FAQ/Ask an Expert
FAQ/Ask an Expert
General Surgery Procedure
While the specific methods of FUE an FUT differ, the general surgical procedure is the same.
Explore the answers to our most frequently asked questions regarding hair transplant surgery.
Below, find insights on what to expect from hair transplant surgery,
from consultation, to surgery, all the way through final results.
What Will My Consultation Be Like?
Meeting with your surgeon about the procedure is an important first step that allows you and your doctor to better understand how to reach your specific goals. This conversation will cover what the procedure you want exactly entails as well as answer any important questions about your medical history, potential risks, and the pre- or post-operation timelines.
During this consultation process, it is important for you to be open and honest about your medical history. It is vital for your surgeon to know your full medical history as some factors will impact their recommended course of treatment.
During your consultation, here is a list of suggested topics to mention to your surgeon:
- Previous medical treatment or surgery, especially to the scalp
- Previous or current skin conditions
- Treatment for diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Any autoimmune diseases or weakened immune system
- Conditions or medication that interfere with wound healing or blood clotting
- Problems with breathing or circulation
- Any clinical diagnosis of mental illness and any related prescriptions
Questions to ask your surgeon about the procedure include:
- Can you show me before and after pictures of patients who have had this procedure?
- Do you believe my goals for this surgery are realistic?
- What are the main risks for complications or undesired results?
- Will there be potential for scars, and if so, where will they be?
Your surgeon will also consider some of the following during your consultation. Be prepared to discuss these topics with them:
- Your medical history and any ongoing conditions or medication
- The best surgical approach to achieve the result you want
Provide you with any information about concerns you may have regarding the procedure or the healing process
What Are The Risks & Potential Complications?
You may feel eagre to book a surgery time immediately after meeting your consultation. However, the surgeons at Medbelle recommend a two week gap between consultation and surgery to “cool off” as it were. This gives you enough time to consider all you learned during the consultation and decide if proceeding with the surgery is right for you.
A major part of your surgical consultation includes your surgeon outlining the potential risks and complications related to the procedure as well as the healing process. Educating yourself on these risks before your surgery date is vital.
To help you in this, here is a brief summary of some of the most common risks and complications with hair transplant surgery.
- Minor bleeding: Bleeding is common after hair transplant surgery because of the small incisions made into the scalp. While heavy bleeding is rare, this may be a sign of severe complication post surgery and requires immediate medical attention.
- Haematoma: Otherwise known as blood clots, haematoma may form in the skin of the scalp during the healing process. Generally these clots disappear naturally with time, but in rare cases may need to be removed with a small needle by a medical professional.
- Transplant failure: Remember it is normal for the transplanted hair to fall out a few weeks after surgery. When these hairs fall out, new strands should begin to grow in their place out of the newly placed hair follicle. In some cases, however, there is a risk that some or all of the transplanted hairs do not grow back after falling out.
- Scarring: Usually, scarring from follicular hair transplant surgery is not visible because the small incisions are hidden by the hair as it grows. However, the potential for scarring is highly dependent on your skin’s ability to heal post operation and the techniques used during your procedure. More invasive scalp reduction or scalp transplant surgery methods have a higher chance of causing wide scars on the scalp called ‘stretch-back’ scars.
- Aesthetic risk: As with any cosmetic procedure, there is a chance that you will be dissatisfied with the aesthetic look of your results. To avoid this, Medbelle recommends patiently and carefully choosing an experienced surgeon with a proven history of results you believe are aesthetically pleasing, who also understands your motivation and expectations for the procedure. This way they can plan the transplant carefully to cater to your wants and needs and ensure it looks the way you want even as time passes.
- Altered skin sensation: The nature of hair transplant surgery and the many small incisions made into the scalp for the grafted hair may cause minor nerve damage to your scalp. This damage can cause numbness or a change in sensitivity in or around the scalp. In a majority of cases, this numbness diminishes as healing progresses. Sometimes this lasts for several months and in rare cases it may be permanent.
- Infection: As with any surgery, infection is a risk. While rare, it will be apparent to you within the first two or three weeks after surgery if you develop an infection. The signs you may have an infection and need to seek immediate medical attention include but are not limited to:
- A temperature above 38*C
- Redness spreading away from the incision after 48 hours
- Yellow, potentially unpleasant smelling fluid weeping from the incision
- An increase in pain or discomfort that is not relieved by pain medication
If you do develop an infection, there is a small chance this may adversely affect your surgery results. In these cases, corrective surgery may be necessary.
