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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

Can Pulling Out Transplanted Hair Effect Growth After Hair Transplant?

Q: At about six days post op, I started to notice hairs on the tips of my fingers as I rubbed off my scabs. Additionally, if I tugged on the hairs lightly, they would immediately come out without any resistance. I did notice the small bulb at the end of the hair. My question is: is it not recommended to remove these hairs that have separated from the follicle? Should I just allow them to fall out on their own, or does it matter at all? Can pulling hairs out at 10 days post op effect growth differently than individuals who allow the hairs to fall out naturally? — T.T., Boston, M.A.

A: At 10 days it should usually not make a difference, but I would still just let the hair fall out naturally when you shampoo. If there are any crusts (scabs) on the hair they are cosmetically bothersome, they can be gently scrubbed off in the shower at 10 days when very tiny recipient sites are used and you should wait slightly longer if larger sites were used. Since I don’t know the technique or site size used in your procedure, I would wait a full two weeks to be certain the grafts are permanent.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Proposes Improvements to FUE Hair Transplant Procedures

In the latest in a long line of improvements made to hair restoration procedures, Dr. Bernstein has published an article in Hair Transplant Forum International which improves the FUE procedure even further, whether performing follicular unit extraction with the FUE robot or by hand.

In his article, Dr. Bernstein suggests two techniques to enhance the FUE procedure. First, he recommends that surgeons create recipient sites prior to extraction, in order to decrease the time grafts are in their holding solution outside the body. Second, he suggests adding time between site creation and graft harvesting and placement, to allow recipient site healing to progress.

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Hair Restoration Answers

After Hair Transplant What Is Normal Growth Cycle of Hair?

Q: After my hair transplant procedure I had some shock loss, and then after about 4 1/2 to 7 months I had tremendous growth — really thick. I was amazed actually. Now, at 8 months it has thinned again, quite a lot compared to the growth I had before. I just wondered if this was a normal growth pattern and whether further growth could be expected? — N.T., Brooklyn, NY

A: This is not the most common situation, but should not be a cause for concern. The newly transplanted hairs are initially synchronous when they first grow in — i.e. they tend to all grow in around the same time (with some variability). This is in contrast to normal hair, where every hair is on its own independent cycle. Sometimes the newly transplanted hair will shed at one time before the cycles of each hair become more varied asynchronous.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What Length Is Hair After Transplant?

Q: Is transplanted hair the same length as existing hair? — G.E., Buckinghamshire, UK

A: The hair is first clipped to about 1-mm before it is transplanted. The transplanted hair will look like stubble for the first few weeks after the hair restoration procedure. It is then shed and the newly transplanted follicles go into a resting phase for about two months.

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Hair Restoration Answers

When Will I See Full Results Of Hair Transplant?

Q: I understand that seeing the result of a hair transplant is a process – what can I expect? — L.L., Highland Park, T.X.

A: It generally takes a year to see the full results of a hair transplant. Growth usually begins around 2 1/2 to 3 months and at 6-8 months the hair transplant starts to become comb-able.

Over the course of a year, the hair will gain in thickness and in length and may also change in character. During this time, hair will often become silkier, less kinky or take on a wave, depending upon the original characteristics of the patient’s hair.

In subsequent hair restoration procedures, growth can be slower.

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Hair Restoration Answers

When Will Newly Transplanted Hair Start To Grow?

Q: It has been over a month after my hair transplant procedure and I am starting to get nervous. When can I expect to see some growth? — J.N., Winnetka, I.L.

A: Transplanted hair begins to grow, on average, about 10 weeks after the procedure, although this number can vary. Hair tends to grow in waves and occasionally some new hair may start to grow as long as a year after your procedure. In general, growth is a bit slower with each hair transplant procedure, although the reason for this is not fully understood.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Tell if a Hair Transplant is Successful After Five Months?

Q: It had been 5 months since my hair transplant. I only see minimal growth of maybe a few hundred fine hairs. My transplant consisted of 2,217 grafts. Could you give me your opinion if this is normal or is it a failed hair transplant? — L.D., Miami, F.L.

A: It is too early to tell. Hair grows in very gradually with great variability from person to person.

Some patients only have a little fuzz at five months and then have great growth by one year.

You really need to wait the full 12 months to evaluate the success of the hair restoration.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Will Hair Transplant Grow Slower in Crown than Front of Scalp and Will Hair Grow More Slowly After Second Transplant?

Q: I had my second hair restoration procedure nearly 5 months back. New hair in the front part of the head is growing well, but the crown is growing slow. Is this common? Also does the new hair grow more slowly after second hair transplant procedure? — B.V., Richmond, U.K.

A: Yes, it is typical for hair in the crown to grow more slowly than the front and top of the scalp and the second procedure generally grows more slowly than the first.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Many Hair Transplant Grafts Will Give Best Results and Do Megasessions Yield Best Cosmetic Benefit?

