loss. Some people have also successfully used chest and beard hair for the procedure.

fut fue hair transplant types

FUE is performed through using a small punch to cut each follicle, removing the entire graft. This can either be done manually or through using a robotic device, depending on the surgeon’s preference. FUE can cause scarring, and it might take multiple procedures to gather the number of grafts required. Many people prefer FUE, however, as it is less invasive than FUT and it could provide more flexibility when it comes to hairstyling in the future, making shorter hairstyles possible. Hair will most likely need to be shaved for the procedure, which is important to bear in mind. 

FUT, meanwhile, involves the removal of a linear ellipse-shaped incision. This makes it possible to acquire a large number of grafts in one procedure, without the need for shaving. The wounds left behind are typically stapled closed, and can leave linear scarring – although this can be covered by the surrounding hair. 

While the methods for acquiring the grafts differ, transplantation is more straightforward. The surgeon will need to place the grafts where needed to ensure the most natural-looking coverage. This is done by making incisions in the scalp and directly inserting the grafts manually. Other methods include using tools that create the incisions and transplant the grafts at the same time. It can take up to 8-10 hours to complete the procedure.

With surgical hair transplants, it can take 3-4 months for new hair growth to begin. All new hairs should be growing 8 months after the procedure, and it can take up to 18 months for the hair to reach maturity. 

Common questions about hair transplants

Surgical hair transplants can produce incredible results, but it’s understandable if you have some questions about the procedure to help you decide if it’s right for you. Some of the most common questions about hair transplants include:

Does it hurt?

The procedure itself doesn’t hurt as a local anaesthetic is used. However, patients can experience discomfort following the procedure, especially with FUT transplants. Most symptoms of pain or discomfort can be eased with painkillers.

Will I have scars?

Of the two types of hair transplant surgery, FUE is less likely to lead to scarring, making it the preferred option for short hair. However, scars caused by FUT can be hidden with longer hair.

How long does the procedure take?

Hair transplants take around 8 hours to complete. The healing process can take several weeks, and will be quite visible, which is why many people decide to take some leave following the procedure.

What is the cost of a hair transplant?

Hair transplant cost varies depending on the scale of the procedure. It typically ranges from £5,000 – £12,000. FUT can be cheaper as it’s possible to acquire all of the grafts needed in one sitting, shortening the length of the process.

When will I see results?

Hair transplant results usually appear within 3-4 months, with full results visible around the 12-month mark.

Am I suitable for a hair transplant?

To stand the best chance of hair transplant success, a candidate will need hair to transplant. The more healthy hair you have, the better the chance of success. A consultation will help establish whether or not a hair transplant is right for you.

Is a hair transplant permanent?

A hair transplant should last a very long time, although there are no guarantees that it is permanent. Hairs might react differently to how they would from the donor site. 

How successful are hair transplants?

Many people are satisfied with their hair transplant results, but they do depend on the quality of the available donor hairs and other personal factors. It’s important to determine with your surgeon if you’re an appropriate candidate. The surgeon can also help you anticipate what the likely outcome will be. In some very rare cases, hair follicles can be rejected.

Are there risks?

As with any type of surgery, hair transplants have some mild risks attached. Some of the effects include bleeding and bruising, and some cysts can form on the transplant area during recovery. However, these complications are easily treatable. Choosing a reputable surgeon is vital for a hair transplant to ensure you are in safe hands. Your surgeon will discuss possible risks with you before you decide to go ahead with the procedure.

How do I find a hair transplant surgeon?

Finding a reputable surgeon is vital to having a successful hair transplant. While some sites can offer the procedure at extremely cheap prices, it’s important to choose a qualified and certified surgeon. You should look for a plastic surgeon with specific experience in hair transplants, preferably someone who can show you pictures of their past patients. At VIDA Wellness and Beauty we only work with experienced and board-certified surgeons, experts in hair restoration techniques. 

What are the alternatives to hair transplants?

While hair transplants are becoming a popular choice for combating male-pattern baldness, there are alternative treatments that can help. Some common medications include:

Minoxidil

Sold over-the-counter through brands like Regaine, minoxidil works by penetrating the hair follicles and rejuvenating them to help them produce stronger hairs and extend the hair growth process.

Finasteride

Sold through brands such as Propecia, finasteride is a prescription-based medication which aims to block DHT, preventing it from damaging the follicles that cause thinning hair. Depending on your insurance, you might be able to get finasteride as a free prescription, or you will need to pay for it at your local pharmacy.

About hair loss shampoos and supplements

Hair loss shampoos are marketed as a way to treat male-pattern baldness or thinning hair, but unfortunately, these are bold claims that won’t provide the results expected. At best, they will help thicken your hair, although the process is temporary.

Supplements work in the same way, and while they could work to strengthen the hair that’s left, they will only be effective in those with a mineral deficiency, which is something that should be discussed with a doctor anyway.

Despite the gimmicks and expensive labels, these types of hair loss treatment are likely to be ineffective when it comes to treating hair loss.

There are also a lot of old wives’ tales about reducing hair loss, including applying aloe vera or coconut milk. Again, these sorts of methods have no substance for treating hair loss, and will end up being a waste of time and money.

For the most effective results to combat male-pattern hair loss, a hair transplant is the best solution. Technology and surgical practices have come a long way since the hair plugs of the 1980s, and can produce natural, impressive results that last. With more and more people embracing hair transplants, it could be the ideal solution to restore your hair, and your confidence. Contact VIDA Wellness and Beauty at (619) 738-2144 and schedule  a free consultation with a certified plastic surgeon to discuss your hair restoration options. 

 

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.