Hair Replacement

Hair transplantation involves removing small pieces of hair-bearing scalp grafts from a donor site and relocating them to a bald or thinning area. Techniques include punch grafts, mini-grafts, micro-grafts, slit grafts and strip grafts for a more modest change in hair fullness.

Hair replacement candidates must have healthy hair growth at the back and sides of the head to serve as donor areas. Donor areas are the places on the head from which grafts and flaps are taken. Other factors, such as hair color, texture and waviness or curliness may also affect the cosmetic result.1

There are limits to what can be accomplished with hair replacement. An individual with very little hair might not be advised to undergo hair replacement surgery.

4; Local anesthesia is provided so that it is pain-free, and painkillers are prescribed. During the recovery stage, follow-up consultations/procedures are required.


The treatment is very meticulous, and depends on the number of grafts. It can last anywhere between 6-10 hours.

Hair transplants should last forever. The hairs used are permanent. However, large cases may not do as well depending on how long it takes to complete the case.3

Although there is some confusion about who can perform hair replacement, AmSpa believes that most states consider or will consider hair replacement to be a medical treatment. Because of this, prior to your initial treatment, the medical spa should offer you an in-person exam by either a doctor, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. While each state treats each procedure differently, AmSpa recommends that only an RN or higher-level practitioner perform hair replacement therapy. Please check with your local medical board, nursing board or health care attorney for more information.

Possible side effects include:

  • As with any surgical procedure, infection may occur.
  • Excessive bleeding and/or wide scars, sometimes called "stretch-back" scars caused by tension may result from some scalp-reduction procedures.
  • In transplant procedures, there is a risk that some of the grafts won't "take."
  • Although it is normal for the hair contained within the plugs to fall out before establishing regrowth in its new location, sometimes the skin plug dies and surgery must be repeated.
  • At times, patients with plug grafts will notice small bumps on the scalp that form at the transplant sites. These areas can usually be camouflaged with surrounding hair.
  • When hair loss progresses after surgery, an unnatural, "patchy" look may result-especially if the newly-placed hair lies next to patches of hair that continue to thin out. If this happens, additional surgery may be required.4

Because strenuous activity increases blood flow to the scalp and may cause your transplants or incisions to bleed, you may be instructed to avoid vigorous exercise and contact sports for at least three weeks. Some doctors also advise that sexual activity be avoided for at least 10 days after surgery. In general, it's best to anticipate that you will need a touch-up procedure. Your surgeon can usually predict how extensive your follow-up surgery is likely to be.5

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