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Hair Transplant Guide : Pros Cons, Side Effects, Scars and After Care

Dr Rohit Bhaskar
Dr Rohit Bhaskar
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Male pattern baldness is a condition that affects most men in some stage of their lives. Reasons for this may include certain cancers, medications, thyroid conditions, and anabolic steroids as well as genetics, or dysfunctioning androgens, that cause the hair follicles to shrink, thereby producing shorter and finer hair.

While, the condition is more common among men, a few women may also suffer from overall hair thinning and early balding due to mechanical or traction alopecia, high stress levels and eating disorders. Hair forms an important part of a person’s appearance, and such hair loss may affect an individual’s self esteem. 

Hair Transplant

A Hair Transplant can help boost hair growth and fix baldness.

What Is Hair Transplant?

Hair transplant is a surgical technique in which new hair follicles are transplanted from a hair-loss resistant area to a balding or hair thinning area. It is a permanent replacement treatment to restore the hair in the balding area. Thus, it is  a permanent natural looking solution for patients suffering from balding conditions or receding hairlines.

Hair transplantation can also be used for other body parts such as to restore eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair, chest hair, pubic hair and to treat scars caused by any accident or surgery.

Hair Transplant is also known as Hair Restoration.

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For A Hair Transplant Procedure?

Men who have been losing their hair due to male pattern baldness for more than five years or who have progressed to a Norwood class 3, which is the earliest stage of male hair loss, or above.

Men who have realistic expectations and who understand that their hair loss might continue to progress even if they are taking prescription medication to stop the progression.

Men who have been balding for many years and whose pattern has stabilized and are interested in growing hair to provide a more youthful appearance.

Men and women who have lost hair due to trauma or burns.

What Are The Different Techniques Used For A Hair Transplant?

There are two primary techniques for hair transplantation aka hair restoration currently in use - the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and the FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation).

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

The FUT process removes a small strip of tissue from the back of the head, from which the donor hair follicles are extracted. The hair follicles are harvested from this strip by a skilled clinical team before being individually transplanted to the recipient areas. In cases of advanced hair loss, FUT is preferred because it allows for the greatest number of grafts to be transplanted in a single session.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

In an FUE hair transplantation, each follicular unit is individually taken from the scalp and no strip of tissue is removed. Hair follicles are removed randomly which results in less density in the donor area that is not very noticeable. Since follicles are removed one at a time, fewer follicles can be harvested during a typical session.



What To Do Before A Hair Transplant Procedure?

Avoid aspirin, advil, motrin, alcohol, vitamins, vitamin E, steroids, cortisone creams, green tea, and smoking. All of these can make you bleed more making the surgery much harder and possibly less successful.

On the day of your capillary surgery, take a shower and wash your hair with a normal shampoo. Avoid using any type of hair spray or other lotions.

Have a light breakfast, but don’t drink milk, white tea or coffee upto 12 hours before your surgery. This is because when you're under anaesthetic, your body's reflexes are temporarily stopped. If your stomach has food and drink in it, there's a risk of vomiting, or regurgitation (bringing up food into your throat).  If this happens, the regurgitated food can spill into your lungs and affect your breathing, as well as cause damage to your lungs.

Arrange for a means of transportation. Do not drive on your own under the influence of valium (a medicine used for treating anxiety) or painkillers since they cause drowsiness.



What Is The Post-Operative Care For A Hair Transplant Procedure?

The first day out from surgery, take a shower. Wash your body as you usually do. Then shampoo the donor area with your usual shampoo. 
Be gentle, and just use your fingers with the hair. Avoid using combs or you might catch a stitch with the comb. It’s okay if water washes over the recipient area the first postop morning, but don’t shampoo it until the second day after the surgery.
After surgery go home and rest.  Keep your head up about 45 degrees. A recliner will be helpful.
A headwrap will be placed around your head for the first night. The next morning, take scissors and just cut the hea0dwrap and remove it. Don’t pull it off, or you might pull out some grafts. Don’t leave it on more than the first night either, your head will swell more later on if you do so. 

What Is The Diet For A Hair Transplant Procedure?

A diet lacking in important minerals, vitamins, proteins and fatty acids may actually cause the cells in the hair follicles to malfunction. A poor diet can also lead to further hair loss.

Diets which are rich in iron and zinc provide the body with essential minerals it needs to produce healthy hair and follicles.

Foods that are rich in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6 are excellent sources of nutrients for promoting healthy, new hair growth and strong follicles. These include oily fish, sweet potatoes, beans, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, nuts, and legumes.

