EXPERT GUIDE

Fix Bad Hair Transplants

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Sternberg Written by Alex Rode on 2 Jul 2022

Hair transplant surgeries may help people who have been suffering from hair loss for a long time to solve their problems. As with any surgery in the field of aesthetics, the final result is significant, and the patient should be satisfied with the outcome to regain their self-confidence and boost their self-esteem. Together with the great advantages it may bring, the surgery sometimes may turn out wrong if not done carefully. This article will give a deeper view of why hair transplant surgery may fail, what reasons cause it, and possible ways to fix bad hair transplants.

What is a failed or botched hair transplant?

Hair transplant surgeries fail to reach their goals due to various reasons. A failed, or botched hair transplant is an unsuccessful surgery that has not given satisfactory aesthetic results. Often patients have expectations of dense and natural-looking hair after the surgery, and not receiving such a result can make them less confident. One of the ways to check that is to see if the transplanted hair looks natural and if people who know nothing about that could spot the transplanted hair. If it is not obvious, they will get surprised if they get to know the truth.

Most common complaints after a hair transplant

Unnatural Hairline

One of the aspects that make hair transplant look unnatural is the hairline. It should be designed carefully, according to the patient’s age and with a lot of detail to preserve and recreate appropriate angles. The hairline of a 20-year-old and a 50-year-old look different, and what looks good on an 18-year-old may look inappropriate and unnatural for a 50-year-old person. Placing the hairline is also essential, as, if it is too high or too low, it will look artificial. Some experts maintain that a very low hairline is hard to fix. Another thing to pay attention to is that the hairline can’t be perfectly straight. Some slight asymmetry is critical in hair transplant to make it look authentic.   

No density

Density is another crucial aspect of hair transplant. Patients willing to undergo surgery may have high expectations of the final density. It should also be carefully thought through as too dense an implant will hurt the vessels that nourish the transplanted hair roots. On the other hand, if the hair loss area is too big and cannot be fully covered, the density will be very low, and the patient will not get the desired result. One of the solutions for this problem is to reduce the receiving area and thus improve density. 

Donor over-harvested

The doctor should examine and determine how many grafts can be extracted from the donor area. Overharvesting this area may cause a lot of problems as these are the ”building blocks” for hair transplant. Each person has their own donor area capacity, so it should be harvested carefully. Too many grafts extracted from one place could create a bad hair look in the donor area in some time after the surgery. 

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What are the reasons for a failed hair transplant?

Unsuccessful results after the hair transplant leave patients frustrated and may cause significant psychological damage. Many reasons influence the outcome of the hair transplant. They range from genetic factors to the surgeon’s experience, decisions and mistakes made by the patients after the surgery. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Unsuitable candidates

Not everyone can undergo hair transplant surgery, and not everyone can get a successful result after it. There are a number of aspects to consider before performing the surgery. Thus, an examination before the procedure is needed to see if the patient is an appropriate candidate

One of the critical aspects is age. Making the transplant at a very young age with progressing hair loss is not correct. Secondly, the hair loss type and intensity should be determined to decide what treatment can help and whether surgery is an option. Then, the capacity of the donor area should be examined to determine if there are enough suitable grafts to cover the recipient area. 

In addition, it is also important to discuss the patient’s expectations because the existing hair is merely transplanted from one area to another. It is crucial to have an understanding of the capacities.    

False promises

Another reason for a failed hair transplant is inadequate promising and misleading marketing. Patients should be careful and not follow charming offers, which more often than not are far from reality and only spike the expectations. 

Sometimes patients go for loud promises far from reality, so it is important to learn the topic of hair transplant well and be aware of what is possible and what is not in order to avoid falling into a marketing trap. Eventually, one wants to deal with the doctor and clinics concerned with the patient’s well-being and good results, not just numbers of patients and profit. 

When having a consultation, check how you feel about it. If you feel something is wrong, consider looking for another option. Everything should be transparent and clear. That’s why other patients’ reviews and the clinic’s reputation are of high importance. Choosing a good place to have the hair transplant dramatically adds up to the procedure’s success.

