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Hair transplant

Hair transplantation is one of the options for the treatment of baldness or hair loss. It is surgery which transfers hair from where it is thicker to hairless areas of the scalp. The result is usually permanent.

Why are hair transplants performed?

Hair transplantation is a type of cosmetic surgical procedure. It is available for men and women concerned about thinning hair or baldness.

How to 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?

Usually you will have a local anaesthetic and sedation. If the surgery planned for you is complicated, you might be given a general anaesthetic.

There are a number of different surgical techniques that could be used:

  • punch grafts transplant 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 recommended.

What to 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.

More information

About hair transplant

More information can be found at the Australasian Foundation for Plastic Surgery.

About surgical procedures

Visit our surgical procedures page to learn more about surgical procedures in general with information such as:

Last reviewed: November 2016

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