Hair Transplantation Expectations – What to Expect Before and After

The single most important factor that determines the success of cosmetic surgery is, how satisfied the patient is with the outcome, and whether this is what was expected. Preoperative counseling regarding recovery and the procedure is equally important. Whether through discussions, or presentations or brochures, the patient should be given enough knowledge to develop a deep understanding of how each phase is important in determining the desired outcome.

A hair transplant procedure is relatively safe and carries a very low risk of complications [1]. Most of the complications that exist are avoidable with proper surgical techniques and wound care. Here are some potential complications of the procedure;

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Edema
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Drug-induced complication
  • Patient dissatisfaction (since it’s a cosmetic procedure)

While the procedure itself may be smooth, the recovery could be somewhat surprising, especially if you aren’t well aware of the hair growth cycle and its timelines. Therefore it is important to discuss recovery in as much detail as the procedure itself because patient counseling and proper planning play a vital role in avoiding patient dissatisfaction, and declaring the surgery a success.



With all the scabbing around the follicles, your scalp may not be very visually appealing immediately after the procedure. The transplanted follicles will now be in their new spots and you’ll be able to see your new hairline.

As far as scabbing is concerned, incisions are small and heal quickly. It is important to let scabs fall out on their own. If you pick them or scratch them, you might pull the follicles out.  You may be given painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics to tackle the pain, inflammation and prevent infection respectively. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages for a few days after surgery as well. You can read more about our Post Op Care Here.

The donor site has undergone trauma and some form of swelling should be expected however this will also subside in a few days. Forehead swelling, if any will also subside in a few days. In the case of the FUT/Strip procedure, there will be numbness that may take up to a couple of months to get resolved. Expect minor tenderness at the graft implantation site. For a smooth and quick recovery make sure you follow your surgeon’s advice like;

  • Keeping your head elevated while sleeping, since sleeping with the head and feet at the same level can cause edema
  • Instructions regarding showering and hair washing
  • Avoiding exercises that increase the circulation in the scalp leading to bleeding.

The more you take care of your scalp during these days, the better the chances of a successful transplant, and the quicker the minor effects like swelling and discomfort resolve. Normal activities and exercises can ideally be resumed within a week unless advised otherwise.

A healthy and balanced diet is of great importance during this period. Even though the follicles have been transplanted, your cells need to be nourished and any nutritional deficiency at this point can’t be afforded. Make sure you get enough Zinc, Magnesium, and vitamin B.  Also, avoid alcohol, junk food and smoking.

While it is important to be cautious and take care of the hair and scalp throughout the recovery, the first few days are crucial and it is best to take as many precautions as possible. Avoid chemicals and use only the products given or advised by the surgeon.



This phase of recovery might come as a surprise to you, especially if you are not familiar with the natural hair growth cycle and transplant recovery basics. Why? Because your newly transplanted hair will begin to fall out. To understand why this is completely normal, you need to understand that shedding of old hair is a natural part of the cycle and this is how new hairs are made. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a majority of the transplanted hair falls out within 6 weeks [2]. The newly transplanted hair essentially goes into a dormant phase.

So when will your new hair be visible? In another few months, that is once this dormant phase is fully over. Hair grows 1cm per month and for you to have a fair idea of the results of the procedure you will have to wait for 5-6 months minimum, and the final and complete look is achieved in 1-1.5 years. This is the point when your recovery is complete and now the transplanted hairs behave just like your natural hair.

Hair growth post-transplant doesn’t happen overnight and despite investing time, money, and effort in getting the procedure done, it’s unrealistic to expect quick results. It is very important to understand how the recovery moves from one phase to another and that the outcome you pictured will take time but will be life-long. Equally important is to acknowledge that post-operative recovery is highly dependent on efficient post-operative care because insufficient post-operative care is one of the major reasons behind an unsuccessful hair transplant.


Follow-up Procedures

Follow-up or touch up procedures are not for everyone, but once the swelling subsides and incisions heal, you may require another procedure to achieve a more natural-looking result. This can be achieved using a combination of mini-grafts, slit-grafts, or micro grafts depending on what your doctor decides to do to fill in the hairline.

Discussing recovery, its various phases, its timelines, the need for touch-up procedures, and aftercare is therefore of immense importance during the early consultations. While this gives the patient an understanding of the procedure, post-operative phase, and possibility of complications that can seriously spoil the outcome, it also gives the surgeon an idea of your expectations and an opportunity to manage them quite early in the entire hair restoration episode.






