Everything You Need to Know About Hair Transplants and Restoration [Guide]
Throughout our website we provide information regarding every aspect of the hair transplant process. From what to expect during your consultation and what questions to ask, all the way through the recovery process and how long until you see the results of your surgery. But we realize that it may not always be easy to find that information that you’re looking for, regardless of how well the content is organized.
And it’s because of this that we wanted to put together this guide that will tell you everything you need to know about hair transplants from what to look for when doing your research all the way through the final surgery and recovery.
We want to ensure that you have all the information you need in order to make an educated and informed decision about receiving a hair transplant procedure. We pride ourselves on making sure our patients know exactly what to expect from this procedure so that there are no surprises when it comes to the end results or the surgery itself.
So let’s take a look at all aspects of the hair transplant procedure process, and everything you should know before making a decision.
Before the Procedure
Are You a Good Candidate for a Hair Transplant?
The first thing that you want to keep in mind is that not everyone is a good candidate for a transplant. Sometimes the pattern of the baldness or your age will determine whether or not hair transplant surgery is the right option for you.
If you’re young, (under 30), and you notice that your hair is starting to thin out, it might be best to wait on an actual transplant and instead work with your doctor to determine if medical treatments would be a better option. It’s not that the hair transplant procedure can’t be done, but because you are so young, your balding pattern may not be apparent quite yet. If a transplant is performed early, you may discover that you are destined to lose a lot more hair through your lifetime and could end up with an undesirable or unnatural look. Waiting until you’re a little older and the balding pattern is more evident is usually a good choice.
Similarly to that, if you’re losing quite a bit of hair on your head, and you feel that you may end up going almost completely bald, then a hair transplant probably isn’t the right option either, especially if you think you might just shave your head completely in the future.
A hair transplant procedure, regardless of the technique (FUE or FUT), will leave some scarring that will be hidden by your existing hair. But if you shave your head because you notice your hair getting too thin in the future, those scars will be exposed.
If you are considering a hair transplant, it’s important to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure itself. Talking with a hair transplant specialist is a great way to better determine if a transplant is the right option for you.
Do Some Basic Research on Your Transplant Specialist
Before you even set foot into an office for a consultation, you should know a little bit about your physician and their background.
This isn’t to say you need to do a full background check before you setup an appointment, but with the increasing technology moving into the hair transplant space, it’s best to know who will be performing the procedure and what sort of training/education they have in the hair transplant space. For starters, there must be a qualified doctor involved!
This might seem like a given, however, there are a lot of new technologies emerging to help assist doctors with the hair transplant procedure, which means some people think that the actual surgery is easy and can be performed by anyone. This has led to various types of doctors or sometimes non-physicians being able to purchase these machines and begin advertising hair transplant services. But would you really want a gynecologist or a cardiologist performing a hair transplant? Probably not.
When it comes to hair transplant surgeries, dermatologists and plastic surgeons/ENT plastics, are the primary hair restoration experts. Beyond their specialty, they still need further training in hair restoration. This is an extra-small niche of medicine that is not covered to a great extent in any residency program. Physicians who specialize in Hair Restoration have been properly trained in these types of procedures and have usually been performing them for many years. The changing technology including robotic assisted techniques that are available now have a long learning curve, meaning it takes a months to years to perfect their technique. You should not trust your hair to someone who does hair part time or is very new to the industry, only to someone who fully understands hair loss and all the medical and surgical interventions to treat it.
In our office, our doctor, Dr. Jennifer Krejci, is a board-certified dermatologist who has been performing hair transplants full time for many years now and implemented the ARTAS System to help with the hair transplant procedures five years ago. This robot helps reduce fatigue during a lengthy FUE procedures. She is in complete control of the robot the entire time, and it is only used to make the procedure more efficient, it is not an automated device.
Research into your hair transplant specialist is the best way to ensure that you are getting the best care possible. And here at the Limmer Hair Transplant Center in San Antonio, we offer virtual consultations if you are not in the San Antonio area. So if you’re unsure about what your current doctor is telling you, we can always provide a second opinion.
How Much Will The Hair Transplant Cost?
