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A Comprehensive Guide To Hair Transplants

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
14th September 2021

In 30 seconds… 

Hair transplants are an effective treatment for hair loss and male pattern baldness. A hair transplant is a safe, standard surgical procedure which takes donor hair from a healthy part of your scalp, and transplants it to the problem area to promote hair regrowth.

Hair loss is completely ordinary. 

In its most common form, Male Pattern Baldness affects a staggering 50% of men by the time they reach 50. But just because it’s common, doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let it happen. Over the past decade, huge leaps in medical science and understanding have vastly improved the lot for balding men. And no development has had a greater, or more lasting impact than the hair transplant.

At Manual, we’re really excited to be offering hair transplants, in partnership with world-class clinics who’ve been vetted by us – so you know they’re the real deal. Booking with us also means getting access to discounts on your surgery and, best of all, support that doesn’t end when you leave the clinic. We’ll be with you every step of the way, from the moment you fill out our online questionnaire to the months, and even years, that you continue to seek support beyond your surgery. After all, at Manual, our hair-loss expertise extends to a whole range of other options – from nutritional gummies to medically-certified treatments. So we can even provide supplementary medication to ensure you get the most out of your hair transplant. We’ll give you a 10% discount on that too.

But before we get into that, let’s dig deeper into the ins and outs of hair transplants: who they’re for, how they work, and what you can expect from yours. In this article we answer the following questions…

–What is a hair transplant?

–Who is eligible?

–Why would I get a transplant, what are the benefits?

–Can I get a hair transplant alongside taking hair loss medication?

–What are the different types of hair transplant?

–Where can I get the procedure performed?

–How do I know which clinic to trust?

–What are the costs?

–What does recovery look like? And when can I expect results?

–Will the hair look natural?

–Is it permanent?

–Will it leave a scar?

–Will it hurt?

–Who is not eligible?

–How do I get started?

What is a hair transplant?

You’ll probably feel more comfortable about the idea of a hair transplant, if you know how they work. Well the truth is, they’re pretty much what they say on the tin….

A hair transplant is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing “donor” hair from parts of your head where it’s still growing, and transplanting it to the patches of your scalp where the hair is unable to grow. The transplanted hair will behave in a similar way to the hair from where it was taken. And if you pair your hair transplant with supplementary medication – more on that later – then you’re giving yourself the best chance possible of healthy hair in the long-term.

The hair transplant: a simple idea, but one that’s incredibly effective – as proven by the countless people who have undergone the procedure.

Who is eligible?

Eligibility for a hair transplant comes down to how severe your balding is. In most cases, if you’ve experienced some hair loss but still have some hair remaining in places, you’ll be able to undergo the procedure. However in some cases, if there isn’t enough “donor hair” available, the transplant might not be possible.

Whether or not you have enough hair for the surgery to go ahead, is generally judged using the Norwood scale – a system used to measure the stages of male pattern baldness. Generally, if hair loss has progressed to the most severe, seventh stage of balding, a hair transplant may not be possible. If, however, the hair loss is still in the early-to-middle phases, you’ll probably be ready to go.

Why would I get a transplant, what are the benefits?

If you’re already experiencing hair loss, then you’ll probably have a fairly good idea of why you might benefit from a hair transplant. Some people can pull the bald-look off, but for a lot of men, losing hair goes hand in hand with a loss of confidence. It’s a big change, and one that can cause stress and discomfort when it starts becoming obvious.

In the past, thinning hair would have left you with very few options beyond a collection of hats and some questionable toupees. Now, however, the landscape is completely different. We understand the science behind hair loss – and so know how to combat it. From which vitamins and supplements to take promote healthier growth, to medically-approved drugs like Finasteride and Minoxidil, there are plenty of options for slowing and even reversing baldness. Yet none of these offer the transformation that can be found when combined with a hair transplant.