Number of hair transplants per patient to achieve the desired result

Grafts extraction mistakes

Grafts are extracted in two ways: with the help of follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplant (FUT) technique. Several mistakes can be made when performing an FUE. One of them is overharvesting the donor area. Unbalanced extraction will be visible. Secondly, an equal amount of hair should be harvested from the donor area. The on-ear area should be carefully harvested as hair here is thinner and not so dense. Thirdly, special tools must be used correctly not to destroy or damage the grafts as the damaged grafts will not grow. Then, a surgeon must choose an appropriate punch width. It should be selected according to the individual thickness of the hairpiece, as everybody is unique. If the punch is too wide, there will be scars left on the skin. On the contrary, if it is too small, it will damage the graft, and it will be unusable.  

Bad grafts implant

Mistakes can happen at any stage of the surgery. Thus, it is essential to transplant hair roots at the correct depth. Placing them too deep will not give good results. Grafts will not grow or the hair that will grow may get deformed and further cause inflammation. 

One of the most complicated consequences is tissue necrosis. It may happen if adrenaline is injected incorrectly. In this case, certain cells don’t get proper nourishment and die. It causes round gaps with no hair. In addition, using non-sterile tools can lead to infections.  

After surgery, mistakes made by patients 

Nobody wants the hair transplant to go wrong. However, sometimes, patients may accidentally make the situation worse or do something they should not. Taking good care of the transplanted area after the surgery is as important as the surgery itself. Patients should follow the hair washing instructions given by the doctor. Furthermore, they should be attentive and avoid nobs. Also, it is advised to avoid direct sunlight in the transplanted area, attend saunas or do sports that may cause sweating for a certain period.   

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How to fix and repair failed hair transplants?

Fixing a bad hair transplant is a pretty complicated and challenging task. It has its own limitations. So, it needs a lot of experience and knowledge to perform it correctly. This is why it is necessary to find a clinic or a specialist who can manage such a task. Also, it would be advantageous to put more effort into researching a reliable clinic or surgeon to perform this procedure.

In order to fix failed hair transplants, a patient can undergo hair transplant repair surgery. Hair transplant repair surgeries are challenging but rewarding, so it is worth giving them a try if your original hair transplant surgery did not fulfill your expectations.  

There are a few methods to fix bad hair transplants. One of them is extracting grafts transplanted at a wrong angle or having multiple roots. The method is similar to FUE, except that the grafts are taken out of the recipient area with the help of a particular tool or manual punch. Multiple roots are extracted, redivided, and transplanted back, helping cover the scars. This procedure may take up to a couple of sessions to finish. 

The following method is the camouflage method. It is used when extracting the wrong grafts is not enough. This method implies extracting wrongly placed grafts with new individual ones. In addition, a new hairline should be designed and placed a couple of millimeters lower. Some other adjustments may be needed as well to make the hair look natural.

Sometimes a combination of the two methods mentioned above is used. It is called a combined method and implies extracting the wrong grafts and covering bad hair transplant. These procedures are operated simultaneously. Sometimes the surgery may be divided into a few phases within the interval of 8-10 months. If the patient wants a new hairline, then a new FUE procedure is needed (if the donor area has the necessary reserve). Only bad-looking hair can be extracted if the patient does not want to change the hairline.

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How can patients prevent poor results?

Not always can we prevent bad results and outcomes of things in everyday life, let alone medical surgeries. However, it is possible to try and reduce the chances of bad outcomes, especially on aspects that partly depend on us. 

First of all, it is advantageous to do the research for good reliable clinics and experienced surgeons. Choosing a certified doctor with a vast experience in the given field may bring the desired result. Opting for a cheaper but less experienced surgeon may turn out not so well. 

Most important criterion for the selection of the hair transplant clinic

Secondly, it is advisable to check if the patient is suitable for the procedure. Some hair loss problems do not need to be treated by transplantation. Some can’t be treated that way. So, consulting a doctor who can steadily evaluate and define the necessity of such a surgery will be beneficial. 

Lastly, post-operative care is of high importance. Following the doctor’s instructions as closely as possible will ensure a faster healing process and successful result of good surgery. Healing after the hair transplant is a lengthy process, but it will be rewarding with due patience.     

Hair transplant is a widespread procedure, and before deciding to have it, it is worth doing the research and being sure it suits your particular case and the clinic you want to do it at is reliable. The doctor should be able to provide answers to your questions. Checking all these aspects helps decrease the risk of a bad outcome. However, even if the hair transplant surgery fails, there are modern techniques that help improve the results of the previous procedure. Experienced and highly professional specialists are capable of solving some of the adverse consequences. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can implanted hair be fixed?

How can I camouflage a bad hair transplant?

What is the cost of a repair hair transplant?

Sources

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