Hair Regrowth After Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair Regrowth After Hair Transplant Surgery
How long do hair transplants take to grow?
Hi there. It was almost five months ago when I had a hair transplant at another clinic to the front half of my thinning scalp and I am concerned about the rate of growth. I received over 3000 grafts and I wonder if my hair looks like it should by the 5 month mark. I am not sure how much the transplanted hairs should have grown after 5 months as I keep hearing different information from different sources.
What worries me most is that I hear stories on the grapevine and from my local GP that all the transplanted hairs would have grown out after 4 months and that it is unlikely I will notice any further improvement from this point on. I do not know what to believe. Are you able to advise me as it is really causing me distress… Geoff
Thanks for your email Geoff and we certainly can understand your concerns and please do not dispair.
There is a saying out there that says, “The person wearing one watch always knows the time, where the person wearing two watches isn’t never sure.” You have kept asking the same questions and you keep receiving different answers.
Hair regrowth does take some months to fully grow out (sometimes up to 18 months for the full effect) various reasons we discuss below.
However, rest assured that it is growing and it’s normal to feel unsure at the 5 month mark. Particularly if you are receiving your information from a variety of unqualified sources. that’s why at Newin Institute, we like to review you at 1 month, 6 months, 12 months and 18 months after surgery and we always take before and after shots to show how your hair has grown during that time. There is no better reassurance than looking at a before and after photo.
What you are really asking is basically: ” how long does it take for a hair transplant patient to reach the final result?”.
Hair Regrowth: The Normal 3 Stage Cycle
In order to answer this question we first want you to fully understand the normal hair growth cycle. Normal hair regrowth has three distinct phases.
- One is the “Anagen” (growth) phase. This is where the hair keeps growing and getting longer and this phase can last from 1-6 years depending on the person’s genetics and health of their hair. During the first few months of an anagen phase the hair starts as a thinner hair and slowly gets thicker. Over the long term as hairs weaken and miniaturize this growth phase does shorten meaning that a person who once was able to wear their hair past their shoulders may struggle to grow it any longer than 10cm because the lifespan of the growth phase less than it used to be. When a female with very long hair has not been to the hairdresser for a long time you will notice that by focusing on the very end of the hair that is being worn down, some hairs are longer than the others. This is because of the variation in the anagen phase of their hair.
- Second is the “Catagen” (transitional) phase. When a hair’s growth phase reaches the end, it stops growing and remains at this set length for a period of 2-3 weeks before breaking off.
- Lastly is the “Telogen” (resting) phase. This is where the follicle remains inactive with no hair growing in it and it can last from 2-6 months. It is estimate that 14% of the follicles in the scalp are in this state at any one time. After this resting phase is over a new hair growth cycle (anagen phase) begins again.
Hair Regrowth: Each hair is in a different stage at any one point in time
It is important to understand that every hair on your scalp is at a different stage of a given hair growth cycle phase. By this I mean that some hairs may be at 2 years into a growth phase while another could be 3 months into a growth phase. Many follicles may be in the first month of a resting phase and some could be in the final weeks of a resting phase.
The phase we care about most to help you with your question is the telogen phase as this represents follicles where the hair has not begun regrowing yet.
You mentioned that you received 3000 grafts and that you are presently 5 months post surgery.
Like most patients, soon after having your surgery you would have noticed that most (if not all) of the transplanted hairs began breaking off during the first 8 weeks after your surgery. This means that most of them entered a resting phase within the first 2 months. By around the 2 months mark the trauma from the procedure may have caused some of your surrounding non-transplanted hairs to fall out making your scalp look even thinner at the 2.5 month mark compared to the day you came in for surgery. At that 2-3 month mark it can be quite distressing despite the number of times you are told that this was expected and is completely normal.
Hair Regrowth After Hair Transplant Surgery: Resting Growth Phase Is Normal
Now remember that the resting “telogen” phase of a hair can last from 2-6 months before a new hair begins its growth “anagen” phase.
When do the first lot of transplanted hairs usually begin growing? Typically at the 3 month mark. Why is that? The reason is because those transplanted hairs that fell out during the first month have now rested for 2 months and are beginning their first growth phase. Because every hair that fell out has a different resting phase duration, this is why new hairs keep appearing each day. If this was not the case, all of the transplanted hairs that fell out during the first month would all be popping out at the same time.
The transplanted hairs with a two-month telogen (resting) phase that fell out during month number one, will begin growing during month number three. The ones that fell out in month number two will begin growing during month number four. Then we can look into it deeper. What about the transplanted hairs with a three-month telogen phase? Then there are the four-month telogen phase hairs. This means that hairs that fell out during month 2 will not begin growing until after 6 months.
Most hairs have a resting phase of 2-4 months, but some of them can have resting phases of as long as 6 months. This means some hairs that fell out after 2-3 months may not begin growing until 8 or 9 months post surgery.
So in answer to your first question on how far a hair transplant is at the 5 month mark, it would be at around 40-50% and is ultimately decided by the duration of the resting phase.
Hair Regrowth: Milestone Percentages After Hair Transplant Surgery
When patients who receive a frontal to mid-scalp transplant come in for their six month follow up, they are typically at 50-60% of the way. At twelve months a patient should be at around 85% and the final result is achieved after 15-18 months.
We have had patients concerned by what appears as a lack of growth in their eyes at the six month mark to being ecstatic at the 12 month mark. This is not rare and for this reason a hair transplant surgeon will not jump to any conclusions about growth rates until at least 12 months have passed.
Hair Regrowth After Hair Transplant Surgery: Summary
In regards to yourself we recommend you just stay patient as it is too early at 5 months after surgery to draw any conclusions about what your final result will look like. It may not even be half way and most likely will look very different by the time you reach the real finish line at 18 months.
If you have had a transplant in Australia or overseas contact us to see if you require more grafts added to achieve your desired result.