One of the most common concerns of potential hair transplant patients is how long their hair transplant will last. A hair transplant in the UK costs £4,820 on average — and while it has one of the highest success rates of all cosmetic procedures, it’s still a surgical procedure that should be considered carefully.
So when you’re investing time, money, and trust, you’ll want to know how long you can expect your hair transplant to last.
How long will a hair transplant last?
The good news is that a successful hair transplant is permanent. A good hair transplant will last a lifetime, with your new grafts growing at the same rate as your healthy hair.
Donor hair for a hair transplant is taken from areas of your body where there is healthy hair growth. This is usually the back of the scalp, where hair is unaffected by male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. In men, donor hair can also come from your beard or even your chest .
Because the hair is taken from your own body, transplanted hair looks completely natural when it’s fully grown (according to the hair transplant growth chart, this is typically 12-18 months after surgery). And because the hair is taken from sites that are unaffected by pattern hair loss, the follicles will continue to produce healthy hair throughout your life. Take a look at the timeline of a hair transplant to learn more.
Patient before hair transplant and 6 years after hair transplant. Image credit: Youtube.com
Why is my transplanted hair falling out?
If your surgical team has assured you that your transplant results will last a lifetime, you may be alarmed to see your grafts falling out 2-3 weeks after your surgery. Don’t be! Shock hair loss in the weeks after surgery is a normal part of the hair transplant recovery process.
Shock hair loss can occur in the donor area or affect newly transplanted hairs. But research shows that this kind of hair loss is almost always temporary . As the new grafts settle in and your hair recovers from the surgery, you’ll start to see natural looking growth.
There’s some evidence to suggest that transplanted hair density can decrease over time . This, too, is normal — graft survival rate is usually around 90%; it’s rare for even the most experienced surgeons to achieve 100% . Medical solutions like Finasteride and Minoxidil can help promote graft growth.
Can you still lose hair after a hair transplant?
While the results of a hair transplant are usually permanent, it’s possible to lose more hair after a hair transplant. That’s because hair transplants can replace lost hair, but they can’t manage or stop continuing hair loss.
Without hair loss management, your hairline can continue to recede, or you may lose hair on the crown of your head. The transplanted areas will be unaffected, but the rest of your scalp is still susceptible to hair loss. That’s why your consultant should conduct a thorough assessment of your hair loss before prescribing treatment.
If your hair loss is still in its early stages, you’ll probably need to use medication (such as Finasteride or Dutasteride) and/or topical solutions (such as Minoxidil) to prevent continuing hair loss. These treatments are shown to be highly effective at slowing and even stopping pattern baldness [5, 6]. They’re often used as a hair transplant supplement to keep your hair looking full for as long as possible.
Is it possible to need more than one hair transplant?
Even if your first hair transplant was successful, continuing hair loss can give your hair a patchy, thinning look if left unaddressed. If your hair loss continues, you may need a second transplant to keep your hair looking natural, full, and even. According to ISHRS research, 31.9% of hair transplant patients have more than one procedure . For some people, a second hair transplant may even be pre-planned at your initial consultation.
Graph showing the number of transplant procedures needed to achieve desired results. Image credit: ISHRS
If it’s possible you’ll need another transplant in future, you should discuss this with your surgeon. There are a finite number of hair follicles available in your donor area, so surgeons should only harvest as many follicles as they need. Overharvesting follicles from the donor area is dangerous, as it means you may not have enough follicles for future procedures. It can also lead to excessive shedding and poor healing in the donor area.
Working with a reputable clinic and experienced surgeon can reduce the chances of overharvesting. They can also help you plan for ongoing hair loss, so your hair looks great for years to come.
What else affects how long your hair transplant lasts?
While most successful hair transplants last forever, there are certain complications that can shorten the lifespan of your transplant:
- Infection and necrosis — poor wound care can lead to infected grafts, which don’t heal and grow correctly. This can also lead to scalp tissue death (necrosis). Find out more about hair transplant infection and how to prevent it.
- Poor quality donor hair — if vellus hairs or other low quality donor hairs are used, the grafts are less likely to survive 
- Aggressive hairline design — if your hairline design is too ambitious given the extent of your hair loss and donor hair availability, the transplanted hair may appear thin and unnatural .
How to ensure your hair transplant lasts
There are a number of ways to make sure your hair grafts stay thick, full, and healthy.
- Follow your surgeon’s advice — take any post-hair transplant medication as prescribed, and be very careful with your transplanted hair in the days and weeks after surgery
- Make sure you’re a good candidate for hair transplant — certain types of hair loss (such as telogen effluvium and alopecia areata) can’t be addressed with hair transplant surgery
- Use a reputable clinic with a visible surgeon — inexperienced or unlicensed surgeons are one of the main causes of failed hair transplants. Use a trustworthy, reputable clinic with strict safety standards.
Learn more about how hair transplants work to understand why these things can impact the success of your transplant.
See our success stories
Wimpole Clinic patient James Walton before and after his procedure.
At the Wimpole Clinic, we have a 97-100% success rate. Take a look at our hair transplant customer testimonials, and see how we’ve restored many patients’ hairlines to full health — giving them fantastic results and lifelong confidence.
- International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery: 2022 Practice Census Results
- Complications in Hair Transplantation
- Longevity of Hair Follicles after FUT Surgery
- Review of Factors Affecting the Growth and Survival of Follicular Grafts
- Finasteride: a review of its use in male pattern hair loss
- Topical minoxidil in early male pattern baldness
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