The Saratoga Hair Center at Williams

5 Reasons Why Hair Transplants Fail

With any aesthetic procedure, there is a possibility that you may not experience complete satisfaction with the outcomes and hair transplantation is no exception to this possibility. To minimize these undesirable results, it’s crucial to know the factors that could lead to a less-than-ideal outcome.

What Does a Failed Hair Transplant Look Like?

A failed hair transplant may look different for each individual. For example, if you wanted to hide your bald spot, a failed transplant might still leave you with a mostly empty scalp or new hairs that just do not grow. Some people might have a hair transplant that worked, but it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to. For others, the transplant just didn’t work at all.

A total hair transplant failure means that over 30% of the transplanted hair doesn’t survive. In these situations, you may end up with patches of hair that don’t blend well.

Reason 1: Hair Graft Rejection

Uncommonly, the body can reject hair grafts, meaning those implanted hairs won’t grow. This rejection usually happens because of a condition called LLP (Lichen Planopilaris). LLP is a specific kind of hair loss condition where inflammation occurs at the top part of your hair follicles, resulting in them getting replaced by scar tissue. While it’s not confirmed, there have been some associations found between undergoing a hair transplant and the possible development of Lichen Planopilaris. Other inflammatory conditions may reduce the success of hair transplantation such as cicatricial and frontal fibrosing alopecia.

Reason 2: Ineligibility for A Hair Transplant

Getting a hair transplant is not always an option for everyone. Some people might not be eligible for this procedure due to various reasons, such as their overall health or the condition of their hair and scalp.

The overall health of your hair and scalp may significantly impact the outcome of your hair transplant. If your hair is in poor condition or hair is transplanted onto your scalp from a different part of your body, the results may be negatively impacted. The quality of the implanted hair may suffer or result in failure of the hair transplant.

Picking the wrong time to get a hair transplant can backfire too. If you’re dealing with male or female pattern baldness, having a transplant when it’s too early might lead to more bald spots later on. Your hair goes through changes as you get older, and these changes can affect how the outcome looks. It is recommended that you wait until you’re around age 22 to see how your hair loss develops before considering surgical treatments for hair loss.

Reason 3: Poor Post-Hair Transplant Care

Doing what your surgeon tells you after your hair transplant is important for obtaining good results. Good care after the procedure helps the new hair roots settle in, improves healing both for the new hair and the donor site it was taken from, and makes sure the hair stays healthy. If you want to make sure you’re looking after your new hair the right way, you can read our article Hair Transplant Recovery: The Do’s and Don’ts.

Once your surgery is done, try to change how you sleep to make sure you don’t rub the newly transplanted areas too much. This can help prevent hair loss and reduce any swelling after the operation. Also, for the first few weeks after the surgery, be careful not to press down too hard or pull on the new hair roots to keep them in place.

To take care of yourself after the transplant and get the best results, it’s a good idea to skip tough workouts, alcohol, very hot or very cold showers, and too much sun exposure for at least 8-10 weeks.

Reason 4: Poor Hair Transplant

The success of your surgery really depends on the state of your hair. It’s important to know what your hair can and cannot do. If you have unrealistic hopes, you might not be happy with the results. To avoid being disappointed after a hair transplant, talk openly with your surgeon about what you want and what’s realistic. They can give you good advice and let you know if your expectations are achievable. For instance, if you don’t have a lot of hair to use as donor grafts, it might not be possible to get really thick hair after the transplant.

Reason 5: Inexperienced Surgeon

Picking the wrong clinic can lead to a hair transplant that does not turn out well. Since hair transplants are common, many clinics and doctors offer them. But not all of these places are skilled and qualified enough to give you the best results.

A clinic that lacks experience might take the wrong hair from your donor area or take too much, which can make your hair fall out more and give you disappointing results. They also need to be really careful with the hair they take out during the surgery. If they don’t handle it right or keep it in the right place, it can to hair loss post transplantation because of the shock.

Dr. Slaughter, is our Dual Board-Certified Facial Plastics, Reconstructive & Hair Restoration Specialist here at The Williams Center who has performed numerous hair transplant surgeries. He completed additional training emphasizing Hair Restoration Surgery under the directorship of Dr. Michael Beehner, a coalition member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery and Platinum follicle recipient. Dr. Slaughter has received numerous awards throughout his training including excellence in teaching awards at Duke and UNC and surgical dissection awards for his unparalleled technical surgical skill. He has authored several scientific publications including research articles and book chapters on various topics including scar contracture scales, vascular lesions to hair graft survival rates. He is well respected by his peers and prides himself on detailed and compassionate patient care and meticulous surgical technique.

So, What Percentage of Hair Transplants Are Successful?

Whether a hair transplant works well is judged by how much of the transplanted hair grows back. If 80% or more of it grows back, it’s considered a success. Typically, hair transplants have a really good success rate, around 95 to 98%, Dr. Slaughter takes pride in a high success rate and provides each of his patients with great outcomes uniquely tailored to each individual.