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Can A Hair Transplant Treat Thinning Hair?

Hair transplantation is one of the most effective ways to treat thinning hair. FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) hair transplants can restore your hair to its original thickness, even if you have long hair, which is why they’re the most popular hair restoration procedures.

Most hair thinning is caused by hereditary hair loss, such as female or male pattern hair loss. 81.1% of all hair transplants are performed on people with genetic hair loss, so if your hair is thinning due to an inherited hairline, hair transplant surgery could be the right option for you [1].

However, there are many other reasons why your hair may be thinning. Hair transplants aren’t always appropriate — so it’s important to get the right diagnosis before opting for hair restoration surgery. Find out when a hair transplant works for thinning hair below.

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What causes thinning hair?

The most common causes of thinning hair include:

In the early stages of hair loss, it’s not always easy to tell if your hair is thinning or if you’re paranoid. Addressing hair loss early often makes it easier to treat, so if in doubt, get a diagnosis from a hair loss specialist.

When to consider a hair transplant for thinning hair

Hair transplant procedures are usually suitable for the following individuals:

It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of hair transplants are chosen by people with androgenetic alopecia, a type of genetic hair loss commonly known as male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss.

Hair transplants work when hair is thinning at the root, rather than along the hair shaft. If you have long hair and you notice thinning at the ends but not at the scalp, you’re more likely to have hair breakage than true hair thinning. In these cases, a hair transplant procedure is unlikely to be effective.

What happens in a hair transplant procedure?

There are two types of hair transplant techniques to choose from: FUE or FUT. You and your hair transplant surgeon can choose the type of hair transplant method right for you based on your hair type, level of hair loss, and hair restoration goals.


FUE hair transplant surgeries are often the more chosen method of hair transplantation due to their quicker recovery time.

In an FUE hair transplant, the surgeon extracts hair grafts from a safe donor area where the hair follicles are healthy and not subject to genetic hair loss (this is usually the back or sides of the head).

These hair grafts are then implanted into areas of balding or thinning. This surgery takes a few hours to complete and the patient can go home afterward.


Informational graphic explaining the differences between the FUT vs FUE hair transplant procedure


In a FUT hair transplant operation, the surgeon removes a strip of skin containing viable, healthy hair follicles from the donor site (again, this is usually the back or side of the head). The strip of skin is then divided into individual hair grafts and transplanted into areas where the hair is thinning or balding.

As a result of removing a strip of skin, the recovery time for a FUT hair transplant is longer and lasts usually 7-14 days.

In both hair transplant procedures, patients can expect to see the full growth results of their transplanted hair 12-18 months post-transplant surgery.

When is the right time to get a hair transplant for hair thinning?

Hair transplants are a great option for those with thinning hair. However, a hair transplant operation should always be the last resort for treating hair loss. Depending on the extent of your hair loss, there may be other non-surgical treatments you can try first to improve hair growth.

The Norwood Scale shows the progressive stages of genetic hair loss in men. The Ludwig Scale is used for women. You can use these diagrams to assess the extent of your hair loss.

Norwood Scale used to diagnose the level of hair loss for individuals who suffer from male pattern hair loss
Norwood Scale used to diagnose the level of hair loss for individuals who suffer from male pattern hair loss
Ludwig Scale used to diagnose the level of hair loss for individuals who suffer from female pattern hair loss
Ludwig Scale used to diagnose the level of hair loss for individuals who suffer from female pattern hair loss

Hair transplants are only usually considered for people at stage 3 or later on the Norwood Scale, or advanced stage 1 on the Ludwig Scale. If your hair loss hasn’t progressed this far, other treatments like Minoxidil or Finasteride may be worth considering first.

While it can be too early to get a hair transplant, it’s also possible to leave it too late. If you put off getting a hair transplant, your thinning may reach a stage where it’s difficult to get the coverage you need (for example, if you develop retrograde alopecia).

When is a hair transplant not suitable?

Some hair loss patients aren’t eligible for a hair transplant. This is usually the case for people with the following conditions [2]:

If your hair is thinning and any of the above apply to you, a hair transplant may not be suitable. Very young patients and those who are medically unfit for surgery are also ineligible [2].

If your hair thinning is due to lifestyle factors (such as stress and poor haircare), your hair growth will normally return by itself when the underlying cause is addressed. So there’s no need for a hair transplant in these instances and your hair will eventually regrow without surgical intervention.

Can a hair transplant treat hair breakage?

Hair breakage is often mistaken for hair thinning, especially in women and people with longer hair. Breakage happens when your hair shafts get damaged, causing the ends to snap off. If this happens in large volumes, it can lead to hair looking noticeably thinner at the ends.

Can A Hair Transplant Treat Thinning Hair?, Wimpole Clinic
Thin hair ends due to poor haircare practices.

Hair transplants replace hair you’ve lost from the root. So if your hair follicles are healthy but your hair strands are snapping off, a hair transplant won’t make a difference.

Many hair treatments and styling practices lead to hair breakage around the crown and hairline. 40% of people who had chemical hair straightening reported their hair was thinner and weaker afterwards [3]. More common practices, such as blow drying and using hair straighteners and curlers, also cause bulges and dents in your hair strands, as well as hair thinning [4].

If your hair is thinning at the ends but healthy at the roots, visit your hairdresser for a haircut to make your hair look thicker and healthier. Avoid heat styling your hair to preserve your healthy new tresses.

Alternatives to a hair transplant for thinning hair

If your hair is thinning at the root but you’re not sure if a hair transplant is right for you, there are other options to try:

Each of these treatments has varying levels of success depending on the cause and extent of your hair loss, as well as your response to the treatment.

If these treatments don’t work, or you want to see more improvement in your thinning areas, a hair transplant may be the best option.

What should I do if I am considering getting a hair transplant for thinning hair?

If you are concerned about hair loss and are considering treatment, it’s important to first get an assessment and seek the advice and expertise of an experienced hair loss specialist who can diagnose and treat your thinning hair.

If you decide to pursue hair transplantation, make sure that you find a reputable clinic and hair transplant surgeon to perform it. Our advice is to first take a look at your chosen clinic’s hair transplant before and after photos and hair transplant reviews to get an idea of the results you can expect. Then speak to a reputable hair transplant consultant who will give you free, honest advice about your eligibility, and the results you can expect from your procedure.

Book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic to diagnose your hair loss, find out more about the hair transplant procedure, and get the answers to any hair loss consultation questions you have.

Can A Hair Transplant Treat Thinning Hair?, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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