Hair transplants differ from most cosmetic surgeries as they are an ongoing treatment. This means that the results of a hair transplant take longer to appear compared to other cosmetic treatments.
Immediately following the procedure, the transplanted hair follicles enter a resting stage lasting 8-10 weeks. It’s normal as part of the process. So what is the hair transplant growth timeline? Three to four months following a hair transplant, between 10 and 20 percent more hair is visible. After a hair transplant, you should expect to observe roughly 50% hair growth during the following six months. You can observe 80% of the outcomes within 8 to 9 months. After an FUE hair transplant, 100% of the results can be seen in 9 to 12 months.
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Stage 1: Resting
Your new follicles rest in the telogen phase during the first month following hair transplant surgery. This is a normal part of the hair growth cycle and nothing to worry about.
After this period, the grafts begin to enter the anagen phase and start growing at a normal rate. This is a very important stage as it helps to create dense and even results in the transplanted area.
To prepare the grafts, your surgeon will sterilize and numb the area, create holes or slits with a scalpel or needle, then gently place each follicle into one of these holes. This can take up to 8 hours, depending on the size of the procedure.
This can take up to 6 months, but once it is completed, you will notice a much denser and more natural-looking head of hair. It will also be possible to comb your hair and style it how you like without noticing any signs of a transplant.
Stage 2: ‘Popping’ Through
In this stage, the hair transplanted follicles begin to grow again. However, it takes time for this new growth to reach the surface of your scalp. During this time, your transplanted follicles can look transparent and wispy. However, they will eventually mature and become thicker and more natural.
Around the three-month mark, the newly transplanted follicles will start to ‘pop’ through the scalp. This will be noticeable to you and your loved ones as the hair will become darker and more full.
However, it is important to note that not everyone will experience the same results. Patients must remain patient and continue to follow their surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Hair transplantation is not a one-size-fits-all procedure, and the results will vary from person to person. Patients must also refrain from comparing their progress to others, which can lead to disappointment. Instead, they should focus on their ultimate goal of achieving natural-looking hair growth and thickness. Luckily, the latest advancements in hair transplantation allow surgeons to achieve this objective.
Stage 3: Maturation
The new hair follicles will have fully ‘popped’ through and are now maturing. This involves thickening, darkening, and normalizing in texture. Once the transplanted follicles reach this stage, they are considered to have reached maturity and have successfully adapted to your scalp.
By month 4, around 40% of the transplanted hairs will have ‘popped’ through, and 50% by month 5. At this point, most patients can begin styling their hair with precision scissors.
This phase is usually a little shorter than the previous one, but it’s important to remember that all hair growth occurs in alternating cycles. It’s natural for the follicles to shed their temporary hairs and enter a resting cycle after being traumatized by their transplantation (known as shock loss). However, it does not mean they are lost; the follicles will grow again once they reach the telogen stage. This is why your new hair can take a year to fully grow and appear. It is also why some people are more satisfied with their results.
Stage 4: Thickness
During this phase, the transplanted hairs grow and become thicker. Hair growth can be stimulated with the use of minoxidil. However, using too much minoxidil after a hair transplant can cause your hair to fall out, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about how much is safe for you.
At this stage, your hair will still look thin. However, they will become thicker and more natural-looking as they grow longer.
Your hair may also seem patchy at this time, as they are growing at different rates. However, this is only temporary and will be rectified once your hairs reach the next stage.
It’s important to remember that you cannot achieve a natural-looking density in one hair transplant session. This is because only a limited number of hair follicles can be safely transplanted in an area to ensure their survival and continued growth. Exceeding this limit puts native hairs at risk of loss, so achieving a natural-looking result won’t be possible. It will be necessary to have multiple hair transplant sessions.
Stage 5: Length
Your hair should grow and thicken in the fifth month after a hair transplant. The growth process may take up to a year for some patients. This is normal and means most transplanted hairs begin to follow their natural growth cycle. The result is a fuller head of hair with greater density.
This stage also marks where most of your hair transplant has reached its desired length. In addition, the shape of your hairline is established at this stage. You must maintain a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
While the timeline of a hair transplant is more lengthy than that of many other cosmetic surgeries, it’s important to remember that this is due to how hair grows. For a transplant to yield the best results, the transplanted follicles need time to mature and enter anagen once again. This is why it takes so long for a person to see the full results of their surgery.