Hair transplantation is an important part of modern plastic surgery and the popularity of procedures in this field is steadily increasing. This surgical procedure, in which hair follicles are removed from one area of the head and transplanted into areas where hair is thinning or completely lost, dates back to the 1950s. Dr. Okuda, a Japanese dermatologist known as the pioneer of modern hair transplantation, took the first steps in this field in 1939 by using scalp grafts to cover scars.
The hair transplant procedure may vary depending on the technique and application. The duration of the procedure depends on the number of hair follicles to be transplanted, the experience of the clinic and the specialist, the width of the area to be transplanted and the technique used. While a few hours may be enough for a small area, the whole head hair transplantation process may take 6-8 hours. The permanence of the procedure is directly related to the right technique and the choice of an experienced specialist. Hair from the back of the head is more durable and grows like normal hair where it is transplanted.
Hair Transplantation Techniques
Comfort for the patient is essential during hair transplantation. During this procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, the patient does not feel pain. However, a short-term discomfort may be felt while the anesthetic drug is injected. This discomfort can be controlled with painkillers after the procedure. After hair transplantation, which is usually performed as an outpatient treatment, most patients can return home the same day. However, it is essential to follow the doctor’s recommendations and rest for a certain period of time.
Although hair transplantation offers a permanent solution to treat hair loss for many people, it is necessary to be careful when characterizing this procedure as a “definitive solution”. Because whether the result meets expectations depends on variables such as the causes of hair loss. It is also important to determine the most suitable age for the success of the procedure. Generally, after the age of 25-30 is considered a more suitable period for hair transplantation. However, there is also a risk of failure in this procedure due to reasons such as using the wrong technique or choosing an inexperienced specialist.
What is a Graft?
A graft refers to a piece of skin containing one or more hair follicles. These follicles enable hair regrowth and are carefully transported during the transplantation process.
We know that there are approximately 100,000 to 150,000 hair strands on a person’s head. Interestingly, each graft usually contains between 1 and 4 hairs. This information reveals that, on average, there are about 25,000 to 40,000 grafts on a person’s head. However, this value may vary depending on the person’s genetic makeup, hair density and hair characteristics.
Another frequently asked question is how many grafts should be added to sparse hair during hair transplantation. This may vary depending on the degree of sparseness, the size of the area to be transplanted, the patient’s hair density and expectations. For example, while hundreds of grafts may be sufficient for mild sparseness, this number may increase to thousands in dense sparseness or large areas.
Especially the crown area is one of the most challenging areas in hair transplantation. Usually between 1,000 and 3,000 grafts are added when transplanting to the crown area. However, this value may vary according to personal needs and the degree of sparseness. As a result, the graft is of great importance in the hair transplantation process and it is essential to adopt a customized approach to the patient’s needs in this process.
Hair Transplant Sessions
The number of hair transplant sessions depends on the graft (hair follicle) capacity of the donor area (usually the nape of the neck) and the person’s need for hair transplantation. Since there is no general rule or limitation for hair transplantation, theoretically, a person can undergo more than one hair transplant session as long as there are enough hair follicles in the donor area.
In practice, it may be possible to have up to 3-4 hair transplantation sessions.
Before Hair Transplant
First of all, it is important to choose an experienced and reputable hair transplant specialist. It is necessary to stop drinking alcohol, smoking and certain medications a few weeks before the hair transplant. Alcohol impairs blood circulation and this makes it difficult for the hair follicles and new hair to grow, making it difficult for the blood to freeze, which can cause more bleeding during and after the operation.
The hair transplant procedure is generally as follows:
- Consultation and Evaluation: First, patients have a consultation with a hair transplant specialist. The specialist evaluates the degree of hair loss, hair type and general health of the patient.
- Planning: The doctor and the patient reach a common understanding about the expected results and the technique to be used. In addition, the areas where the hair follicles to be transplanted will be harvested and placed are determined.
- Preparation: On the day of the hair transplant, the patient’s hair is clipped and the procedure area is cleaned with antiseptics.
- Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is applied to the donor and recipient areas so that the patient does not feel any pain during the procedure.
- Follicle Extraction: Hair follicles are carefully removed from the donor area (usually the back of the head). Different techniques can be used, such as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).
- Follicle Preparation: The extracted hair follicles are prepared for transplantation and divided into groups.
- Follicle Placement: The prepared hair follicles are carefully placed into tiny incisions or channels in the recipient area.
- Closure and Cleaning: After all follicles have been placed, the procedure areas are cleaned and bandaged if necessary.
- Recovery and Follow-up: The patient follows the doctor’s instructions and attends scheduled follow-up appointments. The healing process may take several months and new hair growth is usually visible after 6-12 months.
After Hair Transplant
1 Month Later
The hair washing routine tends to return to normal 1 month after a hair transplant, but it is still important to be gentle.Wash your hair with lukewarm water. Be gentle on the scalp and hair and avoid scrubbing. Lather your hair lightly and then rinse.
Usually 100% of all grafts (transplanted hair follicles) grow within 1 month after hair transplantation. However, a process called “shock shedding” begins during this period. In this process, most of the transplanted hair temporarily falls out.
After this loss, hair follicles start to produce hair again within 2-4 months on average. By the 6th month, most of the transplanted hair grows and the hair is expected to reach its full density by the 12th month.
4-5 Months Later
After 4-5 months, the hair washing routine is almost normalized. Wash the hair gently; avoid rough movements.
During this period, 50-60% of the transplanted hair follicles may have grown.
However, this rate may vary from person to person and depending on the hair transplantation technique applied. In general, it is normal that not all of the hair has grown at the end of 4-5 months. While new hair continues to grow, the hair that grows during this period may initially be thinner and textured, but will thicken over time.
After 6 Months
Within 6 months after hair transplantation, usually 50% to 70% of the transplanted hair grows. However, it is usually necessary to wait up to 9-12 months to see full and permanent results.
1 Year Later
After 1 year after hair transplantation, your hair has largely settled and the roots have strengthened. Hair washing can be close to your normal hair washing routine.
In general, at the end of 1 year, about 80% to 100% of the transplanted hair will grow. That is, hair growth is expected from almost all of the transplanted follicles.
However, this rate may vary from person to person depending on the technique applied, the general health condition of the patient, the blood circulation of the transplanted area and many other factors.
There is usually no need for hospitalization after hair transplantation. Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure usually performed under local anesthesia and patients can return home the same day after the procedure.
After hair transplantation, crusting and redness may occur in the transplanted area. These scabs usually start to fall off between the 7th and 10th days after the transplantation. However, this period may vary depending on the person and the techniques applied. In order for the scabs to fall off naturally, it is important that you do not force them and follow the doctor’s care instructions.
Many people can return to normal daily activities after resting for 3-4 days after hair transplantation.
It is recommended to keep your head elevated for the first 24-48 hours after the procedure and keep your head in an upright position when lying down. This can help reduce swelling and edema formation.
Alcohol consumption should be avoided for the first few days, as alcohol can affect blood circulation and slow down the healing process. Likewise, the consumption of caffeinated drinks should be limited, as caffeine can increase blood pressure and slow down the reduction of edema. Spicy foods should also be limited for similar reasons. One of the most important aspects is smoking; smoking can reduce blood circulation and negatively affect the development of new hair follicles.
Do not use cutting tools for the first 10-15 days after hair transplantation. After 2-3 weeks, you can shave lightly with the doctor’s permission, but do not put pressure. The area where the hair is removed heals in 1 week, so shaving here is not a problem.
The first few days after hair transplantation are very critical to prevent damage to the transplanted hair follicles. During this critical period, it is essential not to put direct pressure on the transplanted area.
For this reason, you should definitely sleep on your back the first night. In fact, it is often recommended to sleep on your back for the first 7-10 days after hair transplantation. This is recommended to prevent damage to the transplanted hair follicles and to prevent edema formation.