The cost of a hair transplant will vary depending on where you get the procedure done; there is no set standard price for the surgery. That being said, here at The Limmer Hair Transplant Center, we like to be as transparent about the process as possible, which is why we’ve made all of our pricing available right on our website.
In general, hair transplant surgeries are priced based on the number of grafts required to adequately rebuild the thinning areas of the scalp. This can range from 500 grafts all the way up to 3000 if necessary. In our practice, for traditional hair transplants, we offer 3 levels of pricing based on the number of grafts you require. The more grafts you need to complete the procedure, the lower price per graft it will cost.
You can expect to spend anywhere between $3000 and $11,000 for a hair transplant depending on how many grafts you require.
There are also different pricing structures if you are looking to get a facial hair transplant of the eyebrows, mustache/beard area.
The Hair Transplant Procedure
There are two main types of hair transplant methods that are currently being used by doctors these days, our office included. The first of which is the FUT method, or Follicular Unit Transplant (or strip method). This method requires a strip of donor hair to be removed from the back of the head which will then be dissected into the individual hair follicles for transplantation. Once the strip of hair is surgically removed, the scalp is stitched up and will be covered by existing hair.
The FUT method is less expensive of the two options. It will leave a thin linear scar in the donor area, it does not require you to shave your head but will be tender for several days after surgery.
The donor hair will be implanted into the thinning areas using the same method for both the FUT and the FUE methods, it’s only the excision of the donor hair that constitutes a difference in the methods.
FUE Method (Robot Assisted)
At our office we utilize the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant System to assist with the excision of the donor hair from the scalp when performing the FUE, or Follicular Unit Excision, method. The use of the ARTAS Robot, helps prevent fatigue in the doctor and allows for precise and guided excision. The doctor is always in control of the robot, though, it is merely there as an assistant.
As for the difference between FUE and FUT, the FUE method utilizes very small circular “punches” in the scalp to remove the donor hair follicles, rather than a surgically removed strip. By removing the donor hair this way, there are no sutures required, and the “punches” that are used to remove the donor hair only leave small dot scars that are easily concealed with short hair styles.
Because there is no sutures, the pain and discomfort after the procedure is minimal, similar to a sunburn. The 2 main downsides to this method are that the donor area must be shaved in order to perform this procedure and it is more expensive.
Overall, both methods of hair transplant are great options, that will both yield incredible results, but you should speak with your doctor to determine which method they feel would best benefit you and your hairstyle preference.
Non-Surgical Hair Growth Treatment Methods
In addition to the surgical options available for people with thinning hair, there are also a number of non-surgical hair growth options. These methods do not require surgery, incisions, or any major discomfort and in most cases be done in the comfort of your own home.
Medicinal Hair Loss Treatment
Minoxidil (commonly known as Rogaine), Finasteride (Brand name Propecia), Dutasteride, Biotin, Nutrafol, Spironolactone and Zinc or Ketoconazole Shampoos are all examples of widely used topical treatments for hair loss.
At The Limmer Hair Transplant Center, we offer all of these options to our patients, in addition to our surgical procedures. As we said before, not all people are good candidates for hair transplant surgery, but you may still get great results with one of these non-surgical options.
These treatments are usually necessary for longer periods of time in order to start seeing results. It takes between 3-6 months of consistent use before the patient notices any significant change in their hair growth. A hair transplant also requires at least 6 months before you see the new growth so there are no quick-fixes in hair restoration.
In addition to being used for patients who might not yet qualify (or never qualify) for a hair transplant procedure, often these medical options are equally recommended for patients undergoing a hair transplant to ensure that the native hair (non-transplanted hair) continues to grow and to minimize further loss and thinning.
Talk with our incredible team to see if a non-surgical medical hair restoration treatment might be best for you.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
PRP Therapy is another non-surgical option that we offer as a way to help promote hair growth. Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is a process in which PRP is created from the patients’ own blood and then re-injected into the scalp to encourage healthier and stronger hair growth.
PRP therapy is being used in many different aspects of medicine from wound care to orthopedics but has shown promise for patients experiencing hair loss.
