Getting a hair transplant is a big decision. Hair transplant surgery is something most people hope they’ll only have to do once. The good news is that for more than two-thirds of all hair transplantation patients, it is.
In this article, we’ll explore how many hair transplants you can have, why transplants sometimes fail, and how you can minimise the need for multiple hair transplants.
Hair transplant surgeries aren’t always a one-and-done affair. Hair transplant statistics from the ISHRS census 2022 found that almost 32% of patients needed at least 2 hair transplants to achieve their desired results for treating male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss .
Even famous celebrity hair transplants don’t always go right the first time. Wayne Rooney’s hair has thinned a lot since his first hair transplant. Elton John, Jonathan Joseph, and Wayne Rooney have each had a second hair transplant, while James Nesbitt is said to have had 6 hair transplants to achieve his current look.
Learn more about Elton John’s hair transplant and Jonathan Joseph’s hair transplant.
Even Elon Musk is said to have had multiple hair transplants. Hair transplant veteran Spencer Stevenson has had more than 10 procedures to get his hair looking thick, full, and natural.
In theory, there’s no upper limit to the number of hair transplant procedures you can have. However, in practice, most people won’t be eligible to have this many hair transplants and most won’t need to have more than a single hair transplant procedure in their lifetime. The vast majority of patients (96.8%) achieve the look they want after 1 or 2 procedures.
That said, it’s important to bear in mind that these results come from ISHRS members who come from hair transplant clinics that typically have high safety standards and skilled, experienced surgeons. Unregistered clinics may have a much higher failure rate that isn’t reported.
You may need multiple hair transplants if:
Hair transplant repair is one of the most common reasons for having a second or third hair transplant operation. This is because many patients are tempted by cheap black-market hair transplants in Turkey and other countries where surgical safety standards are often overlooked.
A staggering 96.4% of ISHRS hair transplant surgeons worldwide reported that up to a quarter of their hair transplant repair cases were due to black market transplants .
Black market hair transplants are more likely to fail than procedures performed at reputable hair transplant clinics. Any poorly executed hair transplant procedure can fall short of patient expectations, usually as a result of one or more of the following:
A failed hair transplant often leads to patients seeking another round of treatment. While some people can have 2, 3, 4 or even 5 procedures, another hair transplant isn’t always the best choice.
If you were considered a good hair transplant candidate the first time, you may believe that automatically makes you eligible for a second hair transplant procedure. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Hair transplant eligibility depends on many factors including hair characteristics. If it’s been many years since your first hair transplant operation, it may now be too late to have a hair transplant. Your surgical team should assess you again before each additional procedure. So what can affect your eligibility for multiple transplant surgeries?
The availability of healthy hair follicles in the donor area is the most important factor in determining your eligibility for a second hair transplant surgery. The average donor area contains approximately 10,000 to 15,000 follicular units . So if previous surgeries have depleted your donor area by overharvesting your hair follicles, you may not have enough left for future surgeries.
A good hair transplant clinic should always consider the need for future procedures. They should extract the minimum number of hair follicles needed to give you the best results. They should also be upfront about whether your desired hairline is realistic, given the amount of donor hair you have.
As a guideline, surgeons should only ever extract up to 25% of the available hair in your donor area .
Continuing hair loss is a common reason people opt for a second or third hair transplant. This is usually down to poor hair loss management.
Many patients (especially those who suffer from female or male pattern hair loss) will need supplementary treatments like Minoxidil or Finasteride to minimise hair loss, even after a hair transplant procedure. If you don’t use these treatments as directed, or they don’t have the desired effect, you may need a second hair transplant operation further down the line.
However, some hair loss conditions — like telogen effluvium and alopecia areata — can affect you even after a hair transplant. These can’t be addressed with further hair transplants, so your clinician should reassess the cause of your hair loss before prescribing an additional procedure.
Our research into UK hair transplant costs found that some shady clinics will do whatever they can to get you in the chair. This includes confirming your eligibility — even if you actually weren’t a good candidate for a hair transplant in the first place.
Young people who are still losing hair may benefit from non-surgical treatments first. If it’s too early to get a hair transplant, you can try hair loss management solutions instead. Even if you’ve already had one transplant, your surgeon may suggest trying alternative hair restoration therapies like laser hair loss treatment before booking you in for another hair transplant surgery.
Future hair transplant surgeries will depend on how many grafts you will need and the available donor hair left to transplant. If you’re eligible for future procedures, and your donor area is still full of healthy hair follicles, there’s no maximum number of hair transplants you can have. You can continue having hair transplants until you run out of donor hair.
The bad news is that this also works in reverse. If your first transplant surgeon harvested most of your donor follicles, you may not even be eligible for a second hair transplant.
That’s why it’s essential to choose a clinic that plans for future procedures. If your surgeon is scrupulous about only taking the hair follicles they need, you may be able to have multiple hair transplant procedures over the years if you want them.
Having multiple hair transplants isn’t always avoidable. Sometimes graft survival is compromised by factors outside your surgeon’s control. For example, you may have been prescribed Finasteride to manage your continuing hair loss, but stop taking it due to side effects like Finasteride hair shedding and erectile dysfunction.
However, you can significantly increase your chances of success by choosing the right clinic that can expertly guide you through the hair transplant process. They should:
The Wimpole Clinic has all of these — plus a hair transplant success rate of 97-100%. Whether it’s your first procedure, a hair transplant repair, or top-up surgery to restore your continuing hair loss, we can help you get the hairline you want.
Book a free consultation with our hair transplant team to learn more and ask any questions you really want to ask about hair transplants.
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