Hims and Keeps- Hair Loss Solutions Explained

Men above 35 and those who haven’t hit a genetics jackpot would know that male-pattern baldness is a frequently encountered problem. Even more frequently encountered are brands that offer hair loss solutions that not only claim to completely halt the loss but also promise hair re-growth. What really makes the entire deal tempting is the convenience of assuaging your concerns without having to leave the house. But, remember that convenience comes with a price.


Hims and Keeps and several other online brands are just the tip of the iceberg. By Iceberg I mean the Telemedicine industry, a booming industry these days. Many such startups offer people hair loss solutions in the form of topical agents, pills or gummy vitamins, promising hair re-growth as well as assuaging other hair and scalp issues.


However, the burning question here is, whether these options are a solution to all your hair issues or just a gimmick to make a profit? Do these really make a difference, and if not, then what is the real solution?


 Let us discuss the flaws in such setups and if they’re really worth trying or not.


Doctor-Patient Interaction

Most of the hair loss solutions offered by Hims and Keeps and various other such companies are medicines that are otherwise prescribed by a doctor after a thorough consultation and examination. This is the most invaluable step that an online purchase, if not completely, partly skips.


What if, you’re misdiagnosed and hair loss is not male-pattern baldness, instead there’s an underlying reason for it? An online setup will surely not be able to run the relevant tests and investigate that.


Drugs like Finasteride and Minoxidil are a general regimen offered by them after a brief online consultation, that too at a substantial discount as compared to a pharmacy. Both the drugs have important side effects that need to be discussed with the patient before they’re prescribed and only a doctor can decide whether or not the medicine will benefit an individual, its route of administration or if an additional drug needs to be given to enhance the efficacy.


Yet another important consideration is if the medicine being given is really needed?  Not everyone needs to start with a pill directly, some respond to topical agents and some might need a transplant in the very first stage.


Is It Really A New Remedy?

Not really! Most of the medicines that are offered by brands promising complete halt to hair loss, hair re-growth, and other stellar results are in reality simple medicines, vitamins, and supplements that you can buy anywhere, just in a simpler package.


Propecia, for example, is a generic drug now that is marketed under different names. This gives such startups an opportunity to add ingredients without any proven efficacy to it and sell it under their own brands.


In a nutshell, you are more or less given one of these or a combination of Finasteride (1mg) also known as Propecia, Minoxidil (Rogaine), and Biotin (Vitamin). While these drugs are effective in regions with thinning hair, they have no role in hair re-growth in bald patches, and pretty much like all the other medicines, they have side effects. It is therefore extremely important for your healthcare provider to assess whether the benefits outweigh the adverse effects.


Is Surgery A Better Option?

While there are medicines that can be effective in stopping the hair loss, the reality is that once you start losing hair follicles in a region, they become dormant and lose their capability of producing hair.


In simple words, the medicines may have noticeable effects in early cases but in case of substantial hair loss, there’s not much that can be done. However, a hair restoration surgery in such cases has been proved to be effective. With the advancement in technology and the introduction of newer techniques, there has been a significant improvement in;

  • Patient satisfaction
  • Results (more natural looking)


There are two types of hair transplant methods, Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). The choice of method depends on what you and your physician mutually decide. The former has been there for more than 2 decades and involves the removal of a strip of skin with follicles from the donor site and requires wound care during recovery. FUE, on the other hand, is a fairly newer technique that removes follicles without the removal of a strip of skin, thus addressing the concern of scar at the back of the head. Also, there is a lower post-operative discomfort in FUE.


Hair restoration surgery is a powerful tool that can make a great difference in the lives of people affected by androgenic alopecia.  An experienced and trained surgeon will first decide if you’re an ideal candidate for the procedure or not, but once you opt for it, this minor surgery can make some major changes in your appearance and your life. Here are a few reasons why you should choose it over other solutions;

  • A permanent solution for people facing severe hair loss
  • Low maintenance is required once the surgery is done. You don’t require special shampoos or oils to take care of the transplanted hair.
  • One procedure can give excellent results.


If you’re considering a surgical option for hair restoration, consulting an experienced, skilled, and trained surgeon will assuage all your concerns. Recent advancements have made hair transplant surgeries a convenient and long-term solution.



