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18 hair transplant myths debunked!

18 hair transplant myths debunked!

Questions about hair transplants? Read on as Dr. Linkov debunks some common myths and misconceptions. 

For those who follow the channel, chances are you’ve come across a hair transplant video. It’s a surgery I specialize in, one that can really make a meaningful impact on an individual’s self-image. 

Yet, despite its popularity, I find that the mighty hair transplant is often shrouded in hearsay and misconceptions. 

Is a hair transplant really permanent? Will it hurt? Is it dangerous? Will everyone know?

Today I want to separate fact from fiction and debunk some of the most common hair transplant myths I hear. Read on to clear up misconceptions about this transformative procedure! 

Think a hair transplant is a quick fix? Think again.

1. Hair transplant results are immediate.

Fiction. With any surgery there is a recovery process, and hair transplants are no different.  Right after a surgery, small scabs form over the new hairs and last between 10-14 days. When the scabs do fall off, small shafts of hair are left in their wake – the ones that were transplanted. These initial transplanted hair shafts also shed 2-6 weeks after surgery

In fact, after a hair transplant surgery, you won’t see regrowth for about 3 months, and the hair won’t come in all at once or grow at the same pace. How long does it take to see improvement? It takes roughly 10 months to see 90% of your results and up to 1 ½ years for final results. Want to know more about the hair transplant recovery process? See our video here

2. It’s going to look fake (AKA: Everyone will know). 

Fiction. Now, of course there are bad hair transplants out there. Technical and artistic skill are crucial for a successful hair transplant. This surgery is not a walk in the park, and it’s a team effort. How the markings are placed, collecting the correct size of graft, the shape of the hairline, blending transplanted hair in with the surrounding hair, considering future hair loss, and blending direction and the angulation of the hair – it all comes into play when designing a hair transplant. Irregularity is also important, as natural hairlines aren’t perfect. 

But hair transplant surgeries can look incredibly natural (and undetectable) when performed correctly. Like a lot of cosmetic plastic surgeries, poor work is the most visible. We don’t see well-performed work because it’s imperceptible. And that’s the kind of hair transplant you want. 

Thinking of a hair transplant? Candidates need to be in good health, have an adequate donor supply, and come in with reasonable expectations. 

3. Getting a Hair transplant is a safe procedure.

Fact. Like with any surgery, of course there are safety considerations: cleanliness, calculating safe doses of lidocaine (or general anesthetics), and taking precautions against infection are important for any surgical procedure. Avoiding overharvesting and over-implantation is also important as either can compromise blood supply to the hair. It’s also important to avoid aggressive hairlines which can be difficult to correct. But yes, as far as cosmetic surgeries go, when correctly performed, hair transplants are quite safe.

4. Everyone is a good candidate for hair transplant surgery.

Fiction. For starters you need to be in good general health. Anticoagulation medication can complicate surgery, as can active inflammation – meaning that scarring alopecia and alopecia areata need to be under control before considering a hair transplant. Candidates also need to have a sufficient donor supply of hair and realistic expectations for what can be achieved. Not everyone who wants a hair transplant will meet these conditions.

5. Hair transplants are permanent.

Fact…and Fiction. 

A hair transplant is permanent when the transplanted hair is DHT (dihydrotestosterone) resistant. With FUE surgery, some of the transplanted hair will not be DHT resistant. If you’re not utilizing antiandrogenic medical therapy (finasteride/spironolactone/minoxidil) the transplanted hair can be partially lost (ie: not permanent). 

Reversing a hair transplant, however, is a different matter. If the hairline is lowered too aggressively or too heavy of hairs are used, you can use FUE extraction to partially reverse things. There’s a catch – you need to weigh the poorly placed hair with a small scar. The solution? Avoid this scenario. Carefully select your surgeon and know the plan going in. 

6. Hair transplants are not the only option for people experiencing hair loss.

Fact. Medical therapy, medical therapy, medical therapy. 

With a hair transplant or without, minoxidil, finasteride, spironolactone, and PRP can make a world of difference. 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention camouflage. Fibers, micropigmentation, hair pieces and wigs are all valid options. 

And always remember, bald is beautiful too!

Think a hair transplant is the only option? Think again. Camouflage comes in may flavors, from hair pieces to micropigmentation and fibers. You have options. 

7. No pain, no gain. 

Fiction. Hair transplants should not be a painful procedure. On the day of surgery, pain from lidocaine injections (the numbing agent) can be mitigated through careful placement, administering the lidocaine slowly, and using a small needle and syringe. Post operatively, pain is usually minimal, but some patients can experience burning or increased nerve sensitivity in the donor area for 1-2 weeks. In my practice, less than 5% of patients experience this.

