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What's It Like: To get a hair transplant

When someone experiences hair loss, he or she might suffer from decreased self esteem. A hair transplant can potentially help increase self confidence.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: September 2, 2012

The doctor will create small puncture sites where the hair grafts will be placed. The goal is for the grafts to be placed in a pattern that will mimic your natural hairline.

The transplanted hair will likely fall out, but the follicles that were transplanted will stay. You should see results in a few months. About a year after your transplant, you should see significant results.

On average, hair transplant recipients receive about 1,500 grafts, which factors out to between 3,500 and 4,000 follicles. The surgery will take about four hours.

Does it hurt?

During the procedure, you should only feel slight, if any, pain. Pain will vary from patient to patient and depending on which hair transplant procedure you choose.

After the procedure, the area where the hair was taken will probably be sore for a few days.

What are the risk factors?

With any surgery, there's a risk of bleeding and infection.

Patients who undergo a hair transplant also run the risk of scarring and unnatural looking hair growth. Your risk of side effects is lowered if you are not a smoker and are in good health.

You might experience oozing from the graft sites, but that should disappear within a few days.

What's the recovery time?

Your recovery time will depend on how many grafts you receive and how much hair loss you had to begin with.

If you had significant hair loss, your hair transplant might be less conspicuous than someone who has more hair to hide the redness from the transplant.

The sutures that were placed in the hair transplant site will likely be taken out within 10 days of your surgery.

What's the follow-up?

Whether you need another hair transplant is up to you. Some people might want to have another. This decision will depend on your hair loss, the amount of hair you have to transplant and how much you would like to spend on the procedure.

Sources: Oklahoma City plastic surgeon Dr. Tim Love, National Institutes of Health, The Mayo Clinic.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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