If you’re deciding to get a hair transplant, you might’ve wondered, “how long do hair transplants last?” Since the surgery is going to be quite significant, it’s only natural that you’d end up thinking if hair transplants are permanent.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), hair transplants give permanent, natural-looking results. However, you also would have come across some patient stories where they got the surgery more than once after a few years. So, what’s really the answer to this question?
Hair transplants involve removing hair follicles from the donor site either individually through follicular unit extraction (FUE) or via a strip of skin from the back of the head. In both cases, the follicles will then be transplanted back into the bald areas on the scalp. As the scalp heals, the follicles will sprout normal, healthy hair strands.
While hair transplants are permanent in most cases, meaning that they’d last your lifetime, there are some cases in which this may not happen.
How Long Do Hair Transplants Last?
Fortunately, you’re not living in an era where hair transplants are glaringly obvious because of their pluggy appearance. Those surgeries were not that successful. Moreover, they left the person with a very unnatural appearance. It left a lot of people wanting to undergo another surgery for better results.
However, that’s not the case anymore. The way hair transplants of today work, they’re meant to give you long-lasting, even permanent results. Since the hair follicles that are placed in the balding regions are not sensitive to the male sex hormones, there’s no chance of them falling off after their implantation. This doesn’t mean that not a single hair on your head will ever fall again, but that you won’t lose hair in the form of a “pattern” anymore, as happens in androgenetic alopecia.
Here, keep in mind that you might suddenly lose a lot of your hair a few weeks following hair transplant surgery. This is just shock loss, and it is temporary. That means that you shouldn’t think that transplanted follicles fall off before they even begin growing any hair. The roots stay intact; it’s just the hair that’s falling off because of the surgery.
The transplanted hair follicles will grow just the way they did in the donor regions on the back and sides of the scalp. Within a matter of 3-4 months, you will even start noticing mere inches of hair growth. With time, the hair will grow and blend in naturally with your existing hair. Thereon, each follicle will produce hair that grows naturally alongside the surrounding hairs and will behave in the same way as the rest of your hair. And in 12-18 months, you’ll have grown permanent hair.
Which Factors Affect How Long Do Hair Transplants Last?
Hair transplants indeed give permanent results, but there are a few factors that affect their longevity. These are as follows:
Whether or not your hair transplant is going to last a lifetime depends on the surgeon that you choose. This isn’t always the case. However, it can play a significant role in those cases where patients are not yet ready for a hair transplant but are advised to undergo one anyway. Young male patients who have androgenetic alopecia may want to get restoration surgery as soon as possible.
However, it’s not recommended that they get one until they’re at least 25 because their “pattern” hasn’t been set. The surgeon cannot say for sure at that point how far down the male sex hormones will affect the hair follicles. In this case, if you ask “how long do hair transplants last” the answer would be not for much longer. That’s because you’re likely to have DHT sensitive follicles in the balding areas that are going to miniaturize and fall away eventually. It could happen quite soon or over time.
Since chemotherapy affects both healthy cells and cancerous cells, you’re quite likely to lose your hair follicles when you’re undergoing this treatment. This can affect the transplanted hair just as much as your existing hair since they’re both the same. Although hair loss due to chemotherapy is reversible, in some cases, it is permanent. That means that you will lose the results of your hair transplant and will have to get another one for regrowth.
Hormonal imbalance can affect a person at any point in their life due to one reason or another. If the hormones involved are androgens, the hair loss is going to be permanent. It can affect both men and women.
Women who have just entered menopause will have a drop in the levels of estrogen, which can result in pattern loss. If you had a hair transplant before that (maybe because of hair loss due to traction alopecia), you’re going to lose your hair again because of this hormonal and genetic condition. In this case, too, if you’re wondering “how long do hair transplants last” it’s not going to be permanent because the changes in hormones will either affect a part of your scalp or the entirety of it.
Trauma to the scalp due to any physical injury, chemical burns, or heat damage can make you lose your hair permanently, no matter whether it’s the transplanted hair or your existing hair. Depending on the severity of the burns and scars, it may be possible for you to get another surgery.
If you had one before, you’ll most likely lose the hair because of the damage to the skin and the hair follicles in it. Here, too, the answer to “how long do hair transplants last” is that it won’t be permanent.
What’s Causes Hair Fall After Hair Transplant?
Other than the shock loss mentioned above, there are other reasons why you may lose your hair temporarily after getting a hair transplant. It could be anything from the lifestyle of a person, nutritional deficiencies, and any medications they’re taking to the natural phenomenon of ageing.
Even though you can restore hair in many of these cases, ageing is something that causes hair thinning over time. It won’t make you lose your hair permanently, though. Nor will you end up with a pattern on your head because of androgenetic alopecia. Still, you should have realistic expectations from hair transplant surgery. It won’t just stop every kind of hair loss from occurring.
In cases where your hair may be beginning to shed or where you may be prone to shedding post-procedure, your surgeon may be able to suggest medication or supplements that promote and enhance hair growth. You may be recommended minoxidil and finasteride or PRP injections to boost the growth of your hair.
If you are going through hair loss at the time of your transplant, the surgeon may recommend waiting depending on the type of hair loss you are suffering from. If you suffer from an illness that causes hair loss, a form of alopecia that is still active, your doctor may suggest an alternative procedure date later on down the road to enhance your results and reduce any shedding post-procedure.
When Do You Need To Get Another Hair Transplant Surgery?
Now, some people choose to get another surgery years later after their first one, even if everything’s okay with their physical health. Is it because they lost their transplanted hair? That’s not the reason why they get the surgery.
One reason why they opt for the surgery is that they want to increase the hair density in bald areas. If the bald area is too large in the first session, you may be recommended another one. Then there’s the instance where people with androgenetic alopecia continue to lose more of their hair with time even when they had the surgery at a young age.
This is often solved by further treatment to transplant healthy hairs into the areas where new loss has taken place. The transplanted hairs will remain there for your lifetime if good care is taken of them. Here, the answer to “how long do hair transplants last” is still the same.
Your hair transplant surgeon will take into account any family history of hair loss and the reasons for your personal thinning or loss and will be able to better determine whether you are likely to lose hair in the future. This way, we can foresee and predict any potential future surgeries and design a hairline and density that will blend well with this in the future.
So, how long do hair transplants last? The transplanted hair follicles will stay for a lifetime. Because they’re not sensitive to male sex hormones, they’re going to stay there permanently.
Hair shedding can occur temporarily after a transplant due to shock loss, but it’s normal. We will keep a close eye on your progress to determine whether this is normal or not. As long as you follow the aftercare instructions, you’d see the results of the surgery.
However, if you experience any unfortunate events because of which you end up losing your hair, then the answer to “how long do hair transplants last” won’t be a lifetime. In this case, you’d have to get another surgery or discuss other treatment options with your doctor.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.