The massive benefit of booking a hair transplant through Manual is that we’re here to guide you through those conversations. Before you choose a clinic, we’ll ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your hair loss. And then, when it comes to booking your surgery, your clinic will go through a thorough consultation to make sure a hair transplant is the right thing for you. We’ll ask you what your hair goals are, and match those to the best possible treatment plan. At the end of the day, no two people’s experience of hair loss is the same. Booking a transplant through Manual means getting a treatment plan that recognises this.

Can I get a hair transplant alongside taking hair loss medication?

Not only can you get a hair transplant alongside medication – it’s actually the optimum way of treating hair loss.

Taking hair loss medications Minoxidil and Finasteride is typically encouraged by both dermatologists and surgeons both before and indefinitely after surgery. Both drugs help to promote hair growth. Before surgery this allows you to grow thicker hair to transplant, and then afterwards supports your hair in growing back fuller than ever, protecting the gains you’ve made. Minoxidil and Finasteride are both available through Manual, and we’ll be able to talk you through a treatment plan that works for you and your transplant.

The only time you shouldn’t be taking hair loss medication is during the week or two of your actual surgery – but your surgeon will remind you of this. They’ll provide more information on when you should stop taking any additional drugs, as well as consulting you on which medications to take in the future.

What are the different types of hair transplant?

There are three types of hair transplant you’re likely to hear about: FUE, FUT, and DHI. The differences between them are largely down to how the hair is extracted and transplanted. Deciding which transplant is right for you can be determined during your clinic consultation.

FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant)

FUT is a long established form of hair transplant, during which a long thin strip of scalp is removed – typically from the lower back of the head. The hair follicles are then removed from the strip; divided into single units and transplanted into the desired area. The area of the scalp from where the strip was removed is then sewn back together. Typically an FUT procedure is quicker, due to the required follicles being removed at the same time.

FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)

FUE is another well-trusted technique for hair transplants. In this procedure, rather than removing the follicles in one go – as with the FUT – small, circular cuts are made to remove individual follicles, or groups of follicles, from all over the donor area of the scalp. This is repeated until the surgeon has enough follicles to cover the hair loss area.

DHI (Direct Hair Implant)

The DHI procedure is pretty similar to the FUE – except on an even more precise scale. Follicles are removed from the donor area one by one, and placed separately into the affected area of hair loss using a specialist implanter tool. This technique is a more recent development in the hair loss world, but is catching on fast.

Where can I get the procedure performed?

If you’re based in the UK and looking for a hair transplant there are plenty of reliable, quality options to choose from.

In the UK there are plenty of highly-recommended clinics offering top-quality transplants. We’re partnering with a number of UK-based practitioners, including the world-renowned Farjo Institute, who have sought-after clinics on Harley Street and in Manchester, performing around 500 transplants every year.

If you’re prepared to go further afield, the list of options grows longer. Turkey might, at first, sound like a surprising option, but it’s worth giving some thought – especially if you’re struggling to match UK prices. Significant improvements to Turkey’s healthcare infrastructure in recent years have seen a huge rise in medical tourism to the country in recent years. Lower overheads means the cost of a hair transplant is lower, while the Manual-approved surgeons carrying out the procedures are just as skilled as their UK counterparts. The teams we work with are fluent in English and use the same technologies as you’d find in the UK.

How do I know which clinic to trust?

We pride ourselves on making sure we only partner with the best hair transplant clinics in the world. Think of us as a hair transplant network, linking you to the best, most reputable clinics at discounted prices. We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to!

All our clinics are highly rated, holding multiple accreditations from both domestic and international bodies, including the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery. We work with incredibly experienced surgeons, many of whom have been performing hair transplants for decades. We also visit every clinic in person, to make sure they meet our high standards.

Our partner clinics also understand the importance of discretion, and will accommodate any requests to help protect your privacy during the process.

What are the costs?

Costs for hair transplants vary from clinic to clinic, but also vary depending on where in the world you decide to get yours done.

In the UK you can expect to pay upwards of between £4-5,000. In Turkey, clinics are generally cheaper, costing around the £2-3,000 mark. You may be able to find clinics offering hair transplants for even less than this, but be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. The quality of your hair transplant will depend on the quality of the clinic that carries it out. We only partner with clinics that we trust – that’s something you can’t put a price on.

