Are Hair Transplants Safe?

When heading for surgery, it’s normal to feel anxious. Before that, you want to be sure if the surgery is safe, to begin with. Are hair transplants safe is a common question among patients who’re thinking about having this surgery. Fortunately, this surgery is quite safe. However, you should know what makes it so and in what instances can it be dangerous. 

Why Are Hair Transplants Safe?

The reason why a hair transplant is safe is that it’s a minimally invasive procedure that involves the redistribution of hair follicles from one area of the scalp to another. This is not to say that the surgery is without risk, but it is only minimal. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has also said that a “hair transplant surgery is normally safe.” However, it goes on to say that it is the case when the surgery is carried out by a “board-certified plastic surgeon” who is “experienced” and “qualified.” 

In an FUE, the surgeon makes small incisions into the balding areas of the scalp while a punch tool extracts grafts from the donor area. In a FUT, on the other hand, the extraction of the individual grafts takes place after a strip of skin is excised. While the recovery of the latter is more difficult because of stitches, the surgery itself is still safe. 

What Factors Make A Hair Transplant Safe?

There are a few factors which make it possible to answer “are hair transplants safe” in the affirmative. 

No Need for General Anaesthesia

Because hair transplant is not an invasive procedure, it does not require general anaesthesia. Since the surgical area is limited to the scalp, and that’s where the patient can feel pain during the procedure, local anaesthesia is administered. 

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, general anaesthesia is also safe, but it can cause the following: 

  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Chills 
  • Confusion 
  • Sore throat (because of the breathing tube) 
  • Difficulty breathing and regaining consciousness if the patient has sleep apnea 
  • Malignant hyperthermia (a life-threatening genetic condition)
  • Cognitive impairment (can be long-term, especially in older patients or those who have certain cardiac, neurological or nervous system problems) 

As for local anaesthesia, it has very few side effects. You may experience the following afterwards: 

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision 
  • Numbness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Twitching 
  • Tingling 

An allergic reaction to it is rare. You should know that recovering from a local anaesthetic is easier than from a general anaesthetic. The use of local anaesthesia is one reason why a hair transplant is a safe procedure. 

Quick Recovery

Another reason why are hair transplants safe is that you recover quite quickly after the procedure. After the procedure, it is possible for you to get back to work the day after, although you’d have to avoid certain activities. However, still, after a few days, you should start feeling much better. 

As far as the side effects of the procedure are concerned, there are some that are commonly experienced, like swelling, bleeding, shock loss, itchiness, etc. But these are only temporary, and you should recover from them eventually. The incidence rate of infection is only 2%, so it is not that common for a patient to develop it. Therefore, you should recover from the procedure without experiencing any major health problems. 

Keep in mind that if you have an FUE hair transplant, recovery is going to be quicker and easier, since the wounds on the scalp are quite small, and they don’t require any stitches. However, with a FUT hair transplant, there’s a risk of wound dehiscence, and the patient is more vulnerable to developing an infection. 


After a hair transplant, the patient has to take some medications that will help them deal with the side effects of the procedure. Painkillers and anti-swelling tablets make their recovery easier, while antibiotics minimise the risk of infection. Because of these medicines, the recovery from a hair transplant is also made safer. The patient should expect things to get better for them and not worsen. 

No Life-Changing Health Effects 

One of the biggest problems with medicines like minoxidil and finasteride is that they can cause serious side effects. Minoxidil can cause burning, redness and itchiness, among other things. If you want to keep seeing the results, you have to keep using them. But in women, the medicine can result in the growth of hair on other areas of the face, which is certainly not considered desirable. 

Finasteride, on the other hand, can cause sexual dysfunction, which can affect the life of the individual. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 71 men between the age of 21 and 46 used finasteride, and of them: 

  • 94% experienced reduced sex drive
  • 92% had difficulty maintaining an erection
  • 92% developed a lack of sexual interest 
  • 69% had orgasm problems 

These symptoms persisted even 3 months after the subjects had stopped using finasteride. 

A hair transplant does not cause any such problems. As mentioned above, patients experience some side effects temporarily. And they have to refrain from engaging in any physical activity for a while to recover normally, but it doesn’t cause any problems that persistently plague them and negatively affect their quality of life.

Why The Choice of Clinics Is Important In Making Hair Transplants Safe?

What makes a hair transplant safe to begin with is that the surgeon performing your surgery is qualified, and the facility in which the procedure is taking place is clean and safe. You may have heard stories of “hair transplant gone wrong” from people, but there are many factors that contribute to that, and the choice of the clinic is critical in that regard. 

A poor surgical technique can cause permanent damage. Not just that, but you’re likely to experience serious side effects like necrosis because the surgeon doesn’t have an understanding of normal graft placement. The damage may be enough to make it impossible for you to have another hair transplant. 

Therefore, a positive answer to “are hair transplants safe?” depends on the surgeon and the clinic that you choose. Make sure to do your research. Be choosy and ask questions so that you know that you’re making the right choice.

Concluding Remarks 

Although the idea of any surgery can be a bit scary, not every surgery is high-risk. The answer to “are hair transplants safe” is yes! There are minimal risks, which can be reduced by choosing the right clinic and surgeon and following the aftercare instructions. Also, because the surgery only involves the scalp area, local anaesthesia is used, which makes it safer and allows the patient to recover more quickly than if general anaesthesia had been used. 

Not just that, but since an FUE procedure doesn’t require any stitches, the patient should be able to get back to work in a matter of days. The medications prescribed will further aid them and minimise different risks. Additionally, the results from a hair transplant are permanent, and the procedure doesn’t affect your bodily functions in any way, unlike minoxidil and finasteride. It’s normally a one-time procedure, after which the patient can enjoy their results for a lifetime. This is a reason why many people choose hair transplants. 

Reviewed and Approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan

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