5 Major Downsides of Hair Transplant Procedures

Hair loss can be an extremely stressful experience for both men and women, especially if your thick and healthy hair has always been your pride and joy. Therefore, people in this situation will often explore a variety of different methods to combat hair loss.

Common medications like minoxidil and finasteride are well-known and readily available on drugstore shelves (though finasteride often requires a prescription). Many people experiencing hair loss see amazing results with laser hair caps, a device that utilizes low-level light therapy to rejuvenate malfunctioning hair follicles and support the growth of new hair. Other products like DHT blocking shampoos and vitamins help to reduce the body’s production of the hormone DHT, the main hormone involved in genetic hair loss. Increasing your intake of important hair growth vitamins like biotin gummies can also make a huge difference in improving the appearance and thickness of hair while supporting growth.

Though there are so many non-surgical options for slowing the progression of hair loss and kick-starting your hair growth cycle, these methods achieve the best results when you catch your hair loss in its early stages. For those that are experiencing advanced hair thinning and even balding, a hair transplant often seems like the best option.

What is a hair transplant?

A hair transplant refers to a surgical procedure in which individual strands of hair and their follicles are moved from healthy parts of the scalp to bald parts of the scalp. This replaces the damaged follicles with functional ones, restoring the appearance of the patient’s full head of hair.

There are two main types of hair transplant procedures: micrografts and slit grafts. Micrografts only transplant 1 to 2 hairs per graft, while slit grafts transplant 4-10 hairs per graft. The dermatological surgeon in charge of the procedure will decide which type of transplant is needed based on the patient’s desired coverage and the size of their bald spots.

Hair transplants have several upsides, which is why they are such a prevalent choice in advanced hair loss treatment today. Though many other hair loss treatments take months to reap results, a hair transplant promises guaranteed results at the time of surgery. Plus, hair transplants use the patient’s own hair to cover bald spots, making sure that the patient’s hair looks like their bald spots never existed after the surgery.

Cons of hair transplants: Why they may not be the right choice for you

You may be wondering why everyone experiencing hair loss doesn’t just get hair transplant surgery. Though hair transplants may be the right move for some, the procedure has some downsides that should be considered before booking your appointment with the dermatological surgeon. Here are the top 5 cons of hair transplant surgery to be wary of:

  1. It’s an invasive surgical procedure. Though some people don’t bat an eye at the idea of going under the scalpel, this isn’t true for everyone. The fact that a hair transplant is a relatively invasive surgery requiring numbing and sedatives can make many potential patients uneasy and even scare them off. If you’re uncomfortable with surgery, there is luckily a wide variety of non-surgical hair loss treatments.
  2. Lengthy recovery time is involved. After a hair transplant, your scalp is especially susceptible to infection, scarring, bleeding, and numbness. Therefore, a recovery period between 10 days to 3 weeks is required for patients, involving no itching or pulling on the transplanted areas, avoiding direct sunlight to the scalp, and sleeping with your head elevated. Busy people who don’t want to deal with post-surgery recovery time shouldn’t choose a hair transplant as their hair loss treatment method.
  3. It could cause a wide range of undesirable side effects. As with any invasive surgery, you run the risk of experiencing unpleasant and even alarming side effects. These side effects can include:
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Bruising around the eyes
  • Numbness on the scalp
  • Itchiness or irritation
  • Hair follicle inflammation, or folliculitis

Non-surgical hair loss treatments rarely produce side effects, and if they do, they’re much milder and more temporary.

  1. It doesn’t prevent hair loss elsewhere on your head. Hair loss treatments like minoxidil, finasteride, low-level light therapy, and DHT-blocking products are designed to treat hair loss all over the head. Hair transplant surgery only fixes one balding area, which means hair loss could still occur in other areas of the scalp.
  2. It’s expensive. When you seek treatment in a surgeon’s office, the costs are bound to skyrocket no matter what you’re getting done. For hair transplant surgery specifically, costs can fall anywhere between $4000 and $15000—plus, most medical insurance companies don’t cover hair transplant procedures, meaning these expenses are usually out of pocket. This makes hair transplant surgery the most expensive hair loss treatment by far.

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