Woman Hair Transplant
Woman hair transplant is definitely less common than hair restoration surgery is for men. It can be a great option for the latter since 90% of men who are balding can be considered as good candidates. However, the same is not the case for women.
You need to have a specific type of hair loss to be considered a good candidate for hair transplants. Women usually face thinning all over the head, including the back and side of the head, which is where the best donor sites are. If thinning occurs there, it can be hard to get hair to transplant onto other parts of the head.
Hair transplant procedures are usually associated with men with male-patterned baldness, but the trend for women’s hair transplant is also on the rise. Hair restoration surgeons have found that around 27% of patients are women. Women often turn to surgery to move their hairline lower or increase the density of hair around their face.
Since woman hair transplant is growing in popularity and benefiting from innovations in industry, it is time we outline everything you should know about it. Here is a complete guide on hair transplants for women.
Difference between Male and Female Hair Loss
Men and women both go through hair loss, which is known as androgenic alopecia, medically speaking. Commonly, it is called female or male pattern baldness. This hair loss typically occurs due to a number of reasons, including hormones, age, and genetics. Due to the product of certain enzymes and hormones in females, it can be harder to find the exact reason behind the hair loss for a woman.
Male pattern baldness can be easier for specialists to diagnose simply by observing it and asking routine questions about medical history and family. Hair loss in men usually occurs as thinning on the top and front of the head. The hair on the back and sides tends to remain stable. This is a common pattern, even though the severity and degree of the hair loss can differ.
On the other hand, women lose hair in a diffuse fashion, which means that the hair loss occurs all over the head. This is important to note because of how hair transplant works. The donor or stable sites, the back and side of the head, have follicles and hair that doesn’t get affected by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT makes follicles shrink, which can cause hair loss. This is why when you get follicles that are resistant to DHT from the stable areas to the front and top of the head; it ensures that they won’t fall out later on.
However, female pattern baldness occurs all over, so donor areas are often unstable too. These areas are thinning. Donor areas do get affected by DHT, which kills the follicles. This makes it highly likely that it will just fall out anyway. It can be unethical to transplant the hair from an unstable area to another since there is no chance of success.
One more key difference between the female and male pattern baldness lies in the front hairline. Women usually keep the front hairline while men don’t. Women worry more about the volume loss on the back and top of the head instead of how much hair is framing the face. Since hair transplants are designed to just move the hair from one area to another, it doesn’t do much in terms of volume.
Common Hair Loss Types for Females
Female hair loss occurs in three main ways: patterned, diffuse, and localized. Localized hair loss also includes more sub-categories, including non-scarring and scarring.
Diffuse hair loss is the most common type among women. The hair loss occurs only on the top and front of the head. The sides and back don’t face too much thinning at all.
Patterned hair loss is less common than diffuse, but women with this type retain their front hairline more. The thinning of the hair usually takes back in the section along the hairlines or further back.
Patterned hair loss is easier to treat through a hair transplant since those candidates are the most suitable. It means that the high retention of hair on the sides and back can indicate DHT resistance.
Localized hair loss occurs when the loss of hair is mainly in certain areas of the head. This type of hair loss can result in bald spots on the head that look distinct to other areas.
Common Causes for Hair Loss in Women
Male hair loss is pretty easy to diagnose in terms of finding the root cause. Women hair loss can occur due to various health conditions, where the hair loss occurs as a side effect of the health issue. This is why it can often be difficult to determine the reason for hair loss among women simply through observation. Diagnostic tests must be conducted to find the underlying issue.
There are many factors that can lead to female hair loss. Diffuse hair loss type can occur as a side effect to some medication such as birth control pills and mood-altering medication as well as gynecologic conditions, nutritional deficiencies, stress, or radiotherapy/chemotherapy. Localized hair loss usually occurs due to an injury or accident as well as from alopecia-based conditions.
Research has also noted that diffuse hair loss that is occurring due to a side effect from medication can often be falsely diagnosed to be a genetic issue. However, when diagnosed properly, ceasing to take the medication can stop the hair loss. Radiotherapy or chemotherapy is the same way, but when the hair returns, the thickness can be impacted.
Hair loss that occurs due to therapy or medication does make a good candidate for woman hair transplant. However, the eligibility criteria depend on whether the hair has DHT-resistance and is strong. Where the hair loss took place also matters when it comes to eligibility for transplants.