Avoid consumption of alcohol for a few weeks after your surgery because alcohol can interfere with the anesthetic that you will be given, creating a dangerous sedative effect.  It may be best to wait a few days after your surgery in order to let the affects of the anesthesia completely wear off.

What Are The Realistic Expectations From A Hair Transplant Procedure?

Hair restoration surgery or hair transplant can improve the way you look and give your hair a perfect original look. 
During hair transplant, finite amount of hair can be planted from donor sites on your body to the affected area.
Partial or full baldness or thin hair problems can be solved with the help of hair transplants. However, the patients have to understand that the hair fall problem can only be stopped with the help of medications, etc.
The surgery may be done in one go using motorised FUE Devices, whereas manual transplant may require more than one appointments depending on how much hair is to be transplanted. Therefore, in this case it takes a longer duration to realise the final results of the procedure.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Hair Transplant?


This procedure works well to provide long term results for male pattern baldness, hair thinning in women due to hormonal fluctuations and in cases of scalp injuries.

Hair transplantation is more cost effective than medication treatments as the whole cost is incurred in one procedure versus a lifetime of treatment.
Natural hair growth is the main aim of this procedure, making its effects long lasting.
The results of the surgery is in the patient’s control, with the eventual aesthetic beauty achieved as per each patient’s vision.
In procedures like eyebrow transplants, the results look natural in comparison to tattoos or makeup.

Who Should Avoid Undergoing Hair Transplant?

As the procedure is mainly concerned with the scalp skin only, there is no danger to expecting mothers. So, pregnant women can safely undergo hair transplants. 
This procedure is done under the effect of local anesthesia, so it does not directly interfere with the functioning of the heart, etc. But, there are always risks to the patients having serious heart diseases and they should consult with the surgeons before taking the treatment.
Heavy drinkers and smokers are also not allowed to undergo the treatment because of the risk of internal and external bleeding. If they have to take the treatment, they have to abstain from their drinking and smoking habits at least a few weeks before the time of the procedure.

What Are The Alternatives To A Hair Transplant Procedure?

A hair transplant is used as a remedy for early balding patterns and excessive hair thinning. It cures loss of hair and restores hair of a person by transplanting it from a different part of the body to the head. It is a considerably invasive medical procedure.

Thus, many people may consider other affordable alternatives to the surgery. 


Finasteride are oral medication which can be taken in the form of pills, aim at restoring old hair growth patterns. They must be taken daily in regular dosages and can only be purchased on a confidential prescription. Apart from oral medicines, one can even opt for Minoxidil, which is an ointment to be applied directly on the scalp for hair restoration. These can be attained without an official prescription. However, both of the above alternatives provide results after a considerable time and may not give permanent solutions. Besides, they may also cause severe side effects. 

Supplements and other things 

One may also choose from other medical options such as growth supplements and Spironolactone (particularly used by non childbearing women). New technological innovations including the Laser Light Comb, PRP/ACell, or Low Level Laser Therapy are also prospective solutions. However, these are still in experimental form and are not easily available. While wigs, hair sprays and hair extensions provide only a temporary solution, they can be used to provide a certain “fullness” to a hair thinning scalp.

Are There Any Post-procedure Scars?

The FUT strip extraction method typically results in a very narrow linear scar in the back of the head. Since the scar is very thin, it can be easily concealed by all but the shortest of haircut styles. Over time the scar will become less noticeable as it fades.

Since FUE procedures involve removing hairs individually from the scalp, there is no linear scar left behind. However, there will be tiny puncture marks that tend to heal by themselves after scabbing in the days following the procedure. These tiny wounds typically heal within three to seven days.

What Are The Temporary Side-Effects Of Hair Transplant?

Patients generally experience temporary inflammation and itching after the surgery. The patient should not worry much as the inflammation generally goes away in a week in most cases. 
Infection and severe bleeding can also occur in the inflamed areas of the scalp. Antibiotic medications or creams can be used to ease out the pain and reduce the infection.
Another complication could be the swelling of the scalp and the numbness or lack of sensation in the treated area because of the severing of nerves while planting hair follicles. The swelling goes away but the numbness could persist till the nerves recover which may take upto 6 months or more.
Sometimes, there is a risk of temporary loss of transplanted hair (known as shock loss). But, this loss is generally insignificant compared to the amount of hair transplanted.

How To Choose A Surgeon For A Hair Transplant Procedure?

Choosing a good surgeon can be a tricky task, since it is a matter of your safety and health. But, you can always take help from online medical tourism facilitators, patient forums, local doctors, etc to contact doctors before undergoing the procedure. Hair transplants, if done the right way can last for a long time. Therefore, one should select their surgeon very carefully.


