Transplants are they worth the risks?

Many clients consider hair transplants to be a safe way to turn back the clock on hair loss. However, there are still numerous challenges associated with hair transplants, and clients should be aware of them.

To be sure, hair transplants have come a long way in recent years, we no longer see the scars and plugs that once were telltale signs that screamed out “Vanity!” Today it is possible to undergo a transplant and have it look perfectly natural once the scalp has healed.

This is not to say that today’s transplants are without risks, and those risks happen more often that one might think. To start with, one must be very certain the chosen surgeon is not only qualified, but also has the artistic talent to harvest and implant the hairs so they look natural. A hairline that is too perfectly straight is almost as unattractive as no hairline at all. Natural hair does not grow in perfect lines with the same density throughout. The hairs must be carefully staggered to create the effect that nature intended.

Additionally, the area that hair should be harvested from is quite small. Hair taken from areas too high on the head are likely to be programmed to fall again. In pattern baldness there are two types of hair on one head. One type is affected by DHT,  which is the primary androgen in the prostate and hair follicles. Over time, DHT causes hairs to miniturize and eventually stop growing. This only happens on the top of the head for most men, but there is no way to know in advance how far the hair loss will extend. Therefore, it is advisable to harvest hair only from the lower back portion of the scalp. If extensive balding needs to be addressed one must also consider how much thinning will occur in the harvested area. It makes little sense to create a full, growing top, only to end up with puny back hair growth. Remember, once the hair follicle is harvested, no hair will grow back in that area.

Green area shows proper harvest area

The skill of the surgeon and the quality of the tools used also can affect the outcome of the transplant. Hair that is harvested must be removed extremely carefully and with very sharp tools because being sloppy at this stage can result in remaining hairs growing in improper directions, causing cysts and other abnormalities in the remaining hair.The photo below shows how cysts can develop if improper techniques are used for harvesting the hair.


This photo shows how scarring can develop over cysts that were created by improper harvesting.

Notice the scaring in the donor area

While these scars are very small, they will show with a short hair cut. In addition, all the above harvesting issues can also occur in the transplant site, making the front hair-line look unnatural. Imagine having these scars throughout the front and top of the head.

Before considering a hair transplant, the following thoughts should be kept in mind:
Transplants are not a cure for someone suffering pattern baldness, no matter the gender. A transplant will not counteract the effect of hair loss in sections that are bald or that have been bald for quite some time.

If there is little hair on the head prior to the transplant, without the inclusion of medication to regrow hair, the hair transplant length may stay the same and not be stimulated to grow any further.