What is a hair transplant?
Hair transplantation is a treatment option for men or women concerned about thinning hair or baldness.
It is cosmetic surgery that transfers hair from where it is thicker to hairless areas of the scalp. Multiple transplant sessions are usually needed and this can be expensive. However, results are usually good and are permanent.
How can I prepare for a hair transplant?
Tell your surgeon about any past illnesses or medical conditions you have had, and any medications you take (including over the counter items and herbal remedies). Some medications increase the risk of bleeding. You might need to stop some medicines temporarily.
If you smoke, it is best to stop. Smoking can affect wound healing, and increases the risk of bleeding and infection after surgery.
What happens during a hair transplant?
There are a number of different surgical techniques that could be used:
- taking plugs of hair from areas where it continues to grow and inserting them in bald areas
- transplanting small patches of skin from areas with more hair
- scalp reduction involves removing areas of bald skin
Talk to your surgeon about what they might recommend.
What can I expect after a hair transplant?
You might have discomfort after the procedure, such as a tight feeling or aching of the scalp. You might need to take pain relief medicines.
You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you initially. Your surgeon will give you instructions, including when to have any stitches removed, when you can wash your hair, and when you can start playing sport again.
What can go wrong?
Although most people recover well from the surgery, some people have bleeding, an infection, thick scars or a patchy look. Some people find the hair grows more slowly than expected. Some find the operation doesn't work and opt for repeat surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is not trivial. Cosmetic procedures should be carried out by qualified surgeons in properly accredited facilities with an anaesthetist present.
About hair transplant
More information can be found at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.
About surgical procedures
Learn more about surgical procedures in general with information such as:
ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: October 2020