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Do Hair Transplants Work?

Getting a hair transplant can help you regain your confidence and transform your look. To help you decide whether a hair transplant is right for you, we’ve put together this guide that tells you everything you need to know about hair transplants, including the types of procedure available, whether they work and how long they last.

Hair transplant types  

During your procedure, a surgeon will remove hair follicles from one part of your head and move them to an area where the hair is thinning. To do this, they will use one of two techniques: follicular unit extraction (FUE) or follicular unit transplantation (FUT). For an FUT procedure, strips of hair are moved as one cluster, but for an FUE procedure, each follicle is moved individually. Generally speaking, an FUE procedure will be more expensive than an FUT one because it’s more time-consuming and the surgeon requires a greater skill level. There are benefits and downsides to both types of procedure, however. As a result, if you’re considering one of them, it’s vital you do your research. Lots more information about hair transplants is available, and you should read everything you can before you get the procedure to properly understand whether it’s right for you. 

For a successful FUE hair transplant, thorough preparation and diligent aftercare are essential. Before the procedure, consult an experienced surgeon, discontinue blood-thinning medications, maintain hydration and proper nutrition, and refrain from alcohol and quit smoking. Prepare the donor area by trimming hair. After FUE, follow post-op instructions meticulously, avoid strenuous activities, gently wash your hair after a few days, shield your scalp from direct sun exposure, and abstain from smoking and alcohol. Handle scabs gently, take prescribed medications, and elevate your head when sleeping. Be patient as hair growth is gradual, and attend follow-up appointments for monitoring and guidance.

Hair transplant success rates 

Although no large studies list specific hair transplant success rates, a recent study found that FUE patients who used a mixture of body, beard and scalp hair were satisfied with the results, with an average satisfaction score of 8.3/10. However, academics and scientists have not reached widespread agreement on hair transplant success rates. For example, while one study claimed that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy with FUE increases success rates, a separate academic study found that FUT grafts had a higher level of survival rate (85.2%) than FUE grafts (53.9%). However, this has not been repeated in other studies. Although there is no academic consensus on an exact success rate for hair transplants, most agree that the vast majority of people who undergo FUE and FUT hair transplants are happy with the outcome. That said, how successful your procedure will be depends on a range of personal circumstances, such as how many healthy follicles you have, how big of an area you need to cover and the skill of your chosen surgeon. When you meet with your surgeon of choice, they should discuss your chances of success with you before you begin treatment. 

In addition to PRP therapy, platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) treatment promotes hair growth. PRF, derived from the patient's blood, is similar to PRP but differs in preparation and composition. The concept behind using PRF for hair growth mirrors that of PRP therapy. Platelets and growth factors stimulate hair follicles, enhance blood circulation, and promote thicker, healthier hair. PRF treatment offers potential advantages over PRP, such as a more sustained release of growth factors due to its fibrin matrix. However, it's crucial to note that while some evidence suggests PRF's benefits for hair restoration, scientific research remains relatively limited compared to PRP therapy. If you're considering PRF treatment for hair growth or any medical procedure, consult a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your needs.

How long will the procedure last? 

In the vast majority of cases, you should notice that your hair looks much fuller and thicker within days of undertaking your hair transplant. However, hair transplants are semi-permanent solutions, which means that you may require further transplants and ‘top-up procedures’ over time. These procedures usually involve filling in any areas where the follicles haven’t taken correctly or have died and now appear patchy. And the benefits of your procedure should last for several years at least. In addition to this, how long your procedure lasts for may depend on how well you follow your surgeon’s advice. After your procedure, you’ll be given a series of instructions to follow, which usually includes things like avoiding strenuous exercise for a few weeks and not washing your hair for a few days. If you follow these instructions to the letter, you’ll stand the best possible chance of success.

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