Hair Transplant Exposed

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding What Is Hair Transplant

As a result of evolution, humans have lost most of their hair and are currently one of the least hairy mammals in the world. Nowadays, hair has a cultural and aesthetic function. We want them to look beautiful, youthful, and we often consider healthy and shiny strands to be an undoubted advantage. No wonder that a lot of our time and effort is devoted to rejuvenating our hair. What is a hair transplant, and why it can (or can’t) help you achieve your hair goals? Are there any alternative methods to enhance hair growth or improve its appearance?

Why does hair fall out?

Hair loss may occur as a result of temporary disorders caused by stress, poor diet, improper care, or disease. The most common cause of hair loss is the adverse effects of male hormones. Under the influence of enzymes, testosterone in the blood changes into DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which destroys the hair follicles. Only the occipital (the back of your head) hair follicles are rarely sensitive to DHT. Therefore, even in severely balding people, there is usually enough hair left on the back of their head for transplantation. What’s more, they are resistant to falling out.

In women, androgenetic alopecia (hair loss caused by male hormones) is less common. If it happens, it often indicates an estrogen deficiency. Women lose hair in a different pattern than men, usually having thinning hair on the top of the head and around the forehead. The purpose of the transplant is to thicken the hair to restore its natural balance.

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What is Hair Transplant?

Hair transplant (SMP New York) is a procedure designed for people struggling with androgenic or post-traumatic alopecia (for instance, hair loss due to burns) to enjoy lush hair once again. Hair transplantation involves obtaining follicle clusters from the back and side of the head and transplanting them to hairless areas on the scalp. The exact course of the procedure, such as the number and distribution of grafts, depends on the degree of baldness, as well as the structure and color of the hair.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. You may feel your heart beating faster due to the effects of epinephrine injected with anesthesia. Adrenaline increases the duration of the numbing effect and stops bleeding. If your doctor performs the FUE method, the back of your scalp will be shaved to remove hair follicles from that area. If your hair transplantation involves the FUT technique, a few inch strip of skin will be removed from the back of your head and set aside. Your doctor will clean and numb the implantation site and proceed with making cuts or slits with a scalpel or needle. Each prepared graft will be placed in the created holes.

How Successful is Hair Transplant

Despite the advanced technology and robotics in the field of hair transplantation, there are still unsuccessful hair restorations. You don’t have to look far for examples - there are many victims of poorly performed hair transplants, including a few celebrities. The hair transplant gone wrong does not necessarily mean that it did not work or that scarring is extensive. Many times unqualified technicians or even doctors, without proper training or aesthetic instincts, perform procedures that result in improper grafting, overharvesting the donor site, or unnatural wig-effect.

Hair Transplant vs. Hair restoration

Hair restoration is a vast concept. There are numerous products on the market, targeting individuals with unique hair issues. Many aesthetic clinics and hair salons offer restorative services. A hair transplant can also fall within the hair restoration category. Since we already know that hair transplants consist of taking hair from one part of the scalp to another where hair loss is observed, how is hair restoration different? Hair transplant is an invasive method of cosmetic reconstruction. In contrast, most hair restorative techniques are designed to promote natural hair growth (biotin-based products), strengthen existing hair (keratin treatments), or provide an impression of thick hair and aesthetically-pleasing hairline (Scalp Micropigmentation).

How Long Does Hair Transplant Last?

If performed by a qualified and properly trained specialist, a hair transplant can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, even precisely accomplished hair transplantation does not prevent future hair loss, especially if hormonal imbalance is the primary contributor to your issue. So, what factors contribute to the durability of the procedure?

Factors Contributing to the Longevity

One of the most essential elements of hair transplant longevity is you. The information collected by your surgeon, such as medical history, use of certain medications, family history of hair loss, and any underlying diseases, will impact the treatment prognosis.

As often highlighted in this article, the knowledge and expertise of the specialist performing the procedure is definitely a deciding factor in whether or not the treatment will hold.

