A common misconception regarding hair transplants is that the client will have a full head of hair immediately after the procedure. For a variety of reasons, this is not possible and it can take a full year, or even longer, for the hair transplant results to be final.
While a hair transplant is a safe and efficient procedure, it is also a long term process. Understanding how the transplanted hair grows will help to keep expectations realistic. For the average hair transplant client, the initial growth is slow and the hairs that do grow in are short and thin. After some time, additional hair growth will be noticed and this growth will continue to improve up to one year and beyond.
Exactly how long it takes for the transplanted hair to grow is highly individual and depends on many different factors, including the health of the client and the overall success of the hair transplant. A couple of weeks after the hair transplant surgery, hairs are expected to fall out. This is normal and occurs to all hair grafts after any hair transplant procedure. Over the following weeks and months, usually within the first 3 months, the client can expect to see a few new hairs growing in. The hair may not grow in evenly, but will do so eventually. The new hair will most likely be thin but will thicken over time.
After about 6 months following the procedure, the client will notice a greater amount of growth, and the hair that is growing will now be longer and thicker. Between 6 months and 1 year the client will see the most significant difference from before the hair transplant. The hair will be longer and thicker than ever and the overall look will have much more density than before. The appearance of the client at this point is often dramatically different than before the procedure. When a full year has passed since the procedure, the client will see the final result. However, it is possible to see additional improvements even after one year.
While it may take a while for all the transplanted hairs to grow, even as long as up to 1 year, the hair that is growing is permanent and will continue to grow for a life time. This new hair will look and feel like any other hair on the scalp and can be handled just like normal hair would. It requires no special treatment and can be styled in any way. While a hair transplant can dramatically improve the overall look of someone with a balding head, it is definitely also a long term procedure where the client needs to be patient and have faith in the whole process.
Photo via Dr_Alan_Bauman