Woman Hair Transplant Types
Woman hair transplant is a great option for people who are facing hair loss. The surgeon moves a follicle from any dense area to the affected areas. The donor area needs to be in a suitable condition so that the follicles that are moving into the new tiny slits on the scalp don’t fall out.
Two main types of woman hair transplant methods are available, depending on the hair loss type:
- The Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) is where the surgeon makes an incision to remove some skin from the stable donor area. It is closed back with stitches then a microscope is used to remove the tiny follicles from the donor skin, which are then inserted into the affected area.
- The Follicular United Extraction (FUE) is where the surgeon uses small punch tools to remove the follicles from the stable donor area. It can be less noticeable even if it results in some level of scarring, and people usually don’t need stitches afterward.
While both techniques are considered effective, the results can differ from case to case. One research in 2019 found that FUSS is quicker and requires less skill than FUE, but the latter can bring better results as long as a practiced surgeon does the procedure.
Most surgeons turn to the back or side of the head for donor areas, but skin from the chest, back, or chin can also be used. Body hair can be better for people who don’t get thick hair on the sides or back of their head. One study reports that the beard and body can actually be an excellent source for good donor hair. However, research also suggests that taking the hair from the beard or body can require more skill and time than scalp hair does.
There has been quite a lot of innovation when it comes to hair transplants too. There are now expert machines and robots that can analyze the scalp and transplant the follicles too, which can be a more accurate and efficient way to transplant hair.
Procedures can often take a few hours as we will talk about later. It all depends on the number of follicles to be planted as well as include the administration of local anesthesia.
Success Rate of Woman Hair Transplant
Woman hair transplants are an effective procedure to restore hair growth when hair loss has occurred. The success rate of the surgery can depend on different factors and can be hard to predict. The experience and skill of the hair transplant surgeon as well as the donor hair’s thickness have an effect on the result.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) does suggest that hair transplants are the modest way to reach fullness of hair. There are more dramatic ways to get fuller hair like tissue expansion, surgery for skin flaps, and scalp reduction methods.
There aren’t any large-scale studies that help us outline the success rate for transplants but some small studies have proven to be useful in giving us some idea of their effectiveness. A study discovered that majority of patients that had FUE from beard or body hair as well as scalp hair described their experience as satisfactory 2.9 years after the procedure. 79 patients ranked their overall satisfaction as 8.3/10.
What does PRP?
Another study found that therapy with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in FUE can increase the chance of success for FUE hair transplants. Participants who received the PRP therapy saw a 75% increase in hair growth within 6 months of the surgery. Improvements in skin recovery and hair density were seen, even more than non-PRP groups.
Even so, hair transplants are actually more successful than restoration products that you can get over the counter. There are some things you should note, though:
- 10-80% of the transplanted hair fully grows back in around 3 to 4 months.
- Transplanted hair can thin over time, just like regular hair does.
- Women that have dormant hair follicles may have less successful transplants. Dormant follicles are those where the hair exists beneath the skin but isn’t growing anymore.
It is also important to note that woman hair transplants don’t work for every individual. They are best for restoring thinning or balding from natural causes or even those from injury. Since transplants occur with existing hair, they don’t work for people who have widespread baldness and thinning, hair loss due to medication or chemotherapy, or thick scars on the scalp from injuries.
Average Cost for Hair Transplants
On average, woman hair transplants can range from $4,000 to $15,000. The final costs can depend on:
- Surgeons’ availability in the area
- Transplant procedure extent
- Surgeon’s experience
- Selected surgical technique
Since woman hair transplants are considered cosmetic procedures, health insurance doesn’t offer coverage for the procedure. You should also note that aftercare medication is also included in the cost.
While hair transplants can be expensive, paying extra can make a huge difference between results.
What Makes a Good Candidate for Woman Hair Transplant?
Women that have a diffuse hair loss type don’t make great candidates for the hair transplant procedure since they don’t have suitable donor areas on the side or backs of the scalp. They may not even have it in other areas of the body. But, hair transplants can help to significantly improve the appearance of some women. This can include:
- Female Pattern Baldness: The thinning of hair on the crown or top of the head with no or little thinning on the sides and back of the head.
- Alopecia Marginalis/Traction or Mechanical Alopecia: Hair loss that occurs on the sides, temple, or front hairline of the head. This can occur because of the constant usage of hairstyles in which the hair is pulled back tightly.
