What can I Expect During a Hair Transplant Procedure?

M.R. Anglin
M.R. Anglin
A man with a receding hairline.
A man with a receding hairline.

When preparing for a hair transplant procedure, a patient should expect to be briefed on the specifics of the procedure and how the doctor will perform the procedure. Depending on the extent of the work, the procedure may last from three to seven hours, and may even be conducted in multiple sessions over the course of two days. After the procedure is over, the patient may be allowed to go home and restart most regular activities within a few days. He should also expect the transplanted hair to fall out initially, but it will grow back in a few months. Subsequent procedures may be necessary to fill out the transplanted hair area.

Baldness can be reduced by transplanting hair from different areas of the head.
Baldness can be reduced by transplanting hair from different areas of the head.

During a hair transplant procedure, a doctor will usually transplant balding resistant hair from the back or sides of the scalp to the balding areas. Anesthesia is generally used in order to control pain, and to allow the patient to relax, sleep, or even watch a movie. While the premise of the procedure is simple, the application is detailed and complicated. Some creative talent is required to mimic the seemingly random pattern in which hair grows.

During the hair transplant procedure, a doctor may harvest a strip of hair from the back or sides of the patient’s scalp. In some cases, each individual graft can be removed with small punches so that there is a less visible scar. Any scars left by the hair removal process can usually be hidden by the remainder of the hair. After the strip is removed, a doctor will often put the hair under a stereomicroscope in order to separate it into follicular units. Follicular units are hairs that naturally grow in groups of one to four.

After the hair is placed in the balding areas of the scalp, the patient may return home. If normal sutures were used in the hair transplant procedure, the patient may have to return in order to have them removed. If dissolving sutures were used, it may not be necessary to have a follow-up appointment. Each transplant may also develop a crust, which falls off. After one to three days, a patient may be able to resume regular activities, though exercise may have to be suspended for a few days longer.

Transplanted hair will usually fall out a few weeks after the hair transplant procedure. This is a natural occurrence and should be explained by a doctor. The hair falls out because it is experiencing shock. In a few months, the hair will grow back and should continue to grow for a lifetime. This slow growth may give the illusion that the person’s hair is growing back on its own.

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    • A man with a receding hairline.
      A man with a receding hairline.
    • Baldness can be reduced by transplanting hair from different areas of the head.
      Baldness can be reduced by transplanting hair from different areas of the head.