Pre-surgical requirements play a vital role in the aftermath. Taking blood thinners, smoking, or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine before the procedure may result in unfavorable outcomes. Follow all instructions provided to you by your doctor to ensure your safety and hair transplant quality.

Can Hair Transplant Fail?

Without proper training or experience, many hair transplant procedures simply fail. Many practitioners or technicians end up with undesirable results due to the lack of good imagination and artistic inclinations. After all, a hair transplant is a cosmetic restoration, and all the body enhancements require at least a minimal amount of aesthetic instincts. So, why a hair transplant can fail?

1. Incompetency or scarce experience

With the sudden rise in popularity of hair transplants in recent years, many medical practitioners or even technicians saw an opportunity to expand their practice. Numerous advertising professionals never went through proper training and are not board certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. The unregulated status often leads to mixed results.

FUE or FUT hair transplantation methods are scrupulous procedures that require noteworthy persistence. Mastering this craft takes a lot of time and effort. Being assigned as an “experimental case” is not a desirable condition for a patient. In some cases, the hair transplant is performed by an inexperienced surgeon or other practitioners, resulting in a failed restoration. Placing grafts is one of the most critical steps in hair transplant procedures and plays a vital role in the ultimate appearance of your hair. Qualified practitioners are familiar with the effective use of the donor-recipient relationship. Less seasoned specialists are likely to make an inaccurate prediction related to the donor site for hair transplantation.

2. Overharvesting the donor area

When we think of overharvesting the donor site, we refer to the excessive collection of perforated grafts by inexperienced practitioners. Consequently, those can cause significant damage to the back of your head where the hair is obtained for transplant. The dramatic result is comparable to baldness. This condition often leads to missing large areas of hair or thinning hair on the lower part of the scalp.

3. Poor post-operative care

Caring for your restorations is as essential as the procedure itself. During hair transplantation, the practitioner should provide you with tips on post-op care and comprehensive guidelines on the treatment for the following specified period of time after the hair transplant procedure.

Some patients experience large scabs around the hair shaft. Scratching this area or washing your hair improperly can have a negative impact on the durability of the graft and the end result. In some rare cases, severe infections can occur due to insufficient hygiene.

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4. I’m not the right candidate for a hair transplant.

A hair transplant can be an incredible life-changing procedure, but it is worth noting that not everyone can qualify for the treatment. A thorough examination with a medical history and genetic background is needed before determining whether you are the right candidate for the procedure. During the medical examination, you will most likely undergo various tests to assess certain aspects related to the hair transplant, such as the possibility of hair loss after the treatment, hair loss classification, and reasons behind your hair loss. Understanding these concepts will establish whether or not you qualify for a hair transplant.

5. Fraud in hair transplant clinics

Sadly, not all people working in the medical industry are always sincere and honest. From cosmetic dentistry all the way through body enhancement surgeries, many practices still exist that thrive on your insecurities and trusting personality. After all, they are in the medical profession. Before proceeding with treatment, do some research to assess the reliability of the clinic offering their services. A clinic that is only driven by greed often does not pay attention to your well-being, health, and ensuring a satisfactory hair transplant result.

Downsides to Getting a Hair Transplant

Hair transplantation is increasingly popular and may be an effective method of combating baldness. Because of permanent lasting effects, many people look into the procedure to fight the ruthless hair loss. An interesting fact is that this procedure is overwhelmingly chosen by the vast majority of men. However, are there any disadvantages and risks associated with hair transplantation?

What are the possible downsides of the hair transplant procedure?

Over 90% of hair transplantation is performed in men, but it should be remembered that the effect of hair thickening is extremely limited. The resulting density limitations and the transfer of hair follicles to another location often bring disappointing results.

Ads present the treatment as a certainty of obtaining thick, lush hair. The reality may be slightly disheartening. After the hair transplant, your hair will be thicker, especially in the most thinning areas. The effect is extremely durable and often lifelong, but the treatment does not guarantee impossible results.

Another important piece of information is that when utilizing the FUT method, a thickened, raised scar may form in the occipital part of the head. While not visible when covered with hair, a short haircut is not an ideal option for both men and women.

