In 2012, International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) members reported performing 88,304 hair restoration surgeries in the United States. The total number of hair transplants worldwide topped 310,000. If you’re one of the many men and women considering hair restoration, you may be looking for answers first. Here are 10 questions that people often ask both online and in hair restoration offices.
How Long Does Hair Restoration Surgery Take?
Hair restoration surgeries do take time to complete. The number of grafts needed and technique used impact the overall surgery time. On average, it can take anywhere from three to seven hours to complete a hair transplant. In many cases, you may find yourself spending the better part of a day in the doctor’s office.
Is the FUE or FUT Method Better?
FUT (follicular unit transplantation) also referred to as FUG (follicular unit grafting), requires a small strip of tissue containing hair follicles to be surgically excised from the donor site, often the back of sides of the scalp. This strip is then dissected under a microscope to break the tissue up into individual follicles that are then transplanted. There may be a small scar, but with a skilled hair transplant surgeon, that scar is easily hidden within the hair. FUT tends to produce a greater yield than FUE.
FUE (follicular unit extraction) involves using a small punch that removes single hair follicles. You avoid a scar from the strip excision, but you do get a number of tiny white dots on your donor site. These small sections of tissue and hair follicles are then transplanted. FUE takes much longer to perform, and as a result is more expensive.
Can I Choose Where the Hair Follicles are Harvested?
Hair transplant surgeons know the best way to restore your hairline. While your surgeon may listen to your suggestions, remember the surgeon has years of training in hair transplants. You do not want to damage the healthy follicles you have remaining by having too many incisions made in your preferred donor site. Donor hair is most often taken from the back of the head and sometimes the sides.
Can I Pair the Surgery With Propecia?
Many hair restoration surgeons advise their patients to take Propecia or similar medications after a hair transplant surgery.
How Many Grafts do I Need?
To accurately predict the number of grafts needed, it is best to see a hair restoration surgeon. The number depends on how much hair loss has occurred. Someone who may eventually reach class 6 on the baldness scale may need up to 7,000 grafts spread out over a couple surgeries.
Can I have Hair Follicles Transplanted into Skin with Acne Scars?
For some men, severe acne has left scars on the face that may have damaged the hair follicles. If this is the case, transplanting hair from the neck or scalp can restore hair growth on the cheeks. A hair transplant doctor will be able to determine if the hair in those donor areas has the right texture and color.
Why is My New Hair Falling Out?
During a hair transplant, the blood flow to the hair follicles is temporarily decreased. This can shock the hair follicle and cause what is known as “shock loss.” It’s nothing to worry about. New hair will form and grow from the follicles in time, usually within three to nine months.
How Long Do I Need to Wait Between Hair Transplants?
You should not undergo a second hair transplant until the growth has been established from the previous surgery. It can take six to eight months for that new growth to occur, so plan to wait at least six months, possibly longer.
How Much Does Hair Transplant Surgery Cost?
Every hair restoration is different, so it’s hard to put an exact price on the surgery. The number of grafts you need and the technique used impact the final cost. If you still want a general idea on what it costs, the ISHRS estimates that the average cost in 2012 was just over $6,218. Just remember that this is only an estimate.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Hair Transplant Surgeon?
Start your search by visiting the ISHRS website and searching for a doctor by country or state. Before committing to any hair restoration practice, you need to take a look at the hair surgeon’s credentials and training. You also need to see the surgeon’s work either in before and after pictures, videos, or face to face. Once you’ve narrowed your search, arrange a consultation to meet with the surgeon.
If you have additional questions, Dr. Sheldon Kabaker’s informative page on Hair Restoration Surgery has many more answers. Read that information and then schedule a consultation with the Oakland hair restoration surgeon who has decades of experience in hair restoration and facial plastic surgery. Dr. Kabaker is an ISHRS member. Reach Dr. Kabaker’s office by calling 1-800-914-HAIR.