Q: There is such a big deal made on the chats about people getting Megasessions of over 4000 grafts per session. When I look at the pictures on your website, the results look great, but I am surprised that not many grafts were used compared to what is being talked about. — N.R., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

A: My goal is not to transplant as many grafts as possible, but to get the best results possible without exhausting a person’s donor supply. It is important to keep reserves for future hair loss. Unnecessarily large sessions also risk poor growth and have a greater incidence of donor scarring.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair Transplant be Harmed by Smoking Before or After Procedure?

Q: Is it true that smoking is bad for a hair transplant and why? P.P. – N.Y., N.Y.

A: Smoking causes constriction of blood vessels and decreased blood flow to the scalp, predominantly due to its nicotine content. Also, carbon monoxide in smoke decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

These factors both contribute to poor wound healing after a hair transplant and can increase the chance of a wound infection and scarring. Smoking may also contribute to poor hair growth.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair be Transplanted into Scar Tissue from a Prior Transplant?

Q: I have had some surgical procedures on my head that left a fair amount of scar tissue. Can hair grow there? Is it a more difficult procedure? Are there any complications? – Darien, C.T.

A: Transplanted hair will grow in scar tissue as long as the tissue is not thickened. Thickened scar tissue can be flattened with local injections of cortisone.

Once the scar is smooth, the hair transplant procedure is relatively straightforward, however a few things must still be kept in mind.

  1. Since the blood supply of the scar tissue is less than in normal tissue, the grafts should not be placed as close.
  2. As the grafts from the hair transplant grow, new blood vessels are formed in the area.
  3. Additional density can then be achieved in a subsequent session by adding more grafts.
  4. After the hair restoration procedure, care must be taken with grafts transplanted into scar tissue, as the scarred scalp doesn’t hold onto grafts as well as normal tissue and they are more easily dislodged.

If grafts are packed too closely into scar tissue, poor growth can result. If sites are placed properly and the post-op care is diligent, good growth should be expected.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is "Shock Fall Out" After a Hair Transplant?

Q: What is “shock fall out”? – D.B., Chappaqua, N.Y.

A: Shedding after a hair transplant is also referred to by the very ominous sounding term “shock fall out.” The correct medical term is “effluvium” which literally means shedding. It is usually the miniaturized hair (i.e. the hair that is at the end of its lifespan due to genetic balding) that is most likely to be shed. Less likely, some healthy hair will be shed, but this should re-grow.

Interestingly, if transplants are spaced less than one year apart, one often notices some shedding of the hair from the first transplant, but this hair grows back completely. For most patients, effluvium is not a major issue and should not be a cause for concern.

Typically, when shedding occurs, a patient looks a little thinner during the several month period following the transplant, before the transplanted hair has started to grow. The thinning is often more noticeable to the patient than to others. Shedding is generally noted as a thinning, rather than of “masses of hair falling out,” as the term “shock fall out” erroneously suggests.

In general, the more miniaturization one has and the more rapid the hair loss, the more likely shedding will be from the hair restoration surgery. Young, actively balding patients would be at the greatest risk. Older patients with stable hair loss would have the least risk. In either situation, since miniaturized hair is eventually going to be lost, the effluvium has no long-term effect on the outcome of the procedure.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Does Hair Grow More Slowly After a Second or After a First Hair Transplant?

Q: This is my second hair transplant and is seems like it is growing more slowly than my first. Is this normal? – J.D., Port Washington, N.Y.

A: It is common for a second hair transplant to take a bit longer to grow than the first, so this should be expected. It is also possible that there is some shedding from the procedure, or a continuation of your genetic hair loss.

Propecia may be helpful in this regard. It is important to wait at least a year for the transplant to grow in fully and to give a chance for any hair that was shed to regrow.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is Graft Compression After a Hair Transplant and Why Does it Occur?

Q: What is graft compression? — E.Z. Wayne, N.J.

A: Graft compression refers to a tufted look resulting from the contraction of grafts caused by the normally elastic skin that contracts around the graft as the hair transplant heals. This was a common occurrence with mini-micrografting where 5 or more hairs from two or more follicular units were placed into one recipient site.

With follicular unit hair transplantation, follicular units won’t show visible compression since they are already naturally compact.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What Causes Poor Hair Transplant Growth?

Q: Do you ever see poor growth from a hair transplant? — R.L., Edison, NJ

A: The situations where I have encountered poor growth are:

1) When hair is transplanted to areas of skin that has been thickened due to the prior placement of larger grafts or plugs (this is called “hyperfibrotic thickening”). Removal of the larger grafts can somewhat ameliorate this problem.

2) When hair is transplanted into a thickened scar.

3) When a hair transplant is performed into an area of severe chronic sun damage. In this case, a very modest number of grafts should be used in the first session and if these grow well, additional grafts can be added in a subsequent session.

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