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What Exactly Is a Hair Transplant?

We’ve all heard the term ‘hair transplant’ talked about as a surgical procedure for people who are dealing with hair loss.

However, because of some of the stigma attached to hair loss, it is quite rare for people to come out and speak openly about their procedures. This means that it’s difficult to know exactly what’s involved in the procedure, and more than this, what the results are like.

What’s involved in the procedure?

There are actually two types of hair transplant procedure. One is known as ‘FUT’ and the other as ‘FUE’.

‘FUT’ transplants have now become slightly outdated, but they are probably what most people think of when they imagine what a hair transplant might be. In a ‘FUT’ procedure, the patient is anesthetized, and a doctor then removes strips of tissue from the ‘donor area’ of the scalp – that is, the area of the scalp where hair growth is still healthy. This tissue is then cut into individual follicular units, which are then placed in tiny holes in the scalp in the area of the scalp where hair growth is poor.

‘FUE’ transplants is the modern technique of hair transplantation. In FUE hair transplant therapy, the patient only requires a local anesthetic, and the doctor will harvest individual hair follicles from the donor area rather than an entire strip of tissue. The healthy hair follicles can then be transplanted to the area of the head, which has poor hair growth, where it will grow hair naturally over time. The patient can opt to have several shorter procedures or one longer one, and generally, the recovery time is quick and quite painless. 

In FUE transplants, the work is carried out at a microscopic level, meaning that the patient not only experiences less discomfort but that the result is a much more realistic hairline.

The results speak for themselves

Several high profile celebrities have come out and talked about having hair transplants, which is great news as it has started to remove some of the stigma around the procedure. Some of the stars who have raved about the treatment are:

  • England star Wayne Rooney. He is quoted as being ‘delighted at the result’ of his hair transplant, which he chose to undertake after beginning to go bald at 25.
  • X Factor judge Louis Walsh is known to be very open about his procedure, which he undertook because he was thinning on top. He’s even been joking to his co-stars about them needing to get one too!
  • Joe Swash, known for his role as Mickey Miller on Eastenders, had a hair transplant early on in his career because he wanted to make sure that he looked good on screen. 

It’s not just men who undergo hair transplants either! Thinning hair is also a problem for women. It’s thought that Jennifer Aniston’s hair was damaged by the hair extensions she wore for her role as Rachel on Friends and that she has had hair restoration surgery to correct the bald patch that they caused.