In the UK, hair transplant is the second most searched cosmetic procedure online, with over 33 thousand searches per month. Clearly, many people refer to “Dr Google” to get more medical information about hair transplants (70,000 searches for medical information are made on Google every minute!). However, there are still many things that the internet gets wrong. And that has led to a lack of awareness about hair transplant 101.
This is why consultation with a qualified medical surgeon with an actual degree remains crucial. Longevita, a leading hair transplant surgery provider in the UK, compiled the top 5 misconceptions about hair transplants, which our Transplant Specialist Yasemin Turgut correctly addressed.
Misconception No.1: New Hair Grows In Place of Hair Extracted From Donor Area
When performing a hair transplant, the surgeon uses a punch tool to extract an entire follicular unit, each containing 2-3 hairs, from the donor area. Once it has been removed, a new follicular unit will not regenerate. Yasemin Turgut explains it by making an analogy to a transplanted kidney. Once it’s removed, it does not grow back.
Similarly, the hair extracted from the donor area will not grow back due to its roots being pulled out. “However, since it is removed homogeneously during the extraction, the absence of hair follicles on the nape is not noticeable as long as the patient does not keep his/her hair very short,” said the Transplant Specialist. So, you don’t have to worry about your donor area looking bald after a hair transplant.
Misconception No.2: I can wear a hat immediately after the operation so no one will see my transplanted hair
Frequently, patients ask if they can wear a hat after getting a hair transplant so that wounds and redness can stay hidden. Yasemin Turgut strongly advises patients not to wear hats right after surgery since the hair grafts have not yet taken root. They will take some time to get firmly attached in place.
And since the grafts are still fragile, if anything rubs against them, they can get severely damaged. “Loose hats can be tolerated intermittently after the 5th day in exceptional cases”. The Transplant Specialist warns that there’s a possibility of the grafts getting dislodged or completely pulled out of the scalp if it’s snagged by the fabric of the hat.
Misconception No.3: Transplanted hair also falls out, and I’ll end up bald again anyway
In androgenetic alopecia, a testosterone by-product (dihydrotestosterone) binds to androgen receptors on hair follicles. This is responsible for making you lose your hair permanently. However, not all hair on the scalp is affected by this hormone. And hair transplant surgery uses those follicles present on the back of the head, making up the donor area.
Yasemin Turgut explains that genetically the hair follicles in the donor area do not have testosterone receptors, and the genetic makeup of these follicles won’t change in the transplanted area. So they will not fall out permanently. That means you won’t go bald in the regions where the hair has been transplanted.
Misconception No. 4: Body Hair Can Be Transplanted to The Scalp
If there’s not enough hair in the donor area, all the bald areas on the scalp won’t get adequate coverage. It depends on how extensive the baldness is. But if the donor area is weak, you may not be suitable for a hair transplant. In that case, many people ask if body hair can be transplanted to the scalp.
According to Longevita’s Transplant Specialist, “The hair structure of the beard is closer to the hair on the head than the body hair. So beard can be transplanted on the head if needed. But it is not preferred because there is a possibility of scarring on the face. Implantation of the other body hairs is not recommended because the success rate is very low.” So, it is not recommended to transplant body hair to the scalp.
Misconception No. 5: There is no point in getting a female hair transplant since it does not work
Women also experience permanent hair loss due to different reasons, including androgenetic alopecia or traction alopecia due to certain hairstyles. And they, too, can get a hair transplant.
“Transplanting hair does not discriminate between genders. Therefore, men and women can both undergo hair transplants. The important factors that are affecting the success of hair transplant operations are the type of hair loss and the cause of hair loss, not gender,” according to Yasemin Turgut.
Hair transplant is a very popular procedure. Hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world get it every year. However, despite its popularity, there are still many things about hair transplants that people get wrong or miss out on (even after an extensive Google search). That is why it’s important that you consult a medical professional before the surgery. Make sure that you know how the procedure works so that you can have the right expectations.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.