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How Many Hair Transplants Can You Have?

Getting a hair transplant is a big decision. It’s something most people hope they’ll only have to do once — and for more than two-thirds of patients, it is.

But hair transplants 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 [1].

number of hair transplants to achieve desired results 2022

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 and Wayne Rooney have each had 2 confirmed hair transplants, while James Nesbitt is said to have had 6 procedures to achieve his current look.

elton john before and after hair transplant

James Nesbitt hair transplant before and after

And 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. But in practice, most people won’t be eligible to have this many hair transplants — and they won’t need to. 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 — clinics that typically have high safety standards and skilled, experienced surgeons. Unregistered clinics may have a much higher failure rate that isn’t reported.

Some unlucky patients still don’t see results after 1 or 2 hair transplants. 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.

5 reasons you may need more than one transplant

You may need multiple hair transplants if:

  • A low number of your hair grafts survive the surgery, causing your hair transplant to fail
  • You haven’t achieved the results you want, even if your first hair transplant was successful
  • Your hair is still falling out, causing bald patches to appear around the transplanted hair
  • You want to repair a hair transplant that’s gone wrong
  • Your surgeon recommends multiple hair transplant procedures to manage continuing or future hair loss.

Hair transplant repair is one of the most common reasons for having a second or third hair transplant. 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 [1].

ISHRS Blackmarket Figures

Why do hair transplants fail?

Black market hair transplants are more likely to fail than procedures performed at reputable clinics. But any poorly executed hair transplant can fall short of patient expectations, usually as a result of one or more of the following:

Learn more about why hair transplants fail and how to make yours a success.

A failed hair transplant often leads to patients seeking another round of treatment. And while some people can have 2, 3, 4 or even 5 procedures, another transplant isn’t always the best choice.

Are you eligible for another hair transplant?

If you were considered a good hair transplant candidate the first time, you may believe that automatically makes you eligible for another procedure. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

Hair transplant eligibility depends on many factors. If it’s been many years since your last procedure, 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 amount of hair in your donor area

This is the most important factor in determining your eligibility for follow-up hair transplant procedures. The average donor area contains approximately 10,000 to 15,000 follicular units [2]. So if previous surgeries have depleted your donor area by overharvesting your follicles, you may not have enough left for future surgeries.

A good clinic should always consider the need for future procedures. They should extract the minimum number of 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 [3].

The reason you’re still losing hair

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 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 another hair transplant 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.

Questions about your initial eligibility

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. And even if you’ve already had one transplant, your surgeon may suggest trying alternative hair restoration treatments before booking you in for another surgery.

What’s the maximum number of hair transplants you can have?

If you’re eligible for future procedures, and your donor area is still full of healthy 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 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 follicles they need, you may be able to have multiple hair transplants over the years if you want them.

How to avoid needing multiple transplants

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.

But you can significantly increase your chances of hair transplant success by choosing the right clinic. They should:

  • Understand the importance of preparing and planning for future procedures
  • Be dedicated to helping you manage continuing hair loss
  • Help you design a suitable, realistic hairline
  • Have an excellent safety record
  • Be registered with local healthcare authorities (in the UK, this is the Care Quality Commission)
  • Have a named surgeon on their website with a fantastic record of performing successful hair transplants.

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.

How Many Hair Transplants Can You Have?, Wimpole Clinic

Sources:

  1. ISHRS: 2022 Practice Census Results
  2. Approach to Hair Transplantation in Advanced Grade Baldness by Follicular Unit Extraction: A Retrospective Analysis of 820 Cases
  3. Complications in Hair Transplantation
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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