For some people, surgical hair restoration can prove to be an effective means to enjoy a full set of hair after having experienced significant hair loss. In fact, most patients report high ratings of satisfaction after having undergone a hair transplant. Hair transplants are generally completely painless, as they are performed under local anaesthesia to numb the scalp. They are also usually performed in a doctor’s office and consist of removing a narrow strip of the scalp-that includes healthy hair and normal hair follicles-and transplanting it to bald spot areas. To do so, the hair-bearing scalp section that is extracted is divided into 500 to 2,000 grafts; each of which contains either a single hair or a few pieces of hair. The type of graft, as well as the number of grafts that the doctor uses/creates will depend on the number and size of the bald areas that need to be covered, as well as hair color and hair type.
Generally speaking, a patient can expect to spend between 4 to 8 hours having the procedure done. Some patients may choose to return for additional work, either because they have experienced subsequent hair loss, post-op, or because they wish to have even thicker hair. In terms of post-operative recovery, patients will be prescribed pain medication, and the scalp will be tender for a few days after the surgery. Patients will also be asked to wear a surgical dressing over the scalp for a few days, and anti-inflammatory drugs and/or antibiotics may be prescribed in some cases to help reduce the risk of infection. Fortunately, most patients are able to return to work after 2 to 5 days. It is also important to note that the transplanted hair will fall out after 2 to 3 weeks, with new hair growth being noticeable after a few months. Some patients may also be prescribed minoxidil (Rogaine) after surgery to help stimulate hair growth, albeit its effectiveness is still under review. In terms of costs, hair transplants are rarely covered by insurance, and tend to cost between $4,000 to $15,000, depending on the extent and complexity of the procedure.