A Comprehensive Guide On How A Hair Transplant Works

While many people know about the existence of a hair transplant, few really know what happens in it. 

That may be one reason why there’s a host of myths surrounding this procedure. Some think that it doesn’t give natural results. 

Others believe that the surgery is very painful and invasive. And there are still others who think you can take hair from someone else for your hair transplant. 

Understanding how does a hair transplant work can actually help dispel these myths and help you make a more informed decision when you’re seeking a treatment for your hair loss

Hair Transplant: How Does It Work? 

A hair transplant works by extracting follicular units, or hair grafts, from the back and sides of your scalp and placing them in the balding areas. Either these units are extracted directly from the scalp (FUE technique) or indirectly through the excision of a skin strip (FUT technique).

How a hair transplant works

The entire process is minimally invasive and painless because of anaesthesia

Mainly, the “donor dominance” principle is at the heart of how hair transplantation works. The term was coined by Dr Norman Orentreich – who performed the first hair transplant in 1952. 

The concept of donor dominance states that the original characteristics of hair remain the same even after it has been transplanted into a different area. This is what allows hair transplantation to be successful. 

That’s because, in genetic hair loss, only the hair on the top and front of the scalp is affected by androgens that cause follicular miniaturisation

The hair on the back and sides of the head remains unaffected. That’s why this “donor hair” stays on your head after you go bald on top and in front.

Donor area after 3 months
Donor Area Before and After the Hair Transplant

And more importantly, even after this donor area hair is moved to the bald regions of the scalp, it remains unaffected by androgens. 

Essentially, it retains its original characteristics, so it doesn’t fall. It’s for this reason that the results of a hair transplant are permanent. 

That should answer your question: does a hair transplant work.

How Long Does A Hair Transplant Take To Work?  

At the least, it takes 3 months for a hair transplant to work. That’s because most people experience shock hair loss before that. 
After 3 months, your hair growth will start, but it will take 12-18 months for you to see the final results of your surgery.

Hair transplant results

Although, many people are able to achieve good density just 6 months after the surgery. Usually, hair growth in the crown areas takes the longest because of the thicker skin there. 

How Much Does A Hair Transplant Work? 

How much a hair transplant works depends on how many of your hair grafts survive. 

And that comes down to how the grafts were handled, implanted and taken care of during the recovery process.  

Normally, 95% of the hair grafts can survive, so you can expect most of the follicular units on your scalp to grow new hair. Also, keep in mind that each graft contains 1-4 hairs. 

So, the number of new hair you’ll grow will be more than the number of grafts you get. 

Is Hair Transplant Safe? 

A hair transplant is considered as a safe procedure, provided it’s performed by a registered, qualified, and experienced practitioner.

Hair transplant surgeon

Nevertheless, hair transplantation is a surgery. And like any other surgery, it also carries certain risks like an allergic reaction to the local anaesthetic, infection, scarring, bleeding, etc. 

You can minimise some of the risks by choosing the right surgeon and doing what your surgeon advises. 

How Successful Are Hair Transplants? 

Hair transplants are very effective, having a success rate of around 95%

However, it largely depends on the skill of your surgeon (how do they do hair transplants) and your diligence in following the aftercare instructions

Also, your health plays an important role in this. If you’re not physically healthy or have a skin problem, the success rate can be lower. 


It’s important to understand how do hair transplants work. That’s because it can give you a clearer idea of what you can expect from the surgery.

Knowing that a hair transplant uses your natural hair, you can expect the results to be natural-looking. Taking hair from someone else isn’t possible because your body will reject it, resulting in the failure of the surgery. 

On your end, you should, most importantly, find a hair transplant surgeon who knows how to perform a successful hair transplant. That will help you get the possible results. 

Reviewed and Approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan

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