One of the most common questions hair transplant patients ask is, “How long does a hair transplant last? And will a hair transplant last forever?” While a hair transplant can be transformative surgery and last for years, if not decades or longer, how long a hair transplant lasts depends on multiple factors, such as the degree of balding you are experiencing. The details of your procedure can also dictate the results and whether you’ll need a secondary procedure at some point or not.
How Long Does a Hair Transplant Last?
One of the most commonly asked questions about hair restoration procedures is how long does a hair transplant last. Immediately following the procedure, you’ll be able to see the outline of your new hairline, and shortly after that, new hair will begin to grow, and the full results will be seen after about one year.
Generally, a hair transplant is a permanent solution for hair loss because it involves transplanting hair follicles from one area of the head (usually the back or sides of the scalp) to an area affected by hair loss. However, the results of a hair transplant depend on various factors, including the skill of your surgeon, the quality of the donor’s hair, and the overall health of your scalp. In most cases, transplanted hairs will grow like normal hair and remain in place for the rest of your life.
Even though the transplanted hair will stay in place, the normal hair growth process will continue, which will entail thinning and hair loss. So, over time, some parts of the scalp may experience thinning, and additional hair transplant procedures or other hair restoration solutions, which may even include medications, may be needed.
Factors Affecting How Long a Hair Transplant Last
Several factors that affect how long a hair transplant lasts, and some of the most important ones to consider include:
- The Transplant Method: FUE vs. FUT
The two methods for hair transplantation surgery are Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). FUE involves extracting individual hair follicles directly from the donor area (usually the back or sides of the scalp) using a small, circular punch tool. It typically results in small scars across the donor area that are less noticeable than the linear scar associated with FUT. FUE also has a faster recovery and is best suited for those with short hair.
FUT requires a strip of tissue to be removed from the donor area. Individual hair follicles are removed from the strip and then used in transplantation. FUT leaves a linear scar in the donor area, typically hidden by the surrounding hair. The recovery period for FUT is more extended than that of FUE, and FUT is often recommended for those who require more grafts.
Some people are genetically programmed to experience hair loss. Even if a hair transplant is performed, genetics may supersede the results. It’s also important to know that the quality of the donor hair, including its thickness, texture, and density, can affect the overall aesthetic outcome and longevity of the transplant. Plus, properly preparing the recipient site, where the hair follicles are transplanted, is essential. The surgeon must create recipient sites that mimic the hair’s natural growth pattern to achieve a more natural-looking result. The overall health of the recipient’s scalp and existing hair in the transplant area can impact the procedure’s success. Conditions like scalp infections or diseases may affect healing and graft survival.
- Post-Transplant Aftercare
Following the transplant, adhering to post-operative care instructions is crucial. Patients must take prescribed medications, avoid activities that may damage the transplanted hair, and follow a proper skincare routine to promote healing. Post-transplant aftercare is crucial for the success and long-term results of a hair transplant procedure. They can help prevent infections since the recipient sites are vulnerable to infections and also minimize trauma to the site. It’s important to make the most of your hair transplant procedure, always follow all recommended medication compliance, avoid strenuous activity, protect the scalp from the sun while it is healing, and wash and care for the hair as recommended.
Understanding the Initial and Long-Term Results
After the surgery, your scalp will be swollen, red, tender, and scabbed in the donor and recipient areas. The transplanted hair may also appear unnatural looking. Then, a few weeks later, the transplanted hairs will begin to shed, which is normal, and new hairs will gradually grow in their place. Some existing hair may experience temporary loss, but this hair usually regrows within a few months.
Over the coming months, the transplanted hair will grow with increased density and coverage. It can take about six to 12 months for the full results to be seen. With proper care, the new natural-looking hair will blend seamlessly with the existing hair. The transplanted hairs are permanent and usually resistant to hair loss, but the surrounding areas are still susceptible to hair loss and change over time. To maintain the results of transplanted hair, following your doctor’s orders and always caring for the hair properly is essential.
Maintaining Hair Transplant Results
Maintaining the results of your hair transplant requires ongoing care. While the new hair is permanent, supporting overall hair health and preventing future damage and hair loss is essential.
It’s important to always protect your scalp from the sun, which can be harmful during the initial healing phase. Wear a hat to protect the scalp from harmful UV rays, especially in the first few months after the surgery. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can have adverse effects on overall health, including hair health. And a healthy diet that supports the health of your hair is essential. Limiting stress is also important to keep the hair healthy.
You’ll want to wash the hair with gentle, mild, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Avoid harsh chemical treatments and excessive styling that could damage the hair or irritate the scalp.
Consulting a Professional for Realistic Expectations
Hair transplants are permanent, and as part of our consultations, we review all the treatment’s pros and cons and potential risks. No two heads of hair are the same, and the results on one person may differ. That’s why having an in-person consultation is important, so you know what to expect with the treatment since everyone is different.