Hair Transplantation
Salt Lake City & Park City

What is hair transplantation surgery?

Remember the days of transplanted tufts of hair? Of hair plugs? Those days are over — hair transplantation today is far more successful, far more natural looking, and far more effective.

Unlike what some think, hair follicles do not grow one by one, but within groups of one, two, three, even four follicles called follicular units. The greatest technological advance in hair transplantation surgery has been our ability to microscopically separate these units of one, two, three, and four follicles and transplant them into the bald or thinning areas as they were in the donor area, including their attachments and glands.

Candidates for hair transplantation surgery

Anyone seeking to fight back against baldness is a good candidate for hair transplantation surgery. The best candidates will have healthy hair growth at the back and sides of their head since these are the places where the grafts and flaps will be taken.

Hair transplantation procedure

Today, hair transplant surgery is performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation and only takes around three hours. The procedure involves removing small pieces of hair-growing skin grafts from the side and/or back of the head, and then transplanting them onto the areas the patient seeks to have hair again. These are the different types of grafts:

  • Round-shaped grafts usually have about 10-15 hairs per piece.
  • Mini grafts have from two to four hairs.
  • Micro-grafts have one to two hairs each.
  • Slit grafts, which use a different surgical technique, contain about 10 hairs.
  • Strip grafts, longer and thinner, contain about 30 to 40 hairs.

Sometimes multiple surgeries are needed to attain your desired results. Your hair type will also influence the procedure and affect the results.

Recovery and results

Patients are sent home one to two hours after the procedure with a head bandage. You will return one to two days post-operatively to remove the dressings. From there, you’re free to perform your normal activities, so long as post-operative instructions are followed to avoid damaging the transplanted hair grafts.

In the first 15-30 days after your procedure 80% of the transplanted hair follicles fall out, losing the follicles but leaving the roots. At this stage, there is also a relative decrease in natural hair growth due to the surgical stress of the procedure. Don’t get discouraged — this is normal. It is important to know that all natural hairs that fall out after surgery will grow back. From the new roots (transplanted hairs), new follicles will grow. These new follicles begin to fill in the transplanted regions of the scalp about three months after the procedure. After this period, they will grow an average of one centimeter per month, with the final results appearing after 12-18 months.

Since these transplanted hairs do not contain the genetic code for baldness, they will never fall out — the resulting hair transplants are for life; however, your natural hairs (not transplanted), which contain the genetic code for baldness, will continue to fall out over time. This may necessitate a need for second and third transplant sessions at later dates.

Related Procedures

Learn about other restorative treatments and procedures available from Dr. Renato Saltz, Utah plastic surgeon.