Inexperienced practitioners and staff also pose a threat when not qualified enough to perform such procedures. If you are determined to get a hair transplant, look for a professional aesthetic medicine clinic that guarantees the highest quality of services.

Modern and professional clinics are slowly departing from the FUT method in favor of FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction). With FUE, the risk of an unsightly scar is greatly minimized. However, this method also has its own set of limitations. One of them is the number of transplants that can be performed during one procedure. And that is also associated with a much higher cost of the treatment. The method is extremely time-consuming, and during a single procedure, no more than 600 graphs (individual hair follicles) can be performed. The technique is recommended for people with slight hair loss, such as the balding center of the head in men.

Another significant risk factor associated with hair transplantation is related to the complications following the procedure. In some rare cases, bleeding, infection, or inflammation may occur. Scalp necrosis is a dreadful consequence of a poorly performed hair transplantation.

Can Hair Transplant Actually work?

Despite the existing risks, hair transplant has many advantages and can work if performed by a trained and experienced professional. While approaching the subject, consider all pros and cons. For many, hair transplant is associated with regaining self-confidence; for others, it is only an aesthetic improvement. While pursuing hair transplantation, take advantage of the treatment while maintaining a healthy approach and not expecting miracles but rather real possible effects.

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Is Hair Transplant Better Than Scalp Micropigmentation? (SMP)

Hair loss is often a source of insecurities and lower self-esteem. Scalp Micropigmentation is an alternative method for people struggling with alopecia. The technique is often referred to as a “medical tattoo,” - but the procedure is not the same as making a typical, decorative drawing on your skin. A qualified practitioner or artist places a dye on the shallower outer layer of your scalp using a microdot technique. The treatment consists of introducing special inorganic pigments obtained from minerals into the epidermis. The purpose of the procedure is to achieve an extremely natural effect of a short-cut hairstyle. Inorganic pigments are neutral to your body, so there is virtually no risk of allergic reactions. Instead of treating excessive hair loss, the treatment is designed to cover up baldness. Scalp micropigmentation is a tempting alternative for people who have already tried all, sometimes overly priced, methods to mask the thinning of hair on the head without achieving satisfactory results, and at the same time do not want to undergo hair transplantation. SMP is undoubtedly the least invasive technique providing outstanding results.

Alternative Methods

Hair transplantation, believe it or not, is not the only solution to beautiful hair. Hair restoration products and treatments have come a long way. Clinically advanced topical solutions that stimulate the growth of your hair follicles are often available over the counter. FDA has approved numerous medications for fighting baldness as well.

Concealer powder is an affordable solution to mask the evident hair loss. Although powders need daily application, they are a useful temporary method to hide the thinning spots on your scalp.

PRP therapy is an innovative minimally invasive procedure based on injections. The injected material is fully organic as it comes from your very own blood. PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) may promote hair growth, and it is often used to correct skin texture and other cosmetic defects. In orthopedic surgery, PRP has been implemented to treat various conditions by rebuilding tissues - a therapeutic quality of stem cells.


Until recently, hair transplants were performed using the old FUT method, which - despite the satisfactory end result - was not free from defects. The doctor performing the procedure cut out the entire skin flap, the side effect of which was a large scar preventing many patients from wearing a short haircut in the future. Unfortunately, the technique is still utilized by many practitioners with mixed results.

Currently, treatments are performed utilizing the latest FUE (Follicular Unit Extension) method, which consists of collecting individual hair follicles from the back and sides of the head. Contrary to FUT, the scalp can fully regenerate, and the small “dots” hiding between the existing hair might disappear with time. Retrieving the hair follicle is time-consuming, so the FUE procedure takes much longer.

The FUE method is currently the newest and most sophisticated hair transplant technique. Only an experienced doctor dealing with the procedure can properly advise the patient which method would be ideal for their unique needs, taking into account your expectations and the available technical possibilities. The principle of hair reconstruction is to ensure the longest possible effect of the treatment.

Feel free to read our article on What is the difference between Scalp Micropigmentation and Tricopigmentation?

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