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Why Do Hair Transplants Fail?
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Updated on January 9, 2023

These days, the best hair transplant surgeons confidently expect close to 100% of their procedures to be successful. This surgery is now so advanced that anyone considering hair restoration can fully expect to enjoy effective and long-lasting results. 

However, a quick search on the internet will reveal that not all hair transplants are considered to be successful. Some patients end up having hair transplant regrets. So why do some hair transplants fail? What can go wrong? And, if you’re thinking of opting for this popular procedure, how can you ensure that your results will provide the aesthetics you’re hoping for?

Why Hair Transplants Fail

In the top clinics, a hair transplant could be classed as a failure if the patient is not satisfied with their results. In a more literal sense, a hair transplant has failed if a significant portion of the transplanted hairs fails to become established in the new site and grow naturally and permanently after the recovery period. 

While there are a number of specific reasons that some hair transplants aren’t successful, they usually fall into two categories; the transplant wasn’t done well (or wasn’t appropriate) in the first place, or the patient didn’t follow the aftercare instructions. In some cases, the failure may be a result of both of these aspects combined. 

It’s important to note that the success of any hair transplant can only be determined a number of months after the procedure was carried out. Some patients may see their newly transplanted hairs falling out a few weeks after the surgery and hastily assume that the procedure has failed. However, the shedding of these initial hairs is a completely natural part of the recovery process and doesn’t mean the follicles have not become established. In most cases, the hair continues to regrow successfully after this initial shedding period. 

What Can Go Wrong

Some of the ways that the surgery itself is responsible for the subsequent failure of a hair transplant are;

  • overharvesting
  • poor hairline design
  • insufficient or patchy transplants
  • an unskilled or inexperienced surgeon
  • unnecessary scarring
  • patient suitability failure

Post-operative care or the patient’s self-maintenance can contribute to a failed result, such as; 

  • not protecting the newly transplanted follicles
  • poor hygiene practices that result in infection
  • scratching the scalp, resulting in scarring or dislodging the implants
  • lack of aftercare practices that support recovery and transplant success

Check out what a hair transplant gone wrong may look like and what to do about it – warning  – images may be a little disturbing.  

Tips for Successful Hair Transplant Results

The good news is that many of these issues can easily be prevented. Here are some suggestions for ensuring the best possible results.

  1. Investing some time in good research and due diligence in selecting your surgeon and clinic can reap dividends in terms of your results and satisfaction. We have prepared a guide that looks as cost as an indicator of quality to help choose the right clinic with your budget.  
  2. Opt for the best you can afford. When it comes to a highly-skilled surgical procedure, the old adage You get what you pay for can be a good indicator of what to expect.
  3. Having realistic expectations yourself and good communication with your surgeon can help to ensure that you know what’s possible, as well as helping the surgeon understand clearly what you are hoping to achieve.
  4. Take extra special care of the newly transplanted follicles in the days following the procedure. The degree that patients manage their post-operative care can play a vital role in the success of any hair transplant.
  5. Maintain good recovery practices and maintenance habits while the hair is becoming established, which can take up to 12 months after the transplant surgery.
  6. Choose a clinic that includes a comprehensive follow up service, to ensure that you’re doing all the right things to support your fragile new hairs, or to receive rapid remedial attention if things begin to go wrong. This is one of the drawbacks when travelling abroad for the procedure.

While the vast majority of modern hair transplants result in successful outcomes and delighted patients, it’s impossible to guarantee perfect results in all cases, especially when either clinic or patient chooses to cut costs or cut corners. But by carefully selecting the right hair transplant clinic for you, along with realistic expectations, good communication and the best possible aftercare, you can fully expect that your hair transplant will be one of the many success stories.

Additional sources:

  1. Complications in Hair Transplantation
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)Updated on January 9, 2023
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Updated on January 9, 2023

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