The patient should look for a well-trained surgeon with enough experience in hair transplants. Ask the surgeon for records and testimonials of his patients to make yourself sure of his expertise in that procedure. It is necessary to check his educational qualifications and prior experience in performing the procedure.

How Inexpensive Is Hair Transplant Overseas?

The price of a hair transplant, also called hair restoration depends on a number of factors:

The amount of hair follicles to be transplanted
The recipient site or the area where the hair is to be transplanted (beard, eyebrows, head etc.)
The number of sessions required for the transplant (single or multiple session)


1800 USD


2200 USD


4000 USD


5000 USD


6100 USD


8700 USD


12000 USD

Time Requirements

Procedure Duration

      4-6 hrs

Average length of stay abroad

    3-5 days    

No. of trips required


How Is Hair Transplant Performed?

Pre procedure 

Initially, before the procedure starts, the patient has to consult a surgeon. The surgeon analyses the patient’s scalp and discusses their preferences and expectations. The surgeon then establishes an appropriate donor site from where the hair will be taken. The procedure may require a single session or multiple sessions depending on the conditions.

The Hair Transplant procedure 

The patient’s scalp is first cleaned and treated with an antibacterial agent prior to the donor scalp being harvested. The donor site is then  injected with local anaesthesia to numb the area before the extraction. The procedure of a hair transplant is called Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). It can be done in two ways- Strip Harvesting and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).In Strip harvesting the donor tissue is extracted in one single strip. The strip is placed in a physiological solution. Then a single layer of hair follicular units is made by the harvested strips, which is finally implanted in the recipient area.In Follicular Unit Extraction, individual follicular units containing 1 to 4 hair strands are removed at a time. The surgeon then immediately punctures the site for receiving grafts and places them in a predetermined pattern, angle and density to give a realistic hair pattern. After the completion of the procedure, the area is surgically dressed which allows seepage of blood and tissue fluid. It needs to be kept in place for 1-2 days as required.The procedure of hair transplant generally takes around 4 to 12 hours. It may take as long as 4 to 6 months for the the hair to come through at the recipient site. Patient may have to wait for a year to see the full effects of the transplant.

Post procedure 

The vulnerable recipient site must be protected from the sun.

The patient needs to shampoo the hair with the recommended shampoo to avoid the formation of scabs around the hair shaft.

During the first ten days of transplant the patient may experience hair shedding or “shock loss” which  is a common side effect. However, the patient’s hair will grow normally and continue to thicken through the next 4 to 9 months. 

Important Things To Know About Hair Transplant

The Procedure Is Recommended For :

Male pattern  baldness
Hair loss ( Alopecia)
Receding hairlines
Trauma to the hair
Not Recommended For :
Diffuse pattern female balding
Spot baldness ( Alopecia areata)
Insufficient hair at donor site

Potential Risks :

There might be a hair transplant failure , that is, the hair at the recipient site doesn’t grow after the completion of the procedure.
The  patient may experience little bleeding after the operation due to some nick and cuts while extraction. It can be controlled by pressing a gauze piece.
Strip harvesting might leave behind a linear scar. However, it gets covered up with growing hair after a few months.
Swelling of areas such as the scalp and forehead.
The patient may get Infection which can be treated with antibiotics.
The patient may experience itching due to the formation of scabs.
Tenderness on the scalp. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do hair transplants work?

Hair transplants have had a high rate of success in the past few years. However, proper care needs to be taken after the transplant to ensure best results. According to statistics hair transplants have a success rate of 95%.

2. How long do hair transplants last?

It is a permanent natural looking solution for hair loss. However, proper care is necessary for best results.

3. Is the hair transplant painful?

The procedure is carried out after injecting a local anaesthesia to the area. So the patient doesn’t experience any pain during the procedure. Swelling of the scalp and forehead, and itching for a few days might occur as a side effect of the procedure but it can be treated with medicine and painkiller. Patients who undergo multiple sessions are likely to experience more discomfort.

4. Do hair transplants grow?

Hair transplants are natural hair which continue to grow naturally after the implant procedure is completed and the implant is completely assimilated. Patients might have to wait for about a year to see the full results. Once, it grows it is indistinguishable from the natural hair.

5. Do hair transplants look real?

Hair transplants are hair that are indistinguishable from the natural hair once they grow. However, it depends largely on the skill and technique of the surgeon. So, it is best for the patient to discuss about their preferences and expectations with the surgeon during the consultation period. 

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