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Can My Disaster Hair Transplant Be Repaired So I Can Look Normal Again?

I had two hair transplants in the late 1990’s that were a complete disaster. Over the years my hair loss has gotten much worse and now the plugs look terrible. I want to get this repaired with today’s new technology but I have to admit that I am a little gun shy. Is it possible to just look normal again, I’m not asking for a full head of hair? – James

Dear James,

Thank you for your questions. It is very common for patients to seek information about improving or revising existing “plug grafts” from the 1990s or earlier. Successful revision of obvious hair transplantation from the past can be a great source of relief for patients and can be accomplished successfully with a combination of techniques.

Obtaining additional permanent hair from the back of the head (occipital area) is critical if there is still adequate donor hair available. This hair can then be transplanted as individual follicles in front of and around the existing “plugs” to soften their appearance and make the area far more natural appearing. Sometimes using follicular unit extraction (FUE) to reduce some of the bulk and pluggy appearance of the original grafts can be useful. FUE technique can also be used to obtain new follicles from the donor area.

In a situation where the pluggy hairline is too low or straight, and may be best modified by removing some of the earlier transplants, I have had some success with targeted laser hair removal, followed by follicular unit transplantation. Note that it may be challenging to correct for irregular skin texture of the old plugs if this exists, and best results can probably be achieved by adding new single hair follicles to the hairline.

An important first step would be for you to meet with a qualified, experienced hair transplantation physician who can examine you and provide appropriate recommendations for improvement.

There is definitely reason for feeling optimistic as you explore options and solutions.


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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.