A second hair transplant refers to another session of this surgery that’s done to improve the results of the first one. According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, almost 30% of people had a second hair transplant in 2022.
That’s because most people only need one session of this surgery to see good results.
And keep in mind that those results are permanent.
Despite that, some people end up needing a second hair transplant. It’s not always an inevitability, though. In certain cases, you can avoid a future need for it. So, to be better prepared, you must know all that there is about a second hair transplant.
Can You Have A Second Hair Transplant?
You can definitely get a second hair transplant if you have sufficient hair in your donor area – the hair on the back and sides of your head. However, another hair transplant is only performed after you’ve healed from the first one.
Additionally, it depends on the reason(s) behind your hair loss. If you’re experiencing hair loss due to an active health problem, you might have to wait for it to settle down. Otherwise, you’re going to lose your hair quickly, even after the second transplant.
Keep in mind that you only have a limited number of hair grafts in your donor area. And how many grafts can be extracted from there varies from patient to patient.
It’s possible for you to run out of these grafts after just one hair transplant session. In that case, you will not be eligible for another hair transplant. That’s because it will only give you very poor results.
Why Do People Get A Second Hair Transplant?
People get second hair transplants for a variety of reasons: genetic hair loss, large balding area, lifestyle changes, post-operative negligence, trauma, botched surgery, or to conceal FUT scars.
Let’s take a look at all these factors in more detail.
Progression of Hereditary Hair Loss
A hair transplant doesn’t cure baldness. So, your non-transplanted hair can continue to fall after a restoration surgery.
It’s not exactly understood why, but the hair in your donor area is actually resistant to the hormone that causes hair loss – DHT. That’s why transplanted hair doesn’t fall.
However, the same cannot be said for DHT-sensitive hair on the front and top. Those follicles shrink due to testosterone hair loss and eventually fall out permanently.
It’s unpredictable, but it can cause more balding and thinning on your scalp. And a second hair transplant can help with it.
Increase Hair Density
Second hair transplants are also popular because many people want to increase their hair density (the number of hairs in an area).
Keep in mind that there are other factors that can cause permanent hair loss in your lifetime, such as:
- Poor health
- Hormonal imbalance
It’s not always possible to prevent hair loss due to these factors. But you can improve the results of your initial surgery by getting another one.
Large Balding Area
If your balding area is quite large, your surgeon will recommend breaking the surgery down into two or more sessions.
The reason behind it is that it’s not safe to extract more than 4,500 grafts in one hair transplant session. It can harm the donor area, and if the surgery takes too long (which is typically 6-7 hours already), the extracted hair follicles may not survive.
In this case, patients are informed beforehand that they’ll need another hair transplant to get the kind of results that they’re looking for.
One of our patients had a large balding area and needed 2 hair transplants for full coverage. However, he decided not to and only wanted front coverage, so the surgery was performed there.
Botched Hair Transplant
According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, nearly 25% of the cases received by many doctors were repair surgeries.
It can happen if you have had your surgery at an unlicensed, shoddy clinic that did not have an experienced or licensed hair transplant surgeon.
This is the kind of thing that you can avoid if you do your due diligence when researching for a hair transplant clinic – no matter where you’re getting this surgery.
Many times, patients end up with an “overharvested” donor area.
That happens when too many grafts have been extracted from the back and sides of your head. And it leaves you with very prominent bald patches. But it may be possible to fix it with another surgery.
Conceal FUT Scars
The very reason that the FUT technique of hair transplant is not so popular anymore is that it leaves a prominent scar.
Again, this is something that you may be able to avoid by getting an FUE hair transplant in the first place. But make sure to consult a certified hair transplant surgeon for that.
Failed Hair Transplant
Sometimes, personal factors can cause hair transplants to fail. For one, if you’re not careful about following the aftercare instructions, it can affect the survival of your grafts.
In all these cases, you may be able to have another hair transplant.
How Long To Wait For A Second Hair Transplant?
No matter what, patients are usually advised to wait at least 6-12 months before getting a second hair transplant. That’s because your donor area needs some time to heal, especially if a lot of grafts were extracted from it.
Once the wounds on your scalp have healed and your body has recovered from the previous surgery, you’ll be okay to get another one.
Remember, it can take 12-18 months for the results of a hair transplant to become visible. If you want to get another surgery because you’re unhappy with the results, wait until you complete the recovery process.
Does A Second Hair Transplant Take Longer To Grow?
It’s a myth that a second hair transplant takes longer to grow than the first one because of the scars. The recovery and growth timeline of a second hair transplant will be just like the first one.
Is It Worth Getting A Second Hair Transplant?
There are many people who are happier with the results of their hair transplant after getting a second surgery. Also, it’s safe, doesn’t affect the follicles from the first surgery, and recovery isn’t more difficult. So, it can definitely be worth it if you’re eligible for a second hair transplant.
One of our patients had a large balding area, so his surgery was divided into two sessions. In the first one, the top of his scalp and hairline were restored. And in the second one, which took place after 6 months, he regained density in the crown area.
Another of our patients was able to achieve good results with two hair transplant sessions, each 6 months apart, in just 12 months.
Therefore, getting a second hair transplant can definitely be worth it if you have a strong donor area, and choose the right surgeon.
How Many Hair Transplants Can You Have?
You can have as many hair transplants as your donor area allows. Most people only need one. But those who need more can get as many as 4-5 hair transplants or even more if they have sufficient hair in their donor area.
In a healthy scalp, there are 100 hair grafts per cm2. A maximum of 40-50% of those grafts should be extracted by the surgeon. Any more than that and your surgeon will risk permanent damage to the donor area.
That’s why many people are not eligible for multiple hair transplants. With every surgery, you’re going to be left with fewer and fewer extractable grafts in the donor area.
How Much Will A Second Hair Transplant Cost?
If you’re being charged by the number of grafts, that will determine the cost of your transplant. In the UK, a single hair graft can cost around £1, so the surgery can still cost you thousands of pounds.
However, if you’re not being charged by the number of grafts, a second hair transplant at the same clinic should cost you less. That’s because the clinic may offer you a returning patient discount.
If not, a second hair transplant should cost you as much as the first hair transplant. You can get it for cheaper through medical tourism. The hair transplant cost in Turkey for the entire treatment plan is around £1,700-£2,000.
What If You Can’t Get A Second Hair Transplant?
PRP can help increase the overall density, and SMP can give the illusion of full density. Other than that, there are medications for hair loss as well, such as minoxidil and finasteride.
Make sure to consult a medical professional for alternative treatment options.
Although not that common, second hair transplants are done to improve the results of the first procedure.
You can’t always predict if you’ll need another treatment session. That’s why if you need another surgery after your first one, you shouldn’t assume it’s because it was botched.
That’s not always the case. A hair transplant does not permanently stop hair loss. It can continue for many reasons, even after you’ve had the surgery.
That’s why, in any case, make sure to consult an experienced and board-certified hair transplant surgeon before making a decision.