Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sternberg Written by David Stelzer Published on 1 Feb 2021
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Hair Transplant Success Rate

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sternberg Written by David Stelzer on 1 Feb 2021

The success or survival rate of a hair transplant is a common concern for many candidates suffering from hair loss. There has been lots of debate in the past decade over what method of hair transplantation yields a higher survival rate. We have prepared an article describing the survival rates of each transplantation technique and an explanation of the variance.

The transection rate, while not as common of a concern for potential hair transplant candidates should be examined before deciding on a hair transplant surgeon. The lower the transection rate, the more skilled the surgeon is.

In a Nutshell

Success Rate 95-98%
Transection Rate <15%
Where? Verified Clinics

Hair Transplant Procedures and Techniques

All hair transplant procedures consist of an extraction, storage and insertion phase regardless of the method used. The storage and insertion steps of hair transplants are virtually identical however, they vary considerably in their extraction technique. The two most common hair transplant methods currently used are the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Excision (FUE).

Most common hair transplant method

The FUT, or Strip method, involves a thin strip of skin being removed from the donor area at the back of the head to harvest the hair needed to transplant. This extraction method will leave behind a narrow scar across the donor area, no wider than a pencil. This strip of skin is then dissected into individual grafts which are stored in a sterile, cooling solution until they are ready to be inserted into the recipient channels.

The FUE method is a minimally invasive technique which involves using a thin, hollow needle to remove hair follicles in natural groupings of one to four hairs. This method leaves behind very small white scars peppered around the donor region. These hair grafts are then stored in the same sterile, cooling solution until the recipient channels are ready for their insertion.

With both methods a phenomenon known as the shedding effect occurs several weeks after the hair transplantation. The hair will fall out of the transplanted follicles as a result of losing contact with the blood supply temporarily during the procedure. This hair will grow back within three to five months after the hair transplant procedure and will continue to grow for the duration of the patient’s life. Full results can be seen approximately 12 months after the transplantation.

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Success Rates of Hair Transplants

Currently hair transplants have between a 95-98% success rate on average. The reason for this very high survival rate of the transplanted grafts is because the hair follicles come from the patient’s own scalp, there is no chance of graft rejection.

In the past FUE hair transplants had a lower success rate than FUT hair transplants as the hair grafts were weaker and as such had a poorer survival rate. While this used to be true, technological advancements over the past five to ten years have greatly improved the survival rate of the FUE hair grafts.

Reasons for a hair transplant

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) released a study in 2018 comparing the success rates of the two hair transplant methods. The study found that both methods performed equally well within all parameters, with the FUE method performing slightly better in some ways. The study was too small however, to conclude that the FUE has a better success rate than the FUT method.

Nevertheless, the success of a hair transplant is often also determined by the usage of effective hair loss medication. Especially young patients normally need to complement the hair transplant with finasteride or minoxidil in order to achieve a lasting result.

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Sometimes the donor area is not full enough to provide enough hair to transplant and cover the balding area to the extent the patient desires. When this occurs surgeons may try to transplant hair from other parts of the body like the beard, chest, thighs etc. This form of transplantation does not have as high of a survival rate as the traditional FUE and FUT methods. This is due to the genetic makeup of hair varying more the further it gets from the scalp. Beard hair transplantations have a success rate of only 85% with hair further from the scalp having even lower success rates.

In addition, the hair grafts do not always have as high of a success rate when it comes to covering scar tissue. The raised scar tissues do not always have a sufficient blood supply available to support the growth of transplanted grafts. There are medications or treatments available to patients that flatten the scars making them more viable for hair transplantation.

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Success of Hair Transplants for Self-Image

Thinning hair and balding are often symptoms associated with aging, this can lead to decreased self-confidence for individuals suffering from hair loss. Individuals who experience hair loss at a younger age are especially impacted and often feel as though they look far older than they actually are, which leads to low self-esteem. A full head of hair is often a sign of beauty that patients wish to regain to restore their youthful, healthy appearance.

According to our hair transplant research with over 1,000 participants a hair transplant has a significant positive impact on the self-esteem of most patients:

Emotional impact of a hair transplant on a patient

The vast majority of all hair transplant patients find the negative psychological impacts of hair loss greatly improved after they undergo their transplant. Patients report increased happiness and overall energy as well as decreased anxiety levels. We have compiled data from our clients answering the question of how much their emotional state has improved as a result of their hair transplant.

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Transection Rates

A transection occurs when the hair follicle is damaged, this inhibits or completely stops the growth of hair. This damage can occur either during the extraction or during the implantation of the hair graft. During an FUT hair transplant the transection happens when the surgeon cuts through hair follicles or damages it. The FUE technique can damage the hair follicle if too much pressure is applied to the scalp when removing the grafts. Blunt instruments or incorrect tools can cause damage when implanting the hair follicles into the recipient channels.

Regardless of the surgeon’s skill or experience, transections will always occur. As a result, there are acceptable transection rates used to judge a surgeon’s work. The best hair transplant surgeons will have a transection rate of 5% or less. A transection rate between 5-15% is still more than acceptable for many hair surgeons. Robotic methods of hair transplantation have an average transection rate of 10%. Less capable hair transplant surgeons can have transection rates between 20-75%, you should look to find a hair surgeon with a transection rate less than 15%.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all hair transplants successful?

Is a hair transplant permanent?

What is the most effective hair transplant method?

Can hair transplants go wrong?

Sources

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