Especially during this period, lying on your stomach can irritate or dislocate the transplanted follicles. It is also advisable to use a pillow on your neck for the first 3-7 days, although some clinics indicate that this period may be longer. This allows your head to be slightly elevated, thus helping to reduce edema at the transplant site.
Wearing a hat
It is recommended not to wear a hat for the first few days after hair transplantation to prevent damage to the transplanted hair follicles. If you have to wear a hat, a loose and soft hat that does not put pressure on your head should be preferred.
Considering the sensitivity of the hair transplantation area, it is recommended not to wash your hair or take a shower for the first 2-3 days after hair transplantation.
At the same time, during this period, care should be taken to avoid direct contact of the transplantation area with water and especially to avoid direct water jet to the transplantation area.
The first shower is usually done around the 3rd or 4th day. During washing, you should move slowly and carefully and use a special shampoo. The first washes should be particularly gentle, avoiding scrubbing or rough movements. This care routine continues for the first few weeks, usually washing once a day.
Care After Hair Transplantation
Finally, it is useful to pay attention to some recommendations for fast and healthy hair growth. It is important to keep the scalp clean and moisturized, to have a balanced diet and to take nutrients that are important for hair such as protein, iron, zinc, omega-3 and B vitamins. Reducing stress, getting enough sleep and avoiding alcohol will support healthy hair growth.
Hair Transplantation and PRP
Generally, 1-3 sessions of PRP application is recommended to support post-transplant healing. During the initial application period, treatment is performed for 3-4 months with one session every month. After this initial period, repeat sessions may be recommended once a year or every 6 months.
However, it should not be forgotten that PRP treatment cannot restore lost hair; it can only strengthen existing hair follicles and improve hair quality. Although there is no age limit for this treatment, the effects of hormonal changes during puberty in young individuals and the potential causes of hair loss in the elderly should be taken into consideration.
Hair Transplantation and Mesotherapy
Mesotherapy is a method of delivering nutrients through tiny injections under the skin. In hair mesotherapy, vitamins, minerals and amino acids are injected under the skin to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth.
After hair transplantation, mesotherapy is recommended for faster recovery and healthy hair growth. Mesotherapy is applied to the transplanted area several times at certain times. This helps the hair to settle and grow better. Mesotherapy reduces hair loss, improves hair quality and balances hair loss.
If performed before hair transplantation, it improves the results of the transplantation by making the transplantation area more ready.
Risks and Side Effects
Hair transplantation is not recommended in cases where there is not enough and high quality donor hair. In addition, people whose hair loss is still active and whose cause cannot be determined are usually not transplanted. In addition, hair transplantation may not be suitable for individuals with certain skin diseases, systemic diseases or bleeding disorders.
Risks of hair transplantation include;
- Mild bleeding
- Reactions due to anesthesia
- Unnatural or temporary loss of transplanted hair (shock hair loss)
- Cyst formation
- Itching after transplantation
- Temporary swelling in the forehead and face area
- Loss of sensitivity in the transplantation area
These risks can be minimized by performing the procedure under appropriate conditions by a specialized team.
Side effects of hair transplantation include;
- Temporary hair loss after transplantation
- Swelling and bruising in the transplant area
- Mild pain in the transplanted or donor area
- Decreased sensitivity and rarely scarring or cyst formation
These side effects are usually temporary and with the right care and monitoring, they diminish or disappear completely over time.
Hair Transplant Alternatives
- Medication Treatment: Apart from hair transplantation, topical products can be used to deal with hair loss. Medications such as Minoxidil can help slow hair loss and in some cases stimulate new hair growth. Oral medications such as finasteride are also used to prevent hair loss.
- Prosthetic hair: This method is to attach artificial hair that mimics the appearance of natural hair to the scalp or existing hair.
- Laser treatment: Another method that has the potential to slow hair loss and stimulate hair growth by stimulating the hair follicles.
When choosing between prosthetic hair and hair transplantation, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Prosthetic hair can be a good option for those who want instant results. However, it requires maintenance and can be costly in the long run.
Hair transplantation, on the other hand, offers a more permanent solution, but requires a healing process and the results are not immediate. Which method is preferred depends on the individual’s needs, expectations and budget.
