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How Does a Hair Transplant Work

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      Here at The Treatment Rooms London, we understand better than most how difficult a decision it can be to get a hair transplant. We take pride in providing our patients with as much information prior to making a decision.

      As a dedicated hair transplant clinic, we get asked all sorts of questions about hair transplants — from how the procedure works to what the aftercare and recovery are like. 

      That’s why we have decided to compile this ultimate guide to hair transplants, covering the patient journey, reviews, and basically everything else you need to know to help you feel as well-informed as possible. 

      So, let’s start with the biggest question of the lot.

      What is a hair transplant?

      In simple terms, a hair transplant is a surgical procedure designed to treat hair loss or baldness. 

      It involves extracting hair follicles from a specific donor area, typically the back or sides of your scalp, before implanting them into any areas of the scalp where there is balding or thinning. 

      The transplanted hair follicles then continue to grow in this new location, helping boost your overall hair density and restore a more natural hairline. 

      When undergoing a hair transplant, there are two main types to choose between: 

      • Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) – this minimally invasive technique involves removing hair grafts from the back of the head as individual follicles before gently placing them back into small holes created in areas of thinning or no hair.
      • Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) – this slightly more invasive procedure involves removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head before dissecting it into individual hair follicles to then transplant into any areas of hair loss. 

      Which type of hair transplant is right for you?

      When deciding which type of hair transplant is right for you, there are several things you’ll need to consider. 

      As a first port of call, you should always consult an experienced hair transplant specialist who will be able to address any concerns you might have.

      They will have the experience required to answer any questions you have before you get started, such as: 

      • What is the cause behind your hair loss?
      • What can you expect before, during and after the procedure?
      • Would a surgical or non-surgical treatment be the better option?
      • How do you find a certified clinic and hair transplant surgeon?
      • Will you need additional treatments in the future?

      Finding out the answers to each of these questions will then put you in a much better position to decide which type of hair transplant is right for you: FUE or FUT.

      Do hair transplants hurt?

      Generally speaking, hair transplants are not painful after giving the initial local anaesthesia injections. 

      During the procedure itself, local anaesthetic will be injected into your scalp to prevent you from feeling any discomfort. Certain other techniques may also be used to make you feel more at ease. 

      Here at The Treatment Rooms London, for example, we have a custom-built clinic that can offer temperature control and aromatherapy to help patients feel more relaxed throughout their transplant. 

      After your procedure, any pain you experience will normally be minimal and easily managed by over-the-counter medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen.

      Your surgeon may also prescribe you antibiotics or other types of medication to help reduce the likelihood of infection or post-operative swelling. 

      You can find out more information about this in the video below.

      Are there any side effects?

      As with any type of surgical procedure, there are some risks and side effects involved with having a hair transplant. 

      Some of the more common side effects can include

      • Swelling (normally in the forehead)
      • Bruising
      • Discomfort at the transplant site

      However, each of these side effects is normally temporary and will subside within a few days of the procedure. 

      Infections can also occur in rare instances but are easily avoided by following a proper aftercare routine. 

      Do hair transplants cause scarring?

      While both FUE and FUT techniques can leave scars, most of the time, they won’t be visible to the naked eye. 

      FUE hair transplants tend to leave small scars less than a millimetre in diameter at the donor area which, as your hair grows to a grade 1 or 2, will become unnoticeable. 

      Since FUT hair transplants involve extracting a strip from your scalp, this will result in a more noticeable linear scar on the back of your head. Again, this will naturally fade over time but some people opt to get a medical tattoo or adopt a longer hairstyle to help conceal it. 

      The skills and experience of your surgeon can make a big difference in how extensive your scarring is. Here at The Treatment Rooms London, our surgeons take extra care and caution during the hair follicle extraction process to limit scarring as much as possible. 

      The patient journey: how does a hair transplant work?

      Deciding to go ahead with a hair transplant is a big decision but, for many people, the benefits of looking and feeling better are too good an opportunity to pass up. 

      Once you’ve had your initial consultation and are all booked in for your hair transplant, there will be various stages you will then go through on the day of the procedure itself. Let’s break these down one by one:

      Once you set foot through the doors of the clinic, the lead surgeon and team will be there to welcome you. They will then discuss the procedure with you in more detail, review your suitability for the procedure and go through your consent forms that you’ll need to sign. 


      During your consultation, the surgeon will then review your planned hairline or crown before confirming your surgery and shaving the identified donor or recipient area.

      Hair transplant growth: a timeline

      The success of your hair transplant really comes down to how strictly you follow the aftercare advice. The better you care for your hair, the more natural it will look and the more successful your transplant will be. 

      Generally speaking, here is an overview of what you can expect during the weeks and months following your procedure:

      • Month 1: Close attention will need to be paid to aftercare instructions to help your grafts settle in. During this time, you will need to protect them from external contact and resist the urge to poke or scratch them — even if they’re itchy.
      • Months 2–3: Over the first three months, you may notice some shedding. If this happens, don’t worry — this is totally normal and it is merely a matter of time before your new hair comes through. 
      • Months 3–12: Throughout the course of the first year post-op, your new hair will become more voluminous, showing steady progress towards your desired hairline. 
      • Months 12–18: After a year or so post-op, your results will become a lot more definitive and noticeably observable. 

      How long do hair transplants last?

      The results of a hair transplant can last for many years, with potential permanence up to 15–20 years or more. In some cases, they can even last a lifetime. 

      Depending on how happy you are with your results, this will impact how well you maintain your hair and keep up with any recommended hair loss medications. As such, it’s crucial to have your hair transplant performed by a surgeon at a clinic you can trust.

      How to find a good clinic

      The clinic you choose for your hair transplant can make a big difference to how well it takes and how successful it is over the long term. 

      With this in mind, here are some of the key questions you’ll need to think about when trying to find your ideal clinic. 

      Are they licensed and registered? 

      When choosing a clinic in the UK, make sure it is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and employs surgeons licensed by the General Medical Council (GMC). 

      What experience do they have? 

      Performing a hair transplant procedure is a specialist skill so it’s crucial to choose an experienced surgeon trained in hair loss and transplantation. 

      Where are they based? 

      Be cautious of any black-market or international clinics without proper accreditation. Instead, opt for a UK-based clinic that maintains high standards.

      What are their reviews like? 

      Your clinic should have an online presence so make the most of it by reading the experiences of previous patients on their website and via a quick Google search.

      Book a consultation

      Here at The Treatment Rooms London, our specialist surgeons have helped hundreds of people restore not only their hair but also their mental health. 

      To find out more about our services and how to get started on your hair transplant journey with us, simply get in touch by booking a consultation.

        Make an enquiry online using this form and one of our team will be in touch. By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by our team.

        Authored by

        Hair Transplant Surgeon Dr Roshan Vara

        Dr Roshan Vara

        Full Medical Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS) Associate Member of International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)

        GMC Registered - 7458409

        Reviewed by

        Hair Transplant Surgeon Dr Dilan Fernando

        Dr Dilan Fernando

        Royal College of Surgeons

        Full Medical Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS) Associate Member of International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)

        GMC Registered - 7458157

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