Robotic Hair Transplants (ARTAS Machine) – Things You Should Know

Robotic Hair transplant (ARTAS system) – a breakthrough in hair restoration surgery, is in simple words, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) carried out by a robot/machine. The system relies on algorithms to identify hair ideal for transplant and with advanced technology predetermines the recipient site. Before we discuss how it is different from the traditional FUE let us first throw some light on how the system works.


How It Works

ARTAS is a computer-assisted, physician controlled system that automates the FUE method of hair transplantation. The procedure involves attaching a digital imaging device to the donor site of the patient’s scalp, and then mapping and relaying the image to a bigger screen. The system then makes use of algorithms to identify follicular units based on their individual characteristics. Once the exact location of each unit is pointed out, a graft is prepared for harvesting.

A robotic arm equipped with a needle extracts the graft and once done, it rescans the donor site for the next extraction. The technology has gained immense popularity over the years and the growing interest in it is mainly because of the benefits it offers;

  • Minimally invasive
  • Less discomfort
  • More precise and quicker extractions
  • Quicker return to normal life
  • Reduced risk of human errors like mishandling
  • No fatigue
  • Takes care of the technical challenges physicians are fazed by.

Undoubtedly, the minimally invasive procedure offers a great amount of precision and speed; however, there are certain drawbacks that one should consider before deciding to go for it.


Increased Cost

While there may not be much difference in the final outcome of both the procedures (Robotic hair transplant and the traditional FUE), there is certainly quite a lot of difference in the cost. The Robotic transplant is heavier on the pocket, as compared to the manual FUE procedure.

The final cost of the procedure still, is determined by factors such as the amount of hair loss, its progression, and the number of grafts required.


Limited Region for Hair Extraction

While ARTAS may be able to take into account hair follicle features like angle, direction, orientation, distribution, and density in order to identify the ideal candidate, it still struggles to pull out hair from limited regions of the head. The ARTAS machine works in small blocks and does not do a very good job with the curved features of the human scalp. Therefore, it’s necessary to reposition the machine several times. Sometimes, surgeons even use ARTAS for a small portion of the procedure and then do the more difficult portions manually.


Bigger gauge needle

The needle used during a Robotic hair transplant is around 1-1.2mm gauge needle, bigger than some used in manual FUE. Also, its approach of a two-step punch (the inner punch scores the skin, the outer punch dissects follicular units from the surrounding tissue) increases the size of the punches and limits the quantity of hair from the donor area.

This is one of the major downsides of the robotic procedure since this directly affects the healing rate and occurrence of complications. In simple words, a smaller needle means lesser infliction of trauma to the tissues in the recipient site, lesser visible scarring, and eventually quicker healing.

 A highly skilled surgeon, on the other hand, is able to pinpoint the target site with great precision with a small gauge needle, thus saving the surrounding hair follicles from the damage as well. While this may not be a concern for those who have big patches of hair loss, it is of great value for those who still have a fair quantity of hair in the area surrounding the region that needs to be treated.


Not All Candidates are Ideal

The imaging technology of the ARTAS currently works well on people with dark and straight hair only. FDA still hasn’t approved ARTAS for female patients, people with curly hair or light hair.

 The mapping camera is fairly large, requiring the patient to sit in a prone position with their head strapped down. The position becomes pretty uncomfortable if maintained for hours.


A Tool Is Only As Good As The Hands That Wield It

No matter how sophisticated the entire procedure becomes, it still cannot replace the knowledge, expertise, and skills of a surgeon. While it is an incontrovertible fact, that with ARTAS even a less experienced healthcare professional or a neophyte surgeon may be able to carry out the procedure, one still needs to remember that when it comes to surgery, we need to look beyond technology being offered, because in the end, robots are merely tools that offer assistance and they’re programmed and controlled by humans.

For natural-looking results, there are constant readjustments that need to be made during the procedure, which can only be assessed by an expert and not a robot.

In a nutshell, It is true that ARTAS is an excellent FUE tool, that offers a great deal of precision, speed and amazing results, however, it is also true that no matter how advanced and independent the system becomes, it still requires an experienced, skilled and trained surgeon to deliver the stellar results it promises.



Hair Transplant Turkey (or other non-US countries) – What You Should Know Before You Go!

If you’re considering getting a hair transplant in Turkey or another non-US clinic, then you should carefully consider all of the pros and cons. This article highlights some of the things to look out for when dealing with clinics in another country.


