Many men and women struggle to grow sideburns or side whiskers: the strip of facial hair parallel to their ears. They add to the facial symmetry. Men style it to enhance their masculine aesthetics. However, some people cannot grow them completely or have sparse, patchy, and uneven hair in their side whiskers. To ensure permanent, even hair growth in that area, they can undergo a sideburn hair transplant.
Sideburn Hair Transplant Overview
Sideburn hair transplant restores hair growth on the sides of the face. After the patient communicates their aesthetic goals and expectations from the sideburn hair transplant, the surgeon draws the initial design. S/he can make adjustments to it according to your needs. Usually, the donor site for facial hair transplants is the back/sides of the scalp. Here too, the surgeon will extract follicular units from the back/sides of the scalp. In most cases, FUE is used to restore hair in sideburns.
The surgeon will make sure that the thickness, texture and colour of the scalp hair closely match the facial hair. Moreover, for natural-looking results, s/he will take the angle, direction, and hair growth pattern of the hair grafts into consideration.
How Much Sideburn Transplant Costs
Many people experiencing permanent hair loss are unable to get a sideburn hair transplant surgery because of the high costs, which depend on the area where they live and the total number of hair grafts needed for the surgery. And so, many people become medical tourists because the cost of sideburn transplants in Turkey is three times less than in the UK or Europe.
The currency exchange rates make the surgery even more affordable. In addition, the price of the treatment package doesn’t change depending on the number of grafts the patient needs in their sideburns. They get maximum grafts, hotel accommodation, translators, transfer services, and aftercare in one treatment package.
Who Can Have Sideburn Transplant Surgery & Why
You are a good candidate for sideburn restoration surgery if you:
- Suffer from facial scarring due to burns, injury, or physical trauma.
- Have a genetic predisposition to hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia (female/male pattern baldness).
- Have acne scars in the sideburn area.
- Are left with surgical scars from a facelift. It is more common among women who hesitate to put their hair up because of the absence of sideburns after surgery.
- Have permanent scars from laser hair removal treatment.
- Experienced recession or permanent loss of hair in the sideburns due to traction alopecia from tight braids or ponytails.
- Had irreversible hair loss due to chemotherapy.
- Have alopecia barbae, a form of alopecia areata.
Am I Suitable For Hair Transplant?
What To Think About Before You Have Sideburn Hair Restoration Surgery
Before choosing a surgeon for your sideburn transplant surgery, you need to ask the following questions:
- What are the qualifications, experience, and training of the surgeon?
- What is the specialization of the surgeon?
- How many sideburn restoration surgeries has he/she performed? For how long?
- What are the overall complication rates of the surgeon?
- What complications have past sideburn restoration patients experienced, and how did the surgeon deal with them?
- Why is the surgeon recommending this treatment option to me, and are there any alternatives?
- If something goes wrong with my sideburn transplant, what kind of follow-up can I expect from the surgeon?
How Best To Prepare For Sideburn Hair Transplant
Before coming in for your sideburn restoration, you should make the following preparations:
- Do not shave the existing sideburn hair, even if it’s sparse, thin or uneven; you may have some peach fuzz even if it’s missing altogether. The surgeon needs to analyse the recipient area for determining the natural growth pattern, angle and direction of hair follicles.
- Wear loose clothes, preferably with buttons or zippers, as they’re easy to take off and won’t dislodge the transplanted hair grafts.
- Stop taking any blood-thinners around 2 weeks before the surgery.
- Do not smoke or consume other tobacco products 1 week before your sideburn transplant.
- Refrain from recreational drugs and alcohol at least 3 days before surgery as it can result in increased bleeding and delay the healing process.
What Sideburn Hair Transplants Involve
First and foremost, the surgeon will assess the donor area for hair whose characteristics are most similar to facial hair. After identifying that, s/he will shave it. This is followed by the administration of local anaesthesia so that you don’t feel pain during the sideburn transplant.
A motorized punch tool makes incisions in the skin around the hair grafts in the donor area. These grafts are extracted using forceps and then stored in a saline solution to ensure their survival. After the extraction, the surgeon makes microincisions in the sideburn area. Smaller incisions ensure that the hair grafts don’t shift as much during the recovery process. This will help in the retention of the natural angle of hair growth.
The density of transplanted hair varies in different regions of the sideburn; it is higher in the centre. The surgeon will take this into consideration during the implantation process of this hair restoration surgery. Usually, sideburn transplants take 2 hours for both sides. However, surgical time can vary between patients depending on their aesthetic goals and the number of hair grafts needed.
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Sideburn Hair Transplant Recovery & Results
Sideburn hair transplant is an outpatient surgery. You will have bandages on the donor site, which the surgeon will change in the follow-up appointment the next day. Meanwhile, you should rest and be careful around the sideburns. Do not touch or scratch the surgical areas as it can delay healing.
To deal with the side effects, make sure to take the antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-swelling medication as prescribed by the doctor. Your hair may fall a few weeks after the surgery. However, new hair will start growing after 3-4 months. The full results of your sideburn transplant will become visible in 12-18 months.
Sideburn Hair Transplant Aftercare
Make sure that you do not sleep on your sides as it can harm the hair grafts. Keep your head elevated for a few weeks after the surgery. It will also help reduce the swelling. Avoid hard, chewy foods for at least 2-3 days after the surgery since they can stretch the skin and displace the grafts.
When washing your face, make sure that the product doesn’t come in contact with the transplanted area. Only wash the sideburns with the special shampoo and lotion given by the surgeon for a month. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight as it will suppress your immunity and make you sweat, increasing the risk of infection. Other than that, no sauna, gym or pool for at least a month after the surgery.
Side Effects To Expect After Sideburn Hair Transplant
After a sideburn hair transplant, it’s normal to experience the following side effects temporarily:
- Swelling for 1 week
- Bleeding for 2-3 days
- Pain for 3-4 days
- Numbness for 3-4 days
- Itching for 1 week
- Tiny bumps
What Could Go Wrong After Sideburn Hair Transplant
If you don’t closely follow the aftercare instructions, there’s a risk of permanent damage to the grafts. It may happen from an infection in the sideburn area because of smoking, drinking alcohol, poor hygiene, scratching or touching.
What To Do If You Have Problems After Sideburn Hair Transplant
In case something happens, you can avail free consultation services online. You can also call or email the aftercare department. Your Patient Relations Specialist can also help coordinate the discussion between you and your surgeon.
Alternatives To Sideburn Hair Transplant
Some patients are not suitable candidates for sideburn transplants due to thick scarring or poor donor area. In that case, you should discuss other treatment options with your doctor, such as oral or topical medications.
Other Procedures To Have With Sideburn Hair Transplant
When getting a sideburn hair transplant, you can also get a beard and moustache hair transplant. And to speed up the healing process, you can get platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. PRP therapy can strengthen the newly transplanted grafts and the surrounding hair.
How many hair grafts do I need for sideburn restoration?
You may need around 250-300 hair grafts on each side. However, the number can vary depending on the desired shape and density and graft size.
Can I get a scalp transplant with sideburn restoration surgery?
It is possible for you to get both. However, since the scalp acts as the donor site for sideburns, the patient needs to have a high density of follicular units in the donor area. If it’s weak, you will have to choose between the two surgeries.
Does the surgeon have insurance that covers sideburn transplants?
Yes, the surgeon performing your sideburn transplant has medical liability insurance. The hospital/clinic will also have malpractice policies in place.
Will follow-up checks for sideburn transplant be offered in the UK, and who will do them?
Yes, you can visit the surgeons in our London clinic for a check-up appointment after a sideburn transplant.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr Kuddusi Onay