- Uneven hair growth: If hair loss continues after a hair transplant surgery, the hair may develop a patchy or uneven look. This usually occurs when transplanted hair is placed near or within patches of hair that continue to thin. However, this can be corrected with further hair transplant surgery at a later date.
Are There Things I Should/Should Not Do Before The Surgery?
There are a number of things you can do to ensure your procedure and recovery time go as smoothly as possible. From eating right to how you sleep, here are a few tips to help you prepare for surgery:
- Sleep posture: Our surgeons recommend sleeping somewhat upright, near a 45° angle for a few nights after surgery to prevent excess swelling. To prepare for this, make sure you have enough clean pillows and potentially a neck pillow ready on your bed for you when you arrive back after your surgery.
- The essentials: Shop for food and clean your home before your procedure to ensure you have enough to eat and are able to relax without worrying about chores in the first days after surgery. Preparing healthful meals high in protein and low in sodium in advance is also a great idea so you don’t have to worry about cooking when you arrive home.
- Dependent care: It may be helpful to ask friends or family to help you care for young children and pets in the first days after you arrive home so you can focus on recovery.
- Contact lenses: After surgery, you must wear a headband to compress the surgery site on your scalp. This means it may be more convenient for glasses wearers to switch to prescription contact lenses before surgery to ensure you can see clearly even if unable to wear glasses.
- Secure a ride: You will not be able to drive directly after surgery, so ensure you have a reliable form of transportation from the surgery center to your home before the day of your procedure. If you need help with travel arrangements, please let our team know as we are more than happy to help find you a way to get home safely.
What to wear: On the day of your surgery, as well as the following few days, it is best to wear clothes that fasten in the front or back and do not have to be pulled down over your head. Avoid any unnecessary contact with your scalp to make sure healing can progress and you remain comfortable.
What Can I Expect The Day Of Surgery?
The total length of a hair transplant surgery can fall anywhere between four to 12 hours. When you arrive at the hospital, you must not have had anything to drink or eat since the night before.
As a basic guideline, your procedure day may look something like this:
- The anesthetist will meet with you and perform a preoperative anaesthetic assessment.
- Your surgeon will meet with you to sign consent forms as well as draw guidelines on the area of your scalp to be operated on as well as discuss the exact goals of the surgery with you one more time.
- You will then be taken to the operating theatre, placed on an operating table, and have the treatment area numbed with a local anaesthetic. (This procedure can also be done with a patient under general anesthesia, though this will be decided before the day of surgery.)
- Once the anaesthetic has been administered, incisions are made to predetermined areas to collect graft follicles.
- These donor follicles are then implanted into incisions made in the affected area in such a way as to mimic natural hair growth patterns.
- Any incisions are closed with sutures and a tight bandage is placed around the head.
- This concludes the surgery portion of the procedure, and you are taken back to the ward to recover from anaesthetic.
Hair transplant surgery does not generally require overnight care and you can return home the same day as your procedure
Is There Anything I Need To Do Post-Operation?
Modern follicular hair transplant methods are much less invasive than methods used historically so patients are generally able to return home shortly after their procedure. Before leaving, your surgeon will schedule a post-op appointment with you in one to two weeks. This appointment will give your surgeon the chance to examine how healing is progressing, discuss the outcome of the surgery, and decide if any further treatment is needed.
What to expect after surgery:
- You will need to ensure you have a responsible adult with you for at least 24 hours following your surgery because of the potential impact of local anaesthetic on your memory and coordination. Another person is valuable to remember post-surgery instructions you may not remember later.
- Related to the local anaesthetic at the surgery site, you can expect to experience some altered sensation around your scalp and incisions. This will wear off eventually.
- Other common sensations after surgery include aching, thightness, and swelling around the head which can usually be managed with painkillers like paracetamol.
- Time off: If your work in an office, it is recommended to make sure you have at least three days off. If your work includes physical labour, you must take at least one week off. It is essential to the healing process that you avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for at least three weeks after surgery.
