A hair transplant is a complex and time consuming process that will require the client to stay patient for a long time, up to one year, before final results can be seen. But when it comes to the hair transplant surgery itself, it can be done in one day, unless the client needs several sessions. The exact time it will take to transplant the hair is impossible to predict, because it relies on so many different factors, but it can take anywhere from a couple of hours up to an entire day.
One of the most important factors when trying to estimate how long the hair transplant surgery will take is the choice of method. It is mainly the extraction process, the manner in which the hairs are harvested, that differs between the two major techniques. The FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) method almost always takes longer than the Strip, unless there is a very small area that is receiving the hair transplant. The reason why the FUE takes longer is because the extraction process is difficult and requires a very high degree of skill and precision. During the FUE, the doctor will extract each hair follicle manually, by hand. Tiny, microsurgical tools aid when extracting the hair follicles, but the doctor still needs to pay very close attention when removing the hairs or they can get damaged.
The Strip hair transplant method, on the other side, is known to be more time efficient than the FUE. During the Strip the doctor will harvest the hairs by removing a fairly thin and narrow strip from the back of the head from where after the wound will be sutured back together. The strip of skin will be dissected and hair follicles will be removed and prepared for insertion. Because this process does not require quite as much precision as the FUE, and can harvest more hairs faster, it is not as time consuming. The insertion process for both methods is fairly similar though each doctor has their own specific technique.
Overall, the precise number of hours for any hair transplant surgery cannot be calculated in advance, but depends on a variety of factors such as method chosen, number of grafts requested, the complexity of the transplant and many other factors. But the average client can expect at least 4 hours for a Strip surgery and a couple of more hours for the FUE, sometimes up to 8 or 10 hours depending on circumstances. Good thing is that most hair transplant doctors do not charge by the hour, but by the number of grafts that are needed. Still, an FUE with the same number of grafts as a Strip will most likely take longer, with the reason being that it is a much more labor intensive and technically demanding procedure.