The booming health tourism industry of Turkey has made it one of the most sought after places, especially when it comes to cosmetic procedures like hair transplant. There are literally hundreds of hair transplant clinics in and around Istanbul, Turkey. Some are good…many are very bad.  But how do you know what you’re getting into?

Even though the country has established itself as one of the best value-for-money destinations, and is home to some highly skilled surgeons, one can’t simply turn a blind eye to the threats and risks of undergoing a medical procedure there.

Turkey because of its strategic position between Asia and Europe becomes an easily accessible spot as compared to other countries and is often preferred as well. If you have been toying with the idea of undergoing a hair restoration surgery there too, this piece may very well help you in making the final decision and hopefully the right one!


Illegal clinics

When it comes to a hair transplant outside the US, one of the biggest concerns is the mushrooming of unregulated and illegal clinics that do not have the license or permission to practice. Medical tourists being unaware of how the black market hair transplant clinics operate in the local area, fall prey to such setups.

It is important to know that by law, only hospitals and registered medical centers equipped with surgery rooms and emergency units are allowed to perform the surgery. However, due to lack of monitoring and auditing by the concerned authorities, there is a surge in the number of illegal clinics and people operating these are on the loose.

While this is indirectly affecting the genuine clinics, the bigger loss is still faced by people going to these illegal clinics for treatment. The issue has become so serious over the years that The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has started a campaign against all such fraudulent practices all over the world [1]. The campaign aims at educating people on tips to look for a certified physician for their treatment.

The growing competition, on the other hand, compels them to trap as many medical tourists as possible, which not only means attractive packages and lowered costs but compromised quality.


Under qualified Professionals

The doctor you choose for your hair transplant is the single most important decision made while going for the hair restoration surgery. An under-qualified professional or a technician handling your case is a sure shot ticket to a botched-up procedure.

A consumer alert issued by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) highlighted the increase in the number of technicians performing the surgery and its drastic consequences [2]. Read this article for more things you should consider before traveling for a hair transplant.

The most important aspect often ignored by most people is, that no matter how minor a procedure/surgery is, it is after all a surgery and has the potential to get complicated at any stage. The probability of a complication is even higher if the doctor;

    • Misdiagnoses
    • Overlooks specific types of alopecia
    • Fails to consider the importance of strict monitoring due to co-morbid conditions
    • Advises unnecessary surgery or makes use of wrong techniques
    • Adopts bait and switch technique to lure more tourists

It is not uncommon to have patients turning to surgeons in the US for correcting the damage done, but sometimes the damage is irreversible and there is not much that can be done.


False Advertisements

One issue faced while searching for a proper clinic is that there is no other option except for relying on testimonials and reviews on the web, which could be real or paid. Internet is teeming with bogus claims and false advertisements of fraudulent companies and poorly skilled doctors.

You might also come across fraudulent intermediary companies or individuals, who serve as the connecting bridge between you and the illegal clinics. This also doesn’t give you a chance to assess and verify the credentials of the doctor.

In such situations, the ideal is to have a proper consultation in person, where both the parties are well informed.


Lack of Post-Operative Care

Successful surgery is not just when the procedure is carried out well; it is also how satisfied you are with the outcome, which in turn is determined by;

    • Realistic expectations (that you and your doctor set together)
    • Appropriate surgical method and technique
    • Excellent post-operative care

The recovery phase has a huge impact on the outcome, and anyone traveling back to their country immediately after the surgery is surely risking it. Infections during this phase can cause permanent scarring, and could even be life-threatening.

Adhering to instructions and guidelines and seeking immediate medical attention at this time, in case of anything unusual, is of immense importance.

Imagine coming back home with a complication and looking for a new doctor without any record of the procedure carried out and beginning right from scratch. The whole point of saving money goes down the drain in addition to the trouble and discomfort that one faces at this point.


What to look out for?

Now that pros and cons of hair restoration surgery in Turkey have been discussed, here is a list of questions that a prospective patient can ask regarding the procedure, its risks and benefits. Once you have these and other questions in your mind satisfactorily answered, you’ll know if you have chosen the right place or not;

    • Who will perform the surgery and their experience, training, and licensure in treating hair loss?
    • Malpractice insurance?
    • What happens, when something goes wrong?

Undoubtedly, Turkey has established itself as one of the best value-for-money destinations. It is believed that the industry surpassed over $1 billion in 2018 [3]. But, with poor sanitary measures and easily obtained qualifications the procedure may very well be affordable, however, its consequences are bound to be costly.