- During recovery, make sure to eat high-protein, low-sodium foods, and lots of fruits and vegetables to give your body everything it needs while healing. Drink water and beverages with little sugar and no caffeine to ensure you stay hydrated. Staying away from large amounts of salty and sugary foods is also beneficial to your recovery.
- Hygiene: You may not wash your hair or scalp until your bandages have been removed, which will happen a few days after your surgery. After this you may be able to gently wash with shampoo. Make sure to take great care with your scalp in the first 14 days after your procedure as the new grafts are not yet secure in their new positions. Your surgeon may send you home with a lotion or spray to apply to the follicles while you heal. As with any surgery, it is vital to follow the specific aftercare instructions given to you by your surgeon.
Hair care: After 2 weeks have passed, you may continue your normal hair care routine as long as your surgeon agrees it is safe to do so.
When Will I See The Final Results?
Transplanted hair typically takes between three to four months to begin growing, however the full aesthetic result of a hair transplant procedure may be visible after 12 months, and may also continue to improve in quality for up to 18 months after surgery.
As with any surgical procedure, scars are an inevitable part of getting the results you want. In the weeks following surgery, scars will commonly look pink and slightly raised. As time passes, these will fade to faint white and be well hidden beneath the hair. After healing, scars may only be visible if the hair is cut extremely short.
Are hair implants permanent?
Yes. When performed by a trained specialist, a hair transplant can last a lifetime. The hair that is transplanted will only grow in its new position for as long as it would have in its original one; so if a healthy, non-balding follicle is transplanted, it will continue to grow indefinitely in its new site.
At what stage should you get a hair transplant?
Hair transplants are only appropriate for those with permanent baldness, and not for men with diffuse patterned alopecia. Consult with your doctor to see if you’re a good candidate, but in general it’s better to wait until your hairline has “settled” before seeking transplants. Getting hair transplants when you’re still in the processing of losing hair may mean having to get further transplants later.
Can people tell if you’ve had a hair transplant?
No. A hair transplant done by a qualified professional is unlikely to be noticed by others. However, post-surgery you will need a minimum of 3 weeks’ recovery, during which time tiny scars and swelling will still be noticeable. You can always wear a hat.
Do hair transplants work?
Yes, but this always depends on the surgeon you select. A qualified, experienced surgeon will be able to assess your particular case and choose a procedure that will work for you and your hair.
Do you have to take hormones after a hair transplant?
No. Recovery doesn’t usually entail taking any hormonal treatments, unless this has also been advised by your doctor.
How long does a hair transplant last?
If done correctly, a hair transplant is permanent. However, occasionally a patient will experience some further hair loss as they age.
How does a hair transplant work?
are two main methods: FUT and FUE. In the first, thin strips or grafts of hair are transplanted from the back of the head and sewn into their new site. For FUE, individual hairs are removed and transplanted into small cuts in the front of the head. The entire hair follicle is moved, so that it can continue to grow in its new position.
Is a hair transplant painful?
This varies. Procedures are usually done under anaesthetic, meaning you might feel nothing at all during the procedure. You may need to take painkillers during recovery and will likely experienced a feeling of soreness and “tightness” across the scalp.
Is a hair transplant Haram?
No. For scholars of Islam, Hair transplantation is considered permissible because it is not altering Allah’s creation but correcting a fault. However, plastic surgery, tattoos and attempting to deceive people about your age are not considered permissible, making hair transplants a grey area for some. If you’re unsure about how hair transplant interacts with your religion, consult an Imam and discuss your motivations for the procedure.
Is it worth getting a hair transplant?
Only you can answer this question. There are always risks and benefits, and the procedure does have considerable cost. However, many people have found that getting a hair transplant was worth it for them, and were pleased with the boost to both their confidence and appearance.
What age can you get a hair transplant?
There is no fixed age at which hair transplants will work best, however there are greater risks associated with getting the procedure done in your mid 20s. Most doctors prefer hair transplant candidates to be over the age of 30; this gives the hairline a chance to settle, and reduces chances of complications.
When can I wash my hair after the hair transplant?
You will typically be given a special shampoo on the day of the procedure to use at home 1 to 3 days after the operation; be gentle and use this as prescribed for the next two weeks. After that you can switch to products of your choice. Washing gently will help remove scabs and condition your scalp.