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How Safe Are Hair Transplants?

  • 18th April 2023
  • 5 min read
Written by Arran Isherwood
Dr Steve Stangoni
Medically reviewed by Dr. Steve Stangoni - GMC No. 7042486 on 20th April 2023
Next review due on 20th April 2024

Hair loss is a common occurrence that can affect both men and women. For those looking for a permanent solution, hair restoration surgery is a way to achieve natural results that will last forever. While the benefits are clear,  just how safe are hair transplants?

To help you better understand the risks associated with hair transplants, we’ve put together a handy guide to what you can expect from surgery and how safe the procedure actually is.


Are hair transplants safe?

Hair transplant surgery is a safe outpatient procedure when performed by qualified and experienced surgeons. The outcome of each procedure is never entirely predictable, as each person’s physical reaction and healing process will differ. 

There are two tried and tested methods of hair transplants that are commonly used: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT). While each surgery is performed with a different methodology, both are extremely safe procedures with high success rates when performed by seasoned professionals.

As with any surgery, however, there will always be some risks involved. 


Can a hair transplant go wrong?

It’s very rare for a hair transplant to “fail”, but it is possible that a small percentage of transplanted follicles will not take to the root and won’t produce new hair growth. 

There are usually two types of problems that can occur after a hair transplant; medical and aesthetic. 

    • Medical issues — Although hair transplants are incredibly safe, they’re still a form of medical procedure that can carry some risks. There can be issues that arise during the surgery, such as excessive bleeding, tachycardia (sudden fast beating of the heart) and fainting.
  • Aesthetic issues
    — A hair transplant can be classed as a failure if the new hair doesn’t look natural or blend well with the rest of your hair.

These ‘failures’ are, thankfully, extremely rare. Trichologists and hair transplant surgeons perform extensive consultations with prospective patients to evaluate whether a candidate is suitable for surgery. If they are not medically fit enough for the procedure — such as having a history of heart issues — or have unrealistic expectations of what is achievable for them, they will not be considered for a hair transplant.


What are the potential side effects of having a hair transplant?

While it’s unlikely for any serious complications, there can be minor temporary side effects that come with transplants.


Slight bleeding might occur after surgery around the donor area. There’s no need to worry, though, if it does. Make sure to keep your head elevated and place some gauze in the area to keep it clean. Apply continuous pressure to the area with the palm of your hand for up to 10 minutes. 

Persistent bleeding is unlikely, but if you’re ever concerned, contact your clinic or surgeon for advice.


Some mild swelling can occur after the procedure around the transplanted area of your scalp. Very rarely, there can sometimes be swelling of the forehead for a couple of days after the transplant but this isn’t any cause for concern.

In even rarer occasions, the forehead swelling may also cause swelling and bruising of the lower eyelids. This “black eye” will usually occur within two to four days after surgery. If you do suffer from excessive swelling, please get in contact with your clinic. 


Some temporary numbness is inevitable and is usually experienced around the donor area and can last anywhere from 3 to 18 weeks. 


After you’ve had your hair transplant, you may experience some mild discomfort, but this is expected and shouldn’t be anything to worry about. You will be provided with post-surgery painkillers to keep any discomfort to a minimum. 


When hygiene practices are substandard, this is when infection can occur in the skin on the surface of the scalp and in the hair follicles. 

Symptoms of infections can include redness, itchiness, abscesses, pus and excessive swelling. If left untreated, infections can lead to life-threatening conditions like sepsis. 

If you think that your transplant has become infected, it’s important to get it examined as soon as possible. 


Are there any long-term side effects?

There are no long-term side effects of having a FUT hair transplant, other than the small linear scar on the donor area. Similarly, there are no long-term side effects from an FUE hair transplant. 

If you’re unsure which transplant would be best for you, read our guide to the best candidates for FUE hair transplants. 


Get a safe hair transplant with FUE Clinics

For some, a hair transplant is a perfect solution to their hair loss or hair thinning problems. At FUE Clinics, we make sure that you’re in safe hands from the minute of your consultation to the operating room and aftercare. 

If you’re wanting to know more about our professional clinics and procedures, then take a look at our FAQ section. Or visit us in person for a free no-obligation consultation. Contact us today and make an appointment with a professional. 

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