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Causes of Unsuccessful Hair Transplantation

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Many hair restoration clinics can easily boast about their successful hair transplants but what about the ones that did not have optimal result? I received an email from a patient whom had a hair transplant at a different clinic. His hair never grew in the transplanted area even after having followed all the post op directions carefully. He also asks, Is there any other solutions to bring back my hair?

One of the biggest concerns for any patient who has hair restoration is the survival of transplanted hair. In some cases transplanted hair might never grow or experience suboptimal growth. These factors can be categorized into two major groups: 1) Technical Problems and 2) Patient Factor.

Hair Transplant Technical Problems

  • Hair graft preparation and handling problems: Inexperienced technicians may actually manipulate hair grafts more than what the hair grafts can tolerate. This may lead to damage to the proliferated follicle cells during graft slivering, harvesting or implanting. In turn, the transplanted hair will not grow.
  • Graft maintenance problems: From the moment the hair is removed from the body, hair follicles should be kept in a suitable physiological solution until the time they are placed in their new location. The solution must be kept between 4 degrees centigrade to slow the cell metabolism and prolong the longevity of the follicular cells.
  • Complications during implantation phase: If sites are made too tight, technicians might manipulate the hair grafts physical attributes too much and affect the final potential of the hair cells growth.

Patient Factors

  • In some rare occasions certain skin conditions can either restrict or stop transplanted hair from growing. The most common forms of skin conditions are alopecia areata (AA) and alopecia cicatricial (AC) as well as other medical conditions that may have already been present on or before the hair transplant procedure. This is why it is crucial to evaluate the hair and scalp by means of preoperative microscopic and macroscopic evaluation to rule out any condition that can affect transplanted hair growth. All hair transplant surgeons should raise these questions during their consultation especially if the patient has atypical hair loss or does not have any family history of similar hair loss conditions. If there is any doubt, it can easily be confirmed through scalp biopsy.
  • After hair transplant care plays a very important role in the final results of any hair transplant procedure. Physical trauma to the newly transplanted hair may cause you to lose your newly transplanted hair. Other forms of hair trauma include pulling out or scratching newly transplanted hair or in psychological conditions like Trichotillomania in which they pull out their own hair.

It is best to review your results after one post surgery is completed by a good hair transplant surgeon. After reevaluation your hair transplant surgeon can tell you what may have caused your condition and maybe even treat the disorder that caused your less than desirable growth results.

We at our California hair restoration clinics perform several repair hair transplant surgery every month.  Some of them are the result of old and some from recent but not perfect procedures.