The Best Season for Hair Transplantation
The best season for hair transplantation
The best time for hair transplantation is the fall and winter season. It is easier to be protected from the sun during these months. Cold weather makes healing easier.
But you can have a hair transplant any month of the year. After the transplant, you should take good care of your hair and protect it from the sun. If you have a hair transplant in summer, you should stay away from direct sunlight. In fact, there is no special time when hair transplantation should not be done. It depends on when the person wants it.
Who is Not a Suitable Candidate for Hair Transplantation?
It is not suitable for individuals who do not have enough healthy hair for hair transplantation.
Likewise, hair transplantation is not recommended for people with ongoing hair loss. Some types of hair loss, especially scarring hair loss, may not be suitable for hair transplantation. In addition, hair transplantation may not be suitable for individuals with certain skin diseases, systemic diseases or bleeding disorders.
Before and After Hair Transplantation
The before and after photos presented below are a good example of how the hair transplant process provides a natural and impressive transformation.
Hair Transplant Cost in 2023
In 2023, the average cost of hair transplant in Turkey varies between 800 USD – 2.000 USD.
Hair transplant prices according to the number of grafts
In 2023, hair transplantation costs in Turkey are determined depending on the number of grafts and may vary from city to city, clinic to clinic and the method and technology used.
3000 graft hair transplant Cost
The average cost range for a 3000-3500 graft hair transplant varies starting from at least 1000 USD.
4000 graft hair transplant cost
The average cost range for a 4000-4500 graft hair transplantation varies between 2.000 USD in 2023, depending on the hair transplant center and specialist.
5000 graft hair transplant Cost
The cost of 5000-5500 graft hair transplantation starts at an average price of 2.500 USD in 2023.
These costs may vary depending on the location of the clinic, the experience of the doctor, the technology used and the hair transplant method to be applied (for example, FUE or DHI).
Hair Transplant in Turkey
Turkey is the top country in the world for hair transplants with experienced surgeons, advanced technology, and relatively low prices which are a plus for many people who suffer from hair loss. So, that gives courage to men about their ‘life-changing decision. After Hair Transplant in Turkey Men’s gets the best results with the latest methods such as Micro FUE, DHI, and Sapphire.
Package offers for foreign patients include pickup from the airport, hotel accommodation, the surgery itself, and tourism. The patients are buying a very high-quality treatment at a quarter of the normal cost in some other countries. Many of them take the opportunity to see the city as well.
Smoking constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow, which can result in the newly transplanted hair follicles not being properly nourished and oxygenated. In addition, smoking slows wound healing, increases the risk of infection and weakens the immune system. Nicotine and other harmful substances can inhibit hair growth and cause hair follicles to weaken.
After the FUE method, small, indistinct scars are usually left and these scars become more indistinct over time. The scars are usually close in color to the scalp and become more difficult to see as the hair grows.
After the FUT method, a long, thin scar is usually left along the donor area. This scar can be hidden as the hair grows, but may be more prominent in individuals with short hair.
After the procedure, as the anesthesia wears off, mild to moderate pain may be experienced in the donor area and the transplantation site. This pain is usually most intense in the first few days and decreases over time.
Hair transplantation can damage existing hair, especially if the doctor performing the procedure is inexperienced or if the wrong techniques are used. The Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique is a minimally invasive method that can reduce the risk of damaging existing hair.
Yes, thin hair can also be transplanted, but transplanting thin hair can be more challenging for hair transplant specialists and the results may be different than those of thicker hair.
While transplanting hair from another person may seem like an organ or tissue transplant in theory, in practice it often fails because the body recognizes and rejects hair follicles from a genetically different individual as foreign material.
Hair transplantation may not always be suitable or possible for bald individuals. If the level of baldness is too advanced and the donor area is insufficient, hair transplantation may be difficult or impossible.
Yes, hair transplantation from body hair (Body Hair Transplant, BHT) can be performed. This procedure may be an option for individuals who do not have enough hair follicles from typical donor areas on the back and sides of the head.