[Skip to content]

Private Healthcare UK
Search our Site

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.


Hair transplants: what’s involved?

A hair transplant moves hair follicles that are genetically pre-programmed to grow continuously and transplants them to areas where the follicles tend to have a shorter lifespan. Most hair transplants move hair cells from the side and back of the head up to the crown and front. However, more recently developed hair transplant techniques allow hair to be transplanted from almost anywhere on the body, such as the chest or legs.

Hair follicles can be harvested either as a thin strip from the base of the back of the head, or as single follicular units approximately 1mm in diameter from anywhere on the body. There are advantages and disadvantages to each system, as this overview article will explain.


The history of hair transplants

Hair transplants date back to the 1950s when they were first performed by Dr Orentreich in New York. These transplants were very rudimentary and often resulted in highly clumped hair that was poorly arranged in unrealistic rows, creating what was known as ‘doll’s hair’. Although this kind of hair transplant was successful in that new hair grew on parts of the scalp that had become bald, it was not aesthetically pleasing. The results were often worse than the balding head before surgery.

Today’s techniques are far more refined and precise. Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques were introduced in the 1990s. These allow skin with as few as one or two individual follicles to be isolated and transplanted. Follicular unit extraction offers surgeons greater opportunity to blend transplanted hair with thinning patches of existing hair to create a seamless hair transplant.


Repairing past hair transplant mistakes

The new skills and techniques of modern hair transplant surgeons mean that they can now repair the unsightly mistakes of the past. This may involve further micrografts interspersed with the existing transplant to achieve a more natural look. However, in many cases it is better to remove old hair transplant grafts altogether and start again. The removed grafts can often be used to create a series of micrografts, which can then be re-implanted as part of the new hair transplant surgery.


Choosing the right hair transplant technique for you

Most men have the choice of the follicular unit extraction (FUE) method of hair transplantation or hair transplants involving the strip incision method, or follicular unit transplant technique (FUT), both of which are described elsewhere in this guide. There are advantages and disadvantages to the two different types of micrografting as the following table summarises. 


The strip incision, or follicular unit transplant (FUT) method of hair transplantation



A large number of micrografts can be harvested at once.

A permanent scar will be left at the donor site

Only one procedure may be required

Only scalp hair can be used

Micrografts can be expertly prepared before transplantation

There is a greater infection risk at the incision site

The follicular unit extraction (FUE) method of hair transplantation



Small micrografts leave no scar at donor site

More than one procedure may be required

Hair can be used from anywhere on the body

Body hair may be thinner and paler than head hair, so a perfect match may not be possible

Ideal for candidates with little available scalp hair

FUE micrografts cannot be placed as precisely as strip incision micrografts

You should always consult an expert to discuss in detail which technique will suit you best before you make your choice.


Choosing a hair transplant surgeon

With modern techniques allowing very precise positioning of micrografts to create an authentic and natural look, hair transplant surgery has become something of an art form. The best private surgeons perform remarkable work that stands up to even the closest of scrutiny.

Hair transplant surgery is both expensive and permanent, so it is well worth spending time researching a number of options before making your choice. Remember, you get what you pay for, so it is also worth waiting until you can afford good quality, rather than compromising in a rush to get it done.

You should choose your surgeon based on the quality of his work, and anyone worth considering should be able to demonstrate their skills with case studies and ‘before and after’ pictures. The more procedures they have undertaken, the more practised they will be, so experience should also be a major consideration.

The strip incision method requires a particular level of skill in the placement of the follicles, and you should ensure that your surgeon is fully experienced in this technique in order to maximise the outcome of your hair transplant.

You should also be prepared to be patient. Hair transplantation is highly skilled work that requires creativity in the selection and placement of the follicles. Your surgeon will want to take their time in assessing the work required before they commit to your procedure.


Get a quote

Get a quote for private hair loss treatment

If you would like a quote or more information on private hair treatment complete our hair loss treatment enquiry formWe will submit your enquiry for information about, or costs of private hair loss treatment to up to three clinics in your local area.

Complete the enquiry form....