- Plastic Surgery: Women who have undergone cosmetic surgery treatments such as brow lifts or facelifts may choose hair transplant surgeries to hide any incision scars that are visible.
- Trauma: Any women who face hair loss due to injuries or accidents like burns (chemical or fire) can get hair transplants.
- High Natural Hairlines: Women can get hair transplant surgery to lower frontal hairlines so that they frame the face more.
- Transgender Persons Transitioning from Male to Female: Individuals may want feminine hairlines that frame the face more.
Benefits of Woman Hair Transplant
Woman hair transplant is growing in popularity since it has many real benefits that can help patients lead better lives. Here are some benefits of the procedure that you may not have considered before.
A lot of people can feel growing disappointment in the way they look if they begin to lose their hair rapidly. The hair transplant procedure gives them a chance to fill out the balding areas of the scalp with hair that grows naturally. It can help people more attractive and confident.
You can also get your regular haircut and style. This is because the transplanted hair is the same as regular hair.
There are some holistic methods and topical treatments that are designed to help with thinning or falling hair. However, hair transplant procedures can be a great option for people who are facing severe hair loss and balding patches. It is permanent and reliable.
The only real way to eliminate balding completely is through a hair transplant. Once you get the hair transplant, the area won’t face hair fall ever again. You will not have to deal with any balding patches or receding hairlines.
Hair transplant procedures only need minimal maintenance in the aftercare phase of the surgery. The transplanted hair is similar to regular hair. You don’t have to get any shampoos or chemicals to maintain the density of the hair. It is a one-time process that doesn’t need any upkeep later on.
Overall, hair restoration can be costly, but since it is a one-time procedure, it can save you money in the long run. You don’t have to worry about repeated sessions and trips to the doctor.
Hair transplants are painless procedures, but even then, local anesthesia is necessary in some cases. The person can return home after the procedure without issues.
How Long Is the Hair Transplant Procedure?
The hair transplant procedure can take around eight hours to complete. Any patient scheduling the surgery should be ready to spend their entire day in the medical facility. They may need a family member or friend to take them home once it’s done since patients often get sedatives for the procedure. Most facilities allow patients to watch movies or use their phones while the procedure is underway to keep themselves occupied.
However, you should remember that the results will never be immediate. Hair transplant results can take a few months to appear since the follicles need time to grow the hair.
Do Hair Transplants Look Natural?
You don’t have anything to fear since they look completely natural, but only as long as you select the right surgeon for the job. Candidates for hair transplants may have concerns about the success of their hair transplant result, but if you choose a qualified and talented surgeon, you will have nothing but success.
The scalp of a person is similar to a doll’s head. Credible surgeons can ensure that results look natural. We recommend going for a surgeon who has plenty of experience or one that uses the latest technology to assist them. Hair transplant should mimic nature in the closest way they can. Surgeons need to consider the appearance of the patient and their features. Every patient shouldn’t be approached with the same style since they all have different hair color, hair caliber, hairline, hair curl, etc. The directions and angles of the patient’s cowlick and part line can also differ. The doctor will need to recreate all of these features to make sure it looks as natural as possible.
Recovery from Woman Hair Transplants
The recovery phase from woman hair transplants is an important one. The FUE and FUT procedures can take a few hours to complete, if not days. This all depends on the amount of work is being done by the surgeon, but in most cases, you can go back home on the same day.
When the surgery is completed, the bandages will be removed as carefully as can be by the surgeon. They can look out for any signs of swelling. To counter the swelling, the doctor can inject triamcinolone into the affected area.
Patients may experience soreness or pain in the transplant and donor areas of the scalp. In such cases, the doctor can prescribe the medications below:
- Pain medication like ibuprofen
- Antibiotics as prevention from infections
- Anti-inflammatory pills for swelling like oral steroids
- Finasteride or minoxidil to stimulate hair growth.
Tips for Hair Transplant Surgery Aftercare
Here are some helpful tips that can help you in the recovery phase of the hair transplant.
- Patients should wait for some days after the procedure before washing their heads. The best practice is to use mild shampoos that will be gentle on the scalp for at least the first few weeks.
- Patients can return back to normal activities and work in around 3 days after the surgery has taken place.
- Make sure not to comb down or brush the transplant areas for at least 3 weeks to reduce strain or damage to the new follicles.
