Physician Answered Q & As

My Sister’s Hair Transplant Looks Artificial, Please Help.

My sister underwent a hair transplant two years ago and is very unhappy with her results. To tell you the truth, to me it looks like she has much less hair than when she started this whole thing. The hair that she has in the front looks kind of artificial to me. I know she is very unhappy and I’d like to help her if I can. Do you think having another hair transplant by a reputable member of your organization is a good idea or do you think she is destined to wear a wig?

Thank you for your inquiry. There are several issues with your sister’s transplant that need to be addressed. The first one is the issue regarding her “artificial” appearing result. Reputable, experienced physicians should be able to create a frontal hairline that appears totally undetectable as a transplant. Some of the factors that may cause an unnatural appearance are the use of grafts with too many hairs, improper direction or angulation of hairs, or a hairline that is too “linear.” These are all problems that can be addressed and corrected by an experienced physician using the proper corrective techniques.

The second issue, the appearance of less hair than she had before the surgery, is somewhat more difficult to address but there may be several reasons for this result. The first could be that she experienced shock loss of the preexisting hair to such a great degree that the overall number of hairs is in fact less than she had prior to surgery. The second is that the preexisting hair was moderately dense to begin with and the trauma from the surgery damaged some of those follicles and there was a net loss of hair following the surgery. The third reason could be that many of the preexisting hairs were “weak”from whatever process was causing the hair loss to begin with (for example female pattern loss) and the surgery caused shock loss and the weaker preexisting hair never recovered. Finally, the process of hair loss has just continued since the surgery and she has lost many of the preexisting hairs and now only has transplanted hair.

Your sister must be evaluated to determine the state of her donor hair. If she has very fine or miniaturized hair in the donor area she may never be able to achieve high density or may even find out that she is not a candidate for further surgery to achieve density. However she should be able to achieve a natural appearance at the frontal hair line with the proper corrective procedures. I would encourage her to visit an experienced, well qualified hair restoration to investigate treatment options with her.


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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.