And don’t forget, if you book with Manual you can expect a discount on your surgery.

What does recovery look like? And when can I expect results?

Initial recovery from a hair transplant doesn’t take long. Your scars should fade swiftly, and the chances are you’ll be able to return to work within 3 days of the surgery! From here, it’s a steady road to a full head of hair. Our partner clinics will make sure that your hair transplant journey is as good as it can be, including lots of follow-up aftercare to make sure the regrowth process is going well.

For the first few days after the operation, you’ll need to take it easy. Some postoperative cleaning will take place, then it’s a case of careful washing at home while the donor area heals. The transplanted area may feel sensitive or itchy during the first few days, but it’s important to try and leave well alone in order to let the wounds repair. Within the first month, the transplant should be unnoticeable to anyone who doesn’t know you’ve had one.

Around 3-5 weeks after the operation, the newly transplanted hair normally sheds. This falling out is nothing to be alarmed by – it’s a completely natural part of the process, caused by the “rest phase” that all transplanted follicles enter after the procedure. The hair should start growing again 8-10 weeks after the operation, with growth and thickness increasing month on month.

Within 6-9 months, you should be noticing a real change, as your transplant begins to grow into itself fully. The fully recovery period can take longer than a year, but by the time you reach the 18 month mark, you should be experiencing happy, healthy hair growth all over the transplanted area.

You can improve the growth time by supplementing your transplant with additional hair loss medications, like Finasteride and Minoxidil. At Manual, we’re on hand to help guide you through a post-transplant plan, to make sure you get the most out of your rejuvenated scalp.

Will the hair look natural?

In the early stages of their development, hair transplants weren’t always reliable. And it’s still the case that if you opt for a cheap alternative, from an unreliable clinic, you might not get the results you’re after. With horror stories of cowboy surgeons in mind, it’s no wonder that in some quarters hair transplants have a less than glittering reputation – with many people assuming they look artificial.

But is that really the case? When done properly do they look natural?

The simple answer is: yes. Skillfully performed hair transplants, carried out by experienced surgeons, should look very natural. In fact, when done right, it’s almost impossible for a lay person – or even a hairdresser – to detect the difference between normal hair and a transplant. After all, it’s your hair! If you look at before and after photos provided by the clinics Manual are partnered with, you should get a good idea for just how authentic transplanted hair can look.

Getting a natural look from your hair transplant all comes down to how informed you are about the process – and the reliability of the clinic you choose. That’s why it makes such a big difference booking a transplant through Manual. We’ve visited every clinic we’re partnered with, to make sure the surgeons and the teams around them are up to scratch. We only want the best results for you.

Is it permanent?

Hair transplants are the most effective way to combat the effects of hair loss. By redistributing hair from areas of the head where it’s still growing, you transfer that growth to the thinning areas – offering a natural, genetic response to baldness. If the procedure is done correctly it will last a lifetime – changing the way you, and others, see your hair for good.

Will it leave a scar?

In many respects, the art of a truly great hair transplant is in concealing the scar. Scarring depends on the quality of the surgeon carrying out your transplant and, to a lesser extent, the variety of transplant procedure you opt to undergo. In most cases the answer to the question “will it scar” is no, it will never be noticeable. But it helps to know about some of the small differences.

FUT hair transplants used to result in more prominent scarring due to the strip of scalp removed. Now, thanks to a technique called “trichophytic donor closure”, scars are increasingly difficult to spot. So while it’s true that FUT transplants are more likely to leave a scar of some kind, and healing can vary from person to person, it’s still unlikely to be obvious. And don’t forget: you can also mask any potential scarring by styling your hair to hide it. If you go for this procedure, we’d recommend a number 2 haircut as a minimum.

The advantage of an FUE transplant is that the removal of follicles is spread out across the scalp, with small circular incisions being made all over the donor area. This means that while the transplant will leave scarring, the scars themselves are tiny dot-like marks scattered across the sides and back of the head – avoiding the linear scar of the FUT. The scars are so small, in fact, that it would take a medical expert to spot them. This frees you up to wear your newly rejuvenated hair as you wish. Healing varies, so it’s difficult to make guarantees, but an FUE may mean you can shave your hair down to a number 1, or even pull off a shaved head in many cases.