- Make sure not to wear any pullover shirts, jackets, and hats until the doctor gives you the thumbs up.
- You can always ask the doctor for this, but most recommend not exercising for a week after the surgery.
If some hair does fall out after the surgery, don’t sweat too much. It is normal, and not every transplanted hair will seamlessly match the hairs in the area or grow a lot in the first few months.
Hair Transplant Side Effects
ASPS has found that woman hair transplants are safe if performed by an experienced and qualified surgeon. However, there can be some side effects even in successful surgeries that you should be aware of. Before you get the surgery, make sure to speak to the doctor candidly about the side effects before the procedure is done. In the meantime, here are the most common side effects of hair transplants.
Bleeding or Infections
Some hair transplant procedures require the surgeon to make an incision or cuts into the skin. The donor follicles are removed from the scalp to remove any donor follicles. These tiny incisions may be done in more than one place. As with any cut or incision, there is a risk for excessive bleeding or infection.
Patients also have to deal with the risk of getting scarring on the transplant area and the donor area.
In the FUSS process, there is a linear and long scar where the doctor has to remove a skin strip. The scar gets hidden when the new hair begins to grow around it. However, it can widen while healing, making it more visible. If the person gets a short hairstyle or the hair thins, the scar will probably be visible.
In the FUE method, the surgeon will use punch tools to remove the follicles from the scalp. But the scar is never as big as the one that comes from the FUSS method. People can also get some raised bumps where the transplant hair was placed. When the hair starts to grow back, the bumps can be hidden.
Swelling or Pain
When the skin is healing in the recovery phase, some people can experience some level of pain. You should let your doctor know so that they can get you pain relievers. The face and head can also swell up a little when the skin is healing.
Other Potential Side Effects
While swelling or scarring is the most common, some rarer side effects can include:
- Scalp itching
- Inflammation of the hair follicles
- Pus or crust around the sites
- Loss of sensation around the sites
- Visible hair areas that are much thinner or don’t match the other hair
- Continuation of hair loss if you continue to bald
Side Effects from Medications
The medications prescribed to you for the pain can also have some side effects on the body, including:
- Irritated scalp
- Chest pain
- Breast, foot, or hand swelling
- Irregular heart rates
- Sexual dysfunction
Are Woman Hair Transplants Painful?
Doctors often use a local anesthetic during the surgery to make sure the area is properly numb. You may also receive a sedative to make sure you don’t feel any pain during the surgery. Ensuring maximum comfort and minimizing the pain is an important job for the doctor. Reviews show that patients can get comfortable as the surgery progresses, and some even fall asleep during it.
Some people can experience some mild pain or discomfort in the recovery phase of the surgery. However, the pain tends to minimize as days pass and can be managed quite easily with simple pain relievers.
How to Prepare for the Hair Transplant Surgery?
There are some guidelines you must follow to prepare for the surgery. The surgeon usually gives you some specific instructions to ensure minimum side effects and the highest possible success. This can include avoid some medications or vitamins as well as guidelines for smoking, drinking, and eating. Smokers should stop smoking for at least a week before the surgery because it can interfere with the healing process and decrease the amount of blood flow to the skin.
By making sure you follow the instructions, you will be able to ensure that the surgery goes well.
Another thing you should take care of is to make sure that you get someone to drive you back home after the surgery is done. You should also schedule the surgery so that you will have a day or two to rest before you get back to your daily activities and work.
Are Hair Transplants Permanent?
To put it simply, they definitely are permanent. There is no way to test the hair transplant process on a small region on the head to make sure that you like it before getting it. There is no option to go back once the surgery is complete and the transplanted hair will not fall out either.
You should also know that hair loss can continue to occur in other areas while the transplanted hair sticks around. You can have additional hair transplant sessions once the first procedure is done.
How Long Does It Take for the Results to Show?
Transplanted hair can take around four months to start growing after surgery. But mostly, it can take around a full eight months for 80% of the hair to grow. Any transplanted hair on the crown of the head takes even longer. Make sure to follow the advice of the doctor and not lose hope too soon; the hair will come!
Woman hair transplants are a great option for people who are struggling with hair loss. Rapid hair loss can really damage the quality of life for women since it can make one self-conscious. By getting the surgery, you will be ensuring that you have received a permanent solution for your hair issues. Hair transplants are an easy solution that can improve your life and looks in just one day!