Hair restoration surgery is performed in our state-of-the-art office facility with maximal comfort. The procedure is done under local and tumescent (dilute numbing solution) anesthetic. Hair can be harvested using either FUE or strip harvest techniques. Our certified technicians then prepare the hair, which is replanted in the desired area in 1 or 2 hair units by our board certified plastic surgeon. During your procedure, you will listen to music of your choice, watch a movie, read a book, or take a nap. Dressings will be placed and you will be ready to comfortably go home to recover.
Length of surgery
Length of stay
Outpatient (home the same day)
Back to work
3 to 7 days
Mild (anticipate 2 to 3 days of prescription pain medication)
Mild to moderate; should be gone in 2 to 3 weeks
Common, but should fade within 7-10 days following surgery
Your newly transplanted hair will grow for a few weeks, then shed completely. It will take about 3-4 months for the new hair to begin growing again, and 1 year before it reaches maximum thickness.
What is the difference between “micrografts” and “plugs”?
“Plugs” are an older technique of hair restoration, where larger clumps of hair were transplanted from the back of the head to the frontal hairline to make the hair appear thicker. Unfortunately, when the clumps of hair are transplanted, it can appear unnatural, and resemble “dolls hair.” The latest advances in hair restoration surgery involve “micrografting” or “minigrafting” where only a few hairs at a time are taken from the back of the head and transplanted to the frontal hairline. The same number of hairs are transferred, as in the older “plug” technique, but the hairs are now more evenly dispersed, giving a much more natural appearance.
What is Follicular Unit Transplantation?
Follicular Unit Transplantation, or FUT, is an even newer technique than micrografting, where hair is harvested in 1-3 hair groups and transplanted as a 1-2 graft unit, rather than single hairs. This allows hair to be harvested more naturally and quicker, resulting in shortened procedure time and better hair graft viability. It also allows for a more natural appearance of transplanted hairs.
What is Follicular Unit Extraction?
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a newer technique of hair harvesting that extracts 1-3 hairs at a time (Follicular Units) from dense areas using a small punch, rather than harvesting a large “strip” of hair and then sectioning it into 1-2 hair grafts. The difference is that with FUE, there is no linear incision across the back of the head. Alternatively, the “punch” harvest sites are allowed to heal in naturally leaving a diffuse area of harvest and avoiding the linear scar. Both harvesting methods are perfectly acceptable and common in today’s hair restoration market. You should discuss this with your hair restoration surgeon and discuss what will be best for you.
How much does a transplant cost?
We price our procedures based on the number of grafts transplanted in a surgery. The amount varies from patient to patient depending on the specific characteristics of the individuals’ hair and amount of loss. The most important thing about the price of a transplant is to remember that the most expensive is not always the best and the cheapest is usually not ideal. It is important to have a full evaluation by a board certified plastic surgeon and make sure that he or she actually does your hair restoration surgery. There are many places that hire technicians to do every step of the work while the physician is not present – this is not ideal. At NorthShore Plastic Surgery Center, a physician will perform your hair restoration surgery. There will be support staff present to make sure your surgery goes quickly and smoothly, but the physician will be in charge of harvesting and placing the grafts.
How long does a hair transplant procedure take?
Anywhere from 3-8 hours depending on the site and nature of the transplant.
Am I awake during the procedure?
Yes. A local anesthetic is used to numb the scalp. This way, you are able to read, watch television, or sleep.
Is a hair transplant painful?
There is minimal discomfort during the initial numbing.
What is “scalp reduction” surgery?
Scalp reduction surgery is also an older technique, where much of the balding scalp was just excised and sewn back together. Unfortunately, this too, tends to give an unnatural appearance to the scalp, leaves a large scar, and also “stretches back” over time, leading to continued baldness. While some surgeons may still perform scalp reduction surgery, in general this technique has been replaced with micrografting and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).
When will I see the results from my hair restoration surgery?
For the first few days following surgery, you will have crusting and scabbing over most of the treated areas. Once this crusting clears, you will have stubbly, newly transplanted hair in the previous areas of thinning and baldness. However, these hairs will actually begin to fall out as well about a month after your procedure. Don’t be alarmed – this is completely normal. The hair will then begin to grow back around three months after your procedure and reach maximal growth and thickness at one year following the procedure.
What are the limitations of hair restoration surgery?
There are certain limitations to these procedures. In most cases, it is not possible to restore the hair to the state it was in before hair loss began. The art of hair restoration surgery involves using what hair you have left to fill in areas of deficiency and give the appearance of a fuller head of hair. There may still be areas of thinning and even baldness, but these areas can be camouflaged using the latest hair restoration techniques. Furthermore, hair restoration surgery will not prevent further hair loss – this is a natural process controlled by your own body. Fortunately, hair restoration can be combined with medical treatments to slow the hair loss process and give you the best results possible.
Will I continue to lose my hair after surgery?
Hair restoration surgery does not stop the hair loss process. It only fills in what’s missing at the time of surgery. That is why it is best to wait until hair loss has become stable. There are other medical treatments, which are able to temporarily halt hair loss and may be used in addition to your hair restoration surgery. Should you continue to lose more hair following surgery, you may very likely be a candidate for “touch up” or secondary hair restoration procedures in the future.
What do I look like after the surgery? Can I go to work the next day?
After surgery, the scalp will have some redness and scabbing on the areas where the grafts were transplanted. These should heal within 4-5 days. Most patients, who have a procedure on Thursday or Friday, return to work by Tuesday the following week.
Are women good candidates for hair transplantation?
Hair loss in women can be hereditary, like in men, but can also be due to other stressing factors, such as childbirth, menopause, medications, and psychological stress. Hair loss in women requires a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of thinning hair. Many times, hair loss due to stress will subside over time and the hair will grow back. Hair loss that persists, however, may be amenable to hair restoration surgery, even in women. If you are a woman experiencing thinning hair, sit down and discuss this with your surgeon to determine whether or not you are a candidate for surgery.
What are some alternatives to hair transplantation?
There are several non-surgical hair replacement options. These include: hairpieces, cosmetics for the scalp, topical solutions, and oral medications.
Is hair restoration surgery only for people with genetic scalp hair loss?
No. Hair can be transplanted to any portion of the body for almost any reason. Patients who have had damage to their scalp, eyebrows, and other areas may benefit from hair restoration to these areas as well.
I had a hair transplant 20 years ago. I have large grafts containing 8-12 hairs. Is there any way I can get a more natural appearance?
Many times the larger, “pluggy” grafts can be removed, dissected into single follicle grafts and re-transplanted for a more natural result.