The DHI procedure works in a similar way to the FUE – on an even more precise scale. It’s no wonder then, that it leaves similarly minimal scarring. The healing process for a DHI is also considered to be faster, meaning any potential marks will recover much more quickly.

Whichever procedure you choose, however, there’s one factor that can make or break whether or not your transplant leaves a scar – and that’s the quality of the surgeon that performs the operation. The difference between a transplant that scars and one that leaves no trace is the professionalism, skill and care taken by the clinic. That’s why booking through Manual is such a great way of getting a hair transplant. We vouch for our partner clinics, and we’ll be there with you after the procedure, to ensure your recovery is as seamless as possible.

Will it hurt?

At most clinics, hair transplants are usually carried out under local anaesthetic. This means the entire procedure can be carried out with minimal discomfort for you. So no: it shouldn’t hurt! Your surgery will most likely begin in the morning and take place throughout the day. In fact, the surgery is so non-invasive, you should be able to leave around 30 minutes after the procedure ending.

That said, you’ll have been given a sedative during the procedure, so you’ll need to organise transport for yourself as you won’t be able to drive.

Who is not eligible?

As we explained earlier, figuring out whether or not a hair transplant is for you largely depends on the stage of your hair loss. But eligibility can be decided by other factors….

There are other health considerations to take into account when it comes to whether or not you’re a suitable candidate. While most people will be able to get the look they’re after from a hair transplant, there are some for whom the procedure is inadvisable. Although the surgery is far from invasive, it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk – something you can figure out during your consultation with your chosen Manual-approved clinic.

Certain medical conditions – including hemophilia – may make a hair transplant inadvisable, and the same can be said for blood thinners. Your overall health will also be taken into consideration – after all, the better your immune system the quicker your recovery. Your surgeon may also advise against the transplant if they consider you too young, or if your expectations for the procedure are too high.

Most importantly, you don’t have to figure this out for yourself. You’ll have plenty of detailed conversations about your personal eligibility with both a Manual specialist, and the hair loss clinic we partner you with.

How do I get started?

With Manual, it couldn’t be easier to book a hair transplant with a trusted clinic.

Head to the Manual website where we’ll ask you to complete a quick questionnaire, as well as asking you to upload a few pictures of your head which we’ll share with our partner clinics.

From there, you’ll schedule a call with a Manual concierge, who will introduce you to one of our partner clinics.

Then, during a consultation with one of our partner clinics, you’ll discuss a personal treatment plan and book your surgery.

You can purchase a medication plan through us at any time. If you choose to book with one of our partner clinics you’ll gain access to exclusive discounts on your surgery, and on our medication plans.

Hair transplants are life-changing procedures. And with Manual you’ll never be left scratching your head: we’re here to answer any questions you might have, before, during and after your surgery. Which leaves us with a question for you… What are you waiting for?

FAQs

When is the best time to get a hair transplant?

The best time to get a hair transplant is during the early stages of hair loss. The longer you leave it, and the balder you grow, the less likely it is that there will be enough ‘donor hair’ left to conduct the hair transplant with.

Which type of hair transplant will work for me?

There are three main types of hair transplant procedure: FUE, FUT, and DHI. The difference between each procedure is a minor matter of how the ‘donor’ hair follicles are collected and then transplanted. You will decide which transplant is right for you with a medical professional, during your consultation prior to surgery.

How much does a hair transplant cost?

A hair transplant can cost from £2000 ($3000) to £5000 ($7000). Prices vary from country to country, but it’s important that you make sure you trust the clinic that’s going to perform the surgery, before you worry about the price. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Do hair transplants work, and are they permanent?

Modern hair transplant surgery looks so natural even a hairdresser would struggle to notice the difference. Hair transplant surgery helps you regain a full head of natural hair, which will last you a lifetime.

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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