8. Hair transplants are only for men.

Fiction. Approximately 90% of hair transplant patients are men, but that doesn’t mean women can’t (or don’t!) benefit from the procedure. Hairline lowering and/or sculpting can be used to feminize the face, and eyebrow transplants for women have become much more common – it’s an area where women tend to lose hair. Occasionally a hair transplant can be used to improve female frontal scalp density but the challenge is that hair loss in women tends to be diffuse, so hair graft placement is crucial for a good result. 

9. You should avoid hair washing after a hair transplant.

Fact. After a hair transplant, grafts are most susceptible to being disturbed and lost in the first 72 hours. Day 6 is usually when regular showering can resume

10. Having a hair transplant harms the donor area.

Fact… and Fiction. FUE and FUT harvesting both lead to scarring in the donor area – dots or a linear scar, respectively. One way that scars can be minimized is to avoid over-harvesting more than 3000 FUE grafts in any 1 sitting. If more are needed, consider splitting the surgeries into two, one year apart. 

11. Hair transplants are only for the scalp.

Fiction. Most hair transplants target the scalp but that’s not always the case. Transplants to the eyebrow and beard area have become more common, and – depending on the individual case – the pubic area, underarm, chest, and extremities can be hair transplant recipients. 

What about the donor hair? It’s most often harvested from the head, but it can also be taken from the neck, chest, back – even the arms and legs, though those hairs are less reliable.  

12. Hair transplants are always expensive.

Fiction. The hard truth is that prices vary significantly for hair transplants – anywhere between $1,500 to $50,000 USD – and where you are in the world, the specific clinic, surgeon, and your particular case all factor into price. Some clinics charge by the graft, (~2 hairs) some charge by the area, and some use a mixed pricing model. While price is important, remember to factor in safety, quality, and the skill of the surgeon when making a choice.  

 Click Here To Learn More About Prescriptions. 

13. You must go under general anesthesia for a hair transplant. 

Fiction. Some clinics do use general anesthesia but it’s quite rare – there are too many potential risks that come from being under for 6 or more hours (on average what a hair transplant takes). 

Hair transplants are usually performed under local anesthetic paired with oral (Ambien, Valium etc.) or IV sedation as needed to keep the patient most comfortable. 

14. A hairline part can be altered during hair transplant surgery.

Fiction. The ‘part’ is where the directionality of your hair naturally changes, and it’s something we really strive to maintain, not change. Hair exits the skin at a particular angle and if hairs are implanted in the wrong direction, it looks unnatural. Not that I haven’t had patients ask me to remove hairs at the part line and change the direction (hair tends to look most sparse at the part line) but I don’t recommend it.

While it’s true hair can look sparser at the natural part line, altering the direction of hair leads to very unnatural looking results. 

15. Your hair transplant surgeon matters.

Fact. Your hair transplant surgeon has a team to help the surgery go safely and smoothly, but your surgeon is ultimately responsible for the outcome. Hair transplant surgery is a mix of technical skill and artistry, and your surgeon needs both to get you a natural result. 

16. Insurance will not cover a hair transplant surgery.

Fact. And before you ask – yes – this unfortunately holds true for burn and cancer patients. It is exceedingly rare for a hair transplant surgery to be covered by insurance. 

17. I should avoid exercise after a hair transplant.

Fact. We recommend not exercising or sweating for a week post-surgery to reduce the chance of bleeding and graft disruption. After week 1, maybe light exercise, after 2 weeks you can usually get back to normal. The only exception is swimming, which I recommend waiting 3 weeks to resume– along with other sauna-like activities. 

18. There is no significant difference between FUT and FUE hair transplants. 

Fiction. While the implantation process is the same (grafts implanted individually), the harvesting and graft handling process is different. FUT requires a strip of hair to be excised and prepared under a microscope, dissecting individual grafts before implantation. FUE removes individual grafts which can then be directly implanted without the preparation step…unless, we’re making single hair grafts, in which case we’re using a microscope for dissection anyways.  

While hair transplants are an option, always remember that bald is beautiful too. Wear it proud!

Final thoughts

We all have a unique, personal relationship with our hair – it’s integral to our image, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Hair can have a profound effect on how we feel about the reflection that greets us in the mirror. Hopefully, by debunking some common hair transplant myths out there (especially if you’re considering one), I’ve empowered you with knowledge that will let you walk confidently in your choices. 

If you’re considering a hair transplant and want to know if it’s the right choice for you, you can visit our clinic website to find out more about our hair transplant consultations

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Written by
Kristi Charish
Edited by
Dr. Gary Linkov
The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.

 

 

 

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