First Time Hair Transplant FAQ
Hair Transplant Checklist: A Must Read For First Time Hair Transplant Patients
Dos & Don'ts in surgical hair transplant procedures
Is Hair Transplant For You ?
Don't Do It !
The media has pretty much brainwashed the public into believing that having a hair transplant is like going to a hair salon. It's NOT. Hair transplant is a surgery and this should not be taken lightly. If you can wait, WAIT. There are many less invasive treatments for hair loss in the pipelines, eg: cell therapy, hair multiplication etc., and restoring your hair will only get less invasive and less traumatic over time. If you think that getting a hair transplant is walking into a hair salon, then don't do it.
Are you too young?
In general, people in their early twenties are too young to have hair transplants done. Most doctors would advise patients against getting a hair transplant until they are at least in their mid or late twenties when their hair loss has somewhat stabilized. Male pattern baldness tend to progress very rapidly when someone is in his twenties. It would be unwise to waste precious donor hair until you can reasonably predict the future progression of your hair loss. If you had hair transplant done at a very young age, you might find yourself in a very awkward situation should your hair loss continues to progress further after the hair transplant surgery.
Your Last Resort
If you have really made up your mind about getting a hair transplant, make sure that this is your last resort and that you have exhausted other options such as topicals, medications, and hair systems already. Visit our hair loss homepage for other alternatives to hair transplant.
Hair Transplant Decision: 70% Psychology and 30% Reality?
Hair transplant decision for first timers: "70% Psychology and 30% Reality." Many made the decision to have a hair transplant because at one point or another they felt compelled to do something about their hair loss otherwise they simply could not move on with their lives. If you are considering hair transplant for the first time, you might be experiencing those feelings too: depression and sense of worthlessness just to name a few. Ask yourself whether hair loss alone is truly the cause of your emotions. Could it be something else in your life that contribute to the way you feel about yourself? Are you reasonably sure that a hair transplant will solve all your personal issues and conflicts.
Minimum of 6-9 Months Research
As a general rule, you should spend at least 6-9 months actively talking to as many hair transplant patients and doctors as possible before you make a decision. There is a lot to be learned about hair transplant so please do not rush into any decisions until you feel reasonably sure that this is an appropriate option for you. A good way to start your research is to ask as many questions as possible in the hair transplant forum. There are many veterans hair transplant veterans who will be happy to answer your questions. They are regular consumers like you and are not paid by any hair transplant clinics or doctors.
Try to familiarize yourself with the Norwood scale. Members and doctors in our hair transplant forum frequently refer to the Norwood scale when answering questions. This is a commonly used classification for male pattern baldness.
For women, the Ludwig scale is normally used to classify the extent of one's hair loss.
Online Research - Recommended List
If you are reading this website, you are probably reading other online resources for hair transplant too. You will very likely come across so called "Recommended List" of hair transplant doctors every now and then from other websites. Please be very careful with those "recommended" list as some of them are nothing but paid advertising for hair transplant doctors. Ask for full disclosure as to which doctor is a paid advertiser and which is a genuine recommendation. You will be surprised.
Online Research - Hypocrisy
Do not get hair transplant advice from people who have NEVER had hair transplant done, especially when they are suggesting or encouraging you to get a strip transplant. This is the ultimate hypocrisy in the industry. Ask questions in the hair transplant forum where you can discuss anything with veteran hair transplant patients. Our forum has numerous members who have gone through both strip surgery and the new, minimally invasive FUE technique (read below for details) and they will tell you the truth about both techniques and what to avoid. People who suggest, advice or encourage others to get a strip surgery should be asked to get one done themselves before they open their mouths.
Research - Open House, Seminars
Many hair transplant clinics organize open house and seminars on a regular basis. Try to make it to these events. This is a great opportunity to meet other hair transplant patients in your area and you can see their results in person. Among the most successful seminars we have ever witnessed is the one organized by Dr. Campbell and Dr. Woods in New York City. Click here for details. For a complete list of upcoming events and seminars,
click hair restoration news & events button on this page.
Hair Transplant Victims
Discussing with hair transplant victims should be an integral part of your decision making process. Read about hair transplant victims stories and view their pictures before you make a decision. This will put things in perspectives for you and will keep your expectations in check. There are plenty of hair transplant victims in our hair transplant forum and they will be happy to share with you their experiences and pictures. Some of the veterans are DJ, Timetested, and Carlos and they all have pictures to share.
In general, it is not a good idea to look for bargains when it comes to surgical procedures. However, expensive procedure does not necessarily mean that you get the best quality too. It may be hard, but try not to base your decision on price alone. Talking to existing hair transplant patients and seeing their results is more important than being able to find a cheap hair transplant.
Consultation With the Doctor
Make sure you have at least one consultation with the doctor who will be performing the surgery on you. If you only have a consultation with the sales consultant and not the doctor prior to your surgery, cancel the procedure immediately.
Full Disclosure From Hair Transplant Doctor re: FUE
Your hair transplant doctor MUST inform you that there is now a less invasive, less traumatic, scalpel free, strip free transplant available in addition to the traditional hair transplant that leaves all patients a linear scar in the back of their heads. The new technique is sometimes referred to as Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE. Your doctor MUST inform you the pros and cons of the traditional strip transplant vs the latest FUE technique. With FUE, doctors nowadays can even use your body hair (eg: chest hair) as donor and transplant that to the balding areas on your scalp.
