How Long Does a Hair Transplant Take to Grow?

14th March 2018

How Long Does a Hair Transplant Take to Grow?

Hair transplant procedures will always involve a certain amount of time for recovery, healing and growth of the new hairs. How long it takes for the hair to regrow is a commonly asked question that is often asked by men and women during their consultation process with us at The Maitland Clinic.

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure in which donor hair follicles are moved from areas of strong, permanent hair to the affected areas of baldness. The two main methods of “harvesting” this donor hair are:

  1. Strip or FUT (follicular unit transplantation) and
  2. FUE (follicular unit extraction / excision)

The “strip / FUT” procedure  involves taking a single “strip” or piece of skin from the back & sides of the head and then dissecting it under microscopes to produce individual follicular unit grafts (naturally occuring clusters of 1 to 4 hairs).

The same follicular unit grafts are obtained from an FUE procedure, but with FUE the dissection process is carried out directly from the scalp using a small punch device (a <1mm circular punch which “cores” around the individual follicular units and allows them to be extracted using fine forceps).

The strip/FUT procedure leaves a linear scar which can be concealed under the remaining donor hair (usually worn at grade 4 or longer). The FUE procedure leaves tiny dot scars where the hair grafts have been removed and tends to permit shorter hair cuts than one might wear following a strip/FUT surgery.

The hair grafts are implanted into tiny slits (or incisions) in the balding recipient area. The mild trauma associated with this process can push the hairs into the resting phase of their growth cycle. Each hair follicle has its own life cycle, consisting of a growth phase (anagen), which can last between two and six years, and a resting phase (telogen) which lasts a few months.

Hair Transplant Growth After 3 Months

With most of the transplanted hairs falling into their resting phase, there is an inevitable period of 3-4 months where there is very little to see in terms of new hair growth. In fact, during the first few weeks of recovery after a hair transplant, the grafted hairs tend to shed and therefore the early results can look rather disappointing and thin.

Rarely (in our experience at The Maitland Clinic), some of the original native hairs in the transplanted area can also be pushed into the resting phase of their growth cycle (telogen), resulting in a temporary thinning. This is known as shock loss or shedding. Provided these hairs have more growth cycles in store, they recover and regrow, usually during the first 3-9 months after a hair transplant.

We find that thinning of hair in the recipient area is uncommon in our clinic because we use techniques to minimise this shock loss phenomenon. Certain hair loss medication, such as finasteride tablets, can also help to stabilise pre-existing hair and reduce the risk of postoperative shock loss.

This appearance of thinning caused by shedding of newly grafted hair and some of the original native hair is often referred to as the “ugly duckling” phase of recovery. We like to keep in close contact with our patients in these early months so that we can encourage and reassure them during this time.

The initial resting, or dormant, phase passes within 3-6 months and the exciting time of new hair growth kicks in. Our hair grows about 1.3 cm per month; faster in summer than in winter. Most hair transplant patients see the bulk of their growth between 5 and 12 months after surgery.

Some patients see surprisingly early and rapid growth, looking impressive by 6 months post-op. This can worry those patients that are slower to grow, but they, too, should expect to see their new grafts grown through by the 12 month stage.

Hair Transplant Growth After 12 Months

Between 12 and 18 months after a hair transplant procedure, results often continue to progress as the newly grown hair grafts improve in texture and thickness.

One of our recent patients kept a video diary where he tracked his recovery and how long his hair has taken to grow back after an FUT hair transplant at The Maitland Clinic. Watch this below.

Book Your Consultation

If you would like to know more about how our hair transplant procedures could help you, please contact us. We can talk things through over the phone and then book a consultation for you with our senior patient advisor, David Anderson.

During the consultation process we will answer any questions you have and can also recommend the most appropriate procedure to suit you. We only ever recommend hair transplants when we believe it’s the best choice for you as an individual.