Whether someone has thinning hair or even male pattern baldness, hair transplants offer a way for people experiencing hair loss — and even those who aren’t — to move hair follicles to desired areas on the scalp to increase the thickness of their hair. In fact, thanks to improved techniques, hair restoration through a hair transplant can now give a more natural-looking result than ever before. Both men and women can be candidates for hair transplants.
However, don’t let the hair transplant before and after photos, you see online fool you. A hair transplant isn’t a miracle procedure that magically thickens your hair without any drawbacks. From the average hair transplant cost to the procedure itself, as well as hair transplant results, here are some reasons to pause and take some time to evaluate if this option is right for you.
What is a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is a hair restoration procedure that involves moving hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another to achieve thicker hair in areas where hair loss has caused thinning or balding. Specialized doctors perform hair transplants, usually with the patient under local anesthesia.
Hair transplants don’t involve a separate donor for the hair follicles used during the procedure; each patient is his or her own donor. This is because another person’s hair follicles and tissue would most likely be rejected by a patient’s body and the hair transplant would fail. The areas where the hair is taken from are known as donor sites, and they usually include the sides and back of the head because hair loss is less likely to occur in those areas, leaving the hair to spare.
There are two main types of hair transplants: FUT (follicular unit transplantation) and FUE (follicular unit extraction). To perform a FUT hair transplant, a surgeon extracts hair follicles and surrounding tissue, together known as grafts or follicular units, from a donor site and then transplants the grafts to areas of the scalp that are balding. The grafts are inserted into small slits in the scalp. When the scalp heals, the follicular units are able to continue growing hair in their new location. With an FUE hair transplant, each hair follicle is extracted by itself, making the sites for both extraction and implantation smaller and less conspicuous and less likely to reveal scars even if the hair is cut to a very short length.
Recovery time is a few days for either procedure, but it can take a little longer for FUT procedures because the area where tissue is removed is larger and may require stitches.
Do hair transplants really work?
Hair transplants can be effective to repair areas where hair loss has taken a toll, but the procedure does have drawbacks that aren’t always apparent in the hair transplant before and after photos, you may see. Making the hair appear natural in its new location can be difficult, and the results might not be up to the standard a patient hopes for. Additionally, many people experiencing hair loss do so on an ongoing basis, so even if a transplant is performed to restore hair to an area where the hair is thinning or gone, the hair loss may progress to other parts of the scalp and require additional procedures to maintain the desired effect.
How much does a hair transplant cost?
How much is a hair transplant? Because each individual’s hair restoration needs can vary so widely, it’s hard to pin down an exact dollar amount for a hair transplant cost. Some estimates put the cost at between $4,000 and $15,000, depending on how extensive the procedure will be, where you live, who your surgeon is, whether you need to travel to receive the transplant and what type of hair transplant you choose to have. Keep in mind that more than one procedure may be necessary to achieve the desired hair transplantation results.
The best way to determine what your hair transplant cost will be is to reach out to offices offering the procedure to get an estimate. Many places offer free consultations that include cost estimates.
What alternatives are there to getting a hair transplant?
Instead of going for a hair transplant procedure to fight the effects of hair loss, you can look for other ways to support healthy hair growth and increase the thickness of your hair without surgery. There are many alternatives to prevent hair thinning early on. Hair-thickening styling products are one way to enhance your hair’s appearance, but you can also try taking a hair health supplement.