Hair Transplant Before and After: What to Expect

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
19th October 2021

In 30 seconds…

Hair restoration surgery can have incredible results. But knowing what to expect before and after surgery will be essential to making your experience a success.

Before a hair transplant, you’ll consult with your surgeon about the best option for you. They will assess the health of your follicles and the severity of your hair loss.

After your surgery, you may have to wait for three months to a year before you see full results. But they’ll be worth the wait. Surveys show that the majority of men are highly satisfied after the procedure. And not all the effects are visible in before and after photos. Successful surgery should boost your self-esteem too.

Hair Transplant Before and After

With so many men affected by male pattern baldness (MPB), it’s only right that there are now many hair loss treatments available.

Hair transplants are an increasingly popular option. These involve moving healthy hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another. It might sound dramatic, but the results can be incredible.

Here, we’re showing you what you can expect before and after a hair transplant. We’ll look at who is most eligible for the transplantation procedure – and we’ll show you some of the great results you can expect to see yourself.

A note before we start, though. Not every hair loss treatment is for everyone – and that applies to hair transplants, too. At Manual, we can help you decide what’s right for you. Book a consultation with us now.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Male hair loss is a progressive condition. While hair transplants can be hugely effective, success will depend on just how far your condition has progressed.

MPB happens when your hair follicles – the capsules in your scalp that produce hair – become affected by a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT weakens and shrinks your follicles, ultimately causing them to stop producing hair. 

Usually, it’s the follicles at the front of your scalp (at the hairline) that are first affected by MPB. Meanwhile, the strip of hair around the back and sides of our heads typically goes unaffected. It’s this hair that becomes the donor area for follicles for transplantation.

Be aware though: if you’re experiencing MPB, it will likely continue even after a hair transplant. This can affect your results in the long term.

During a Hair Transplant: How Does the Procedure Work?

Hair transplants work by removing hair follicles that are growing strongly (usually from the back of the head) and reinserting them into a recipient area that no longer produces hair. It’s usually done in one of two ways:

  • Follicular unit transplantation (FUT). This involves removing a strip of skin from the scalp that’s then cut into smaller pieces containing just one or two follicles. These are then inserted into the new area.
  • Follicular unit extraction/excision (FUE). An FUE hair transplant procedure involves removing follicles one by one and inserting them individually into the affected area. It’s slower, but more precise, and usually won’t leave a strip scar.

Importantly, both procedures need you to have follicles on your scalp that still produce hair. That means if MPB has progressed too far – i.e. if you are at the latter stages of the Norwood scale – transplantation may be more difficult.

Before a Hair Transplant: Who is Eligible?

Not everyone will be eligible for a hair transplant. That’s why, before any surgery takes place, the first step should always be a consultation with a hair transplantation clinician.

They’ll want to make sure that a hair transplant is the right option for you. To make that decision, they’ll look at some of the following factors:

  • The severity of your hair loss: If male pattern baldness has progressed too far, a hair transplant might not be feasible. That’s because the number of grafts necessary could be too high, creating an unnatural look.
  • The quantity of donor hair: Hair transplants rely on healthy follicles that can still produce hair. In some cases, doctors can take these from other places on your body. But the scalp is preferred – and if there are no healthy follicles, it could be impossible.
  • Your age: Many clinics are reluctant to perform hair transplants on men younger than 20. Meanwhile, it’s not recommended to undergo such a procedure if you’re in your older years. That’s because you may not have many healthy follicles left – and you’re likely to be in worse health overall.
  • Your type of hair loss: Hair transplants are recommended for men with male pattern baldness. If you’re suffering from alopecia areata, thyroid problems, or stress, a hair transplant will not be for you.

Note: Hair transplant consultations are not just for your doctor to assess your needs. It’s a chance for you to determine their quality too. Be sure to ask your clinician for their qualifications – and any hair transplant before and after photos they have from previous patients.

After a Hair Transplant: The Results

If you and your clinician decide that hair restoration is right for you, your hair transplant results can be life-changing. Studies show the vast majority of men who undergo the procedure are satisfied with the results. And the process has underestimated knock-on effects too. For example, another study found that, after surgery, men feel a boost in self-esteem.

However, you won’t walk out of a hair clinic with a shiny new head of hair. Results take time. Here’s what you can expect after a hair transplant:

  • Recovery: You’ll take the first week to a month to recover. During this time, your scalp will heal and any irritation will subside. There can be a nasty surprise during this period though. That’s “shock loss”. It’s the name for when transplanted hair falls out and it usually happens between the second and fourth weeks. Don’t worry. It will grow back.
  • Regrowth: By the third month, you’ll start to see signs of hair regrowth. These are the first buds of your new mane.
  • Full results: Between six and nine months after the procedure, you’ll likely see the full results. For some, this can take up to a year. It’s an exciting time.
  • Maintenance: Remember, MPB is a progressive condition. That means that after a hair transplant, you may find that you continue to lose hair over time. That’s normal and your hair surgeon will talk you through options for aftercare. Medicinal support – such as Finasteride and Minoxidil – is usually prescribed to keep further hair loss at bay. 

Find the Best Way to Treat Hair Loss

Hair transplants are not for everyone. But finding the right solution for you can be difficult to do alone. At Manual, we can book you in for a consultation to talk you through your options. We know there can be a lot to navigate.

If together we decide a hair transplant is not the best option for you, we might suggest an alternative, such as a medicinal treatment for MPB:

  • Finasteride: This drug tackles the root cause of male pattern baldness: DHT. Finasteride inhibits the production of that hormone – and helps you maintain a healthy hairline. Over 80% of men who use it see regrowth.
  • Minoxidil: A topical solution that helps maintain healthy hair follicles by promoting blood circulation to the scalp. Studies show it’s highly effective in two thirds of men

Find out more: Male Pattern Baldness Treatment: 6 Options 

Key Takeaways

What to expect before and after a hair transplant? Ensure you have a consultation with your doctor before your surgery so that they can assess your eligibility – and you can make sure they are legit. Afterwards, it’s a case of resting, relaxing, and waiting for your results.

At Manual, we can guide you through the length of your hair transplant journey. Get in touch to book a consultation. 

References

  1. Kuldeep Saxena and Sandeep S. Savant – Body to Scalp: Evolving Trends in Body Hair Transplantation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447335/

  2. Patient satisfaction in hair transplant surgery – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265226683_Patient_satisfaction_in_hair_transplant_surgery

  3. Fang LiuYong MiaoXingdong LiQian QuYang LiuKaitao LiChuanbo FengZhiqi Hu – The relationship between self-esteem and hair transplantation satisfaction in male androgenetic alopecia patients – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30582267/

  4. Akio SatoAkira Takeda – Evaluation of efficacy and safety of finasteride 1 mg in 3177 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21980923/

  5. Regaine for Men Extra Strength Scalp Solution 5% w/v Cutaneous Solution – https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/5765/smpc#gref

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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