Since this is a non-surgical procedure, it only requires a needle stick to draw the blood, like you would for lab work and the injections consist of about 25 injections into the thinning areas on the scalp with a very small needle. Most people tolerate it very well with no major discomfort or downtime. You can go about your normal day as soon as you leave the office. There is no sedation or medication involved during the recovery process, so it is a great option to augment your medical or surgical hair treatments.
Low-Level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT)
In addition to medicinal and injectable hair loss treatments, there are also laser light treatments that are completely non-invasive. No needles, no medication, no nothing, just a helmet with some special lasers on it.
There are many different LLLT helmets on the market right now, but here at Limmer Hair Transplant Center, we use Theradome. The Theradome helmet is one of the safest and most effective hair loss treatments available.
LLLT helmets work by penetrating your scalp with a specific wavelength of light that is absorbed into the skin to precise level of the stem cells that stimulate your hair follicles. By triggering enhanced cellular activity laser light makes aging cells more active, which in-turn can help stimulate hair growth.
This option is great for someone who does not want to worry about possible side effects from medication, or the minor discomfort that may come from PRP Therapy. The Theradome helmet is cordless and rechargeable and is worn for 20-minutes, 2-3 times a week, and can easily be worn while sitting on the couch watching TV.
Hair Transplant Recovery and Maintenance
Once the hair transplant surgery has been completed, depending on which method you decided to go with (FUE or FUT), the recovery process and time frame may be a little different. In general, there will be discomfort for a few days that can be managed with Acetominophen (Tylenol) or other prescription pain medications provided by Dr. Krejci. This discomfort may last a little longer if you received the FUT method, due to the way that the donor hair is excised from the scalp.
We highly recommend planning to relax for about 3 days after the procedure, just to ensure that the pain is manageable, and you don’t develop any unnecessary swelling from overexerting yourself too soon.
Remember, this is a surgical procedure. Even though it is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, it is still surgery, and you should listen to your doctor’s instructions when it comes to recovery so that you avoid any complications that could arise.
If you’re worried about people noticing that you had a hair transplant, we suggest that you allow at least a full week of recovery before you go back to your normal routine. However, please refrain from swimming or other water submersion, and all intense sports including golf and tennis for at least 10-14 days after the procedure.
Once you have fully recovered from the hair transplant surgery, your doctor may recommend a continued medication plan, like biotin or minoxidil, to help promote growth of your hair and ensure that you achieve the fullness that you desire.
Regardless of the method of harvesting, with FUT or FUE, once hair follicles are removed from an area they will never grow there again. Unfortunately hair loss is a relentless process so it’s important to continue to promote hair growth in both the recipient and donor areas throughout your life.
How Long Until I See Results from My Hair Restoration Treatment?
When it comes to an actual hair transplant surgery, seeing the results will vary slightly from person to person. Nearly all patients can expect to begin to see results in about 4-6 months, but it could take longer than that. Also take note, that after a transplant procedure, the hair that was transplanted usually falls out, which is completely normal. The bulb of the follicle will still remain and after a dormant period will begin to grow new hair, which is why it takes a few months to start to see your new hair come in.
In regards to medications and seeing results from minoxidil, Nutrafol, or one of the other medical treatments, those can also take up to six months to start seeing results. While the medication begins working as soon as it is applied, you won’t notice any changes right away because it simply takes time for the hair to change starting at the bulb as the follicle grows and emerges through the follicular ostia (opening) on the scalp to finally be visible to the naked eye. Remember, hair only grows about 1/3 inch (1 cm) per month and this growth starts below the skin so give it time.
Since you will not see new or improved hair growth immediately from these treatments, it’s extremely important that you continue using them unless you have experienced side effects, in which case you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss alternative treatments.
Further Questions or Concerns
If you’re considering a hair transplant, or hair growth treatments, but still aren’t 100% sure, please feel free to contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any basic questions that might help you make your decision a little easier. We can also help you setup a consultation or a Photo Consultation for those of you that may be visiting from out of town.
At The Limmer Hair Transplant Center in San Antonio, we pride ourselves in making sure that our patients know exactly what they are getting when it comes to hair transplant surgery and hair loss treatments.