Full Disclosure From Hair Transplant Doctor re: Complications
Your hair transplant doctor MUST inform you possible complications associated with the surgery, two of complications that he should most definitely mention are shock fallout and swelling, If you are getting a traditional strip transplant, your doctor must inform you that you will be left with a linear scar in the back of your head and you may not be able to buzz cut your hair or shave your head without exposing an unsightly linear scar. Also, the doctor must inform you that the linear scar may stretch over time. Check our or hair transplant forum and discuss with those whose linear scar has stretched over time.
FUE vs Traditional Strip Transplant
Familiarize yourself the difference between strip free, scalp free FUE transplant vs traditional procedures. This is VERY IMPORTANT. Read the following references and ask as many questions as you can in our hair transplant forum if you do not know what FUE is.
Illustration of difference between FUE vs Traditional Strip technique by Dr. Gho:
Traditional Strip Surgery
The donor area is closed using stitches or staples which cause further trauma to the donor site. Return visits are required for suture removal. Patients will be left with a linear scar.
FUE technique, donor site:
High magnification of the donor area immediately after the donor hairs extraction. The small wounds which remain do not require stitching and leave no visible scars. Donor site heals faster.
Another article worth reading is Poet's FUE Hair Transplant FAQ (contact us with this archive URL /hairsite/fue-hair-transplant-faq.htm so that we can retrieve the contents for you). as well as the FUE vs STRIP comparison compiled by Dr. Ray Woods (contact us with this archive URL hairsite8.com/woods/procedure2.htm so that we can retrieve the contents for you). Click FUE hair transplant for more in-depth discussion on the topic.
Please also read Dr. Cole's comments about FUE vs Strip Surgery:
"Strip surgery is becoming more and more obsolete. strip surgery destroys the natural geometry of the donor region by obliterating the natural linear arrangement of follicular groups along the consecutive spirals. This is equivalent to ripping the center out of the Mona Lisa and expecting to see the same painting. Follicular extraction (or FUE) on the other hand removes isolated spots from the Mona Lisa. the overall picture remains the same." - Dr. Cole
Not All FUE Are Created Equal
Dr. Ray Woods in Australia are the pioneers when it comes to Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE. His technique is widely recognized as the "GOLD STANDARD" for FUE in the world. Because of the apparent advantage of FUE over traditional strip surgery, many doctors have expressed interest in offering FUE to their patients. However, note that FUE is a totally new phenomenon in the hair transplant industry and many doctors are still trying to learn or perfect this technique on their own. It is no exaggeration that not all FUEs are created equal and the technique is constantly evolving over time and can vary significantly from doctor to doctor. Patients are advised to research very thoroughly the difference among all FUE techniques in the world before they make a decision. The best way to research about the various techniques is to ask questions in our hair transplant forum.
Donor Hair & Body Hair Transplantation - Another advantage of FUE.
Hair transplant is a viable option for hair loss ONLY when the patient has sufficient donor hair. In most cases, the patient's donor hair comes from the back of his head as studies have shown that those hair are less prone to falling out in the long term. People who have insufficient donor hair in the back of their scalp can now have another option - body hair transplantation. This is another advantage of FUE over traditional strip surgery. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Woods were the first to prove that body hair can take on the characteristics of scalp hair when transplanted to the scalp. As of now, they are world's leading experts when it comes to body hair transplantation. This is a new breakthrough in hair transplantation as patients with limited donor hair from their scalp can now tap into their body hair for additional donor hair supply. This new technique is officially documented in the British Journal of Plastic Surgery. Click here for more details.
Post Op - infection
Post op instructions seem to vary from doctor to doctor. In general, post op instructions for FUE patients are less restrictive as the procedure is less invasive and less traumatic to the donor site. FUE patients can heal a lot faster than those who had strip transplant done. The most important post op care is to be very careful not to get the donor site and the recipient site infected after the surgery. Try not to go to the barber for at least 4 weeks. It is easy to get an infection when your barber's equipment are not properly sterilized every day. This happens more often than you can imagine. Infection can be in the form of tiny red pimples like substances on your scalp. If infection does occur after you have finished your course of oral anti-biotics, you can go to your doctor for a topical anti-biotic. Also, having your surgery in the summer months also make it more difficult to maintain your scalp clean cause we tend to sweat more profusely in the summer.
Post Op - Scabs
You will be left with numerous scabs all over your recipient site immediately after the surgery. This is normal. In most cases, they will fall out automatically in about 2-3 weeks. Try not to rub them or touch the recipient site excessively. If your fingers are not clean, they can easily infect the recipient site.
Post Op - Shedding Of The Transplanted Grafts
It is very common for the transplanted grafts to fallout out together with the scabs. Don't panic. This is normal. After the transplanted grafts fall out from the recipient site, the follicles will go through a resting period of anywhere from 3-9 months before they regrow. For FUE patients, it is not uncommon for the transplanted grafts to continue to grow immediately after the surgery. But for strip procedure, the grafts are more likely to shed before they regrow.
Post Op - The Waiting Game
Don't think that you will have a new head of hair once you have the surgery completed. In most cases, you are not likely to see the full results of the surgery until about 1 year after the surgery. If you are thinking about getting a hair transplant so that you can look good for your class reunion 3 months from now, forget about it. Get a non-surgical hair system instead.
What Else To Consider?
One Is Rarely Enough
In most cases, one session of hair transplant is rarely enough. So be prepared that you may have to commit to two or more sessions over time once you have taken the plunge. This is especially true if you have be scarred or victimized by a bad hair transplant job the very first time. Mark my words, hair transplant can be addictive.
Still not clear?
Fill out the inquiry form on this page with your questions and we will assist you further. We can even set up free no obligation consultations for you with many clinics and doctors worldwide.