Hair transplant

A hair transplant is a procedure to move hair to an area that's thin or bald.

It's not available on the NHS because it's cosmetic surgery.

Having a hair transplant is a big decision. Find out as much as you can, so you know what to expect.

Read more about deciding whether cosmetic surgery is right for you.

How much a hair transplant costs

A hair transplant in the UK can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £30,000, depending on the extent of hair loss, the type of procedure you have, and the quality of the clinic and its team.

Who can have a hair transplant

A hair transplant is suitable for people with permanent baldness, the type that runs in families.

It's not usually suitable for people with other types of hair loss, such as the type that causes bald patches (alopecia areata).

What to think about before you have a hair transplant

Choosing who will do your hair transplant

If you're thinking about having a hair transplant in England, check the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

All independent clinics and hospitals that provide cosmetic surgery in England must be registered with the CQC.

Be careful when searching the internet for clinics that do hair transplants. Some pay to advertise their services on search listings.

It's important to find a surgeon who is qualified and experienced in carrying out this type of surgery.

All doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and have a licence to practise.

Check the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS) website to see if the surgeon is a full or affiliate hair transplant member.

Ask your surgeon:

Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure.

What a hair transplant involves

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT, or strip method):

A hair transplant is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and sedation, which means you'll be awake but will not feel any pain.

There are 2 types of hair transplant.

The head does not need to be shaved – only the area where the skin is removed is trimmed.

Follicular unit extraction (FUE):

Hair transplants usually take a day, but you should not need to stay overnight.

If a large area is being treated, you may need to have 2 or more sessions a few months apart.

Your surgeon will tell you how to look after your graft. You should be given a spray to use to help recovery and hair growth.

Recovery

Side effects to expect

Most people are able to return to work about 3 days after having a hair transplant.

You need to be very careful with your transplanted hair for the first 2 weeks after your operation. The grafts will not be secure.

You may be told to cut down on exercise in the first month to reduce scarring.

After 2 to 5 days: any bandages can usually be removed, but you should not touch the grafts.

Day 6: you should be able to wash your hair gently by hand.

After 10 to 14 days: any non-dissolvable stitches can usually be removed.

After a few weeks: the transplanted hair will often fall out, and later start to grow back.

After 6 months: new hair will usually start to appear.

After 12 to 18 months: the full results should be seen.

It's common after a hair transplant to have:

What could go wrong

A hair transplant is generally a safe procedure, but as with any type of operation there's always a small risk of:

Your surgeon should be able to treat these problems quickly.

There's also a small risk the transplant will not take and the hair falls out, or a noticable scar may form.

Your surgeon should explain how likely these problems are and how they would be treated.

Your hair might continue to thin around the transplant. Your surgeon should plan the design of the transplant to make sure the hair looks natural as time passes.

What to do if you have problems

Cosmetic surgery can sometimes go wrong and the results may not be what you expected.

You should contact the clinic where you had your hair transplant as soon as possible if you have severe pain or any unexpected symptoms.

If you're not happy with the results, or you think the procedure was not carried out properly, speak with the surgeon who treated you.

Contact the Care Quality Commission (CQC) if you have concerns about your care. If necessary, you can raise a concern about a doctor to the GMC.

The Royal College of Surgeons has more information and advice about what to do if things go wrong with cosmetic surgery

More information