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Are you the right candidate for a hair transplant?

  • 22nd April 2022
  • 9 min read
Written by Arran Isherwood
Dr Steve Stangoni
Medically reviewed by Dr. Steve Stangoni - GMC No. 7042486 on 9th May 2022
Next review due on 9th May 2023

Are you the right candidate for a hair transplant?

Hair transplants can be a lifeline for many people suffering from hair loss. It can boost confidence and offer a sense of well-being that wouldn’t be possible without the surgery. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for a hair transplant.

Hair transplants involve moving hair follicles from a high-density donor area to a recipient area that has a low density of hair. A good understanding of the process, researching the procedure and having realistic expectations are critical before going ahead with hair restoration surgery. To learn more about hair transplants, check out what to expect from your hair transplant here

We’ve put together this guide to help you understand whether or not you’re the right candidate for a hair transplant. 


Different hair and scalp characteristics

There are many hair and scalp characteristics that are important for hair transplant surgery. The best hair restoration surgeons will take all of these factors into consideration when they’re planning your procedure. 

Hair colour

Your hair colour will determine how effective the results of your hair transplant will be. This is due to the contrast between your hair and scalp colour. If there is a big contrast between these colours, then the areas of hair loss will look more obvious. If you have similar hair and skin colour, then the bald areas will be less noticeable due to less contrast. 

Hair thickness 

People with thick hair will require fewer grafts to get the same aesthetic results as those who have thinner hair. The appearance of baldness is due to light penetrating the hair and reflecting off the scalp. If you have thicker hair, it will reduce the amount of light reflecting from the scalp, which will result in a better overall appearance. 

Hair density

Your hair density is a large factor in determining whether you’ll be a good candidate for a hair transplant. A good density of follicles around the donor areas of your scalp is something your surgeon will look for. If you have a low density of hair follicles, then it is unlikely that a surgeon will recommend you for a hair transplant as your desired results will likely be unachievable. If your bald spots are minimal, however, it may still be possible. . 

Hair texture 

Those who have wavy or curly hair will usually have better results from a hair transplant without having to use as many follicular units. Afro Caribbean hair is a great example of how texture can be more important than density. The distinctive curls that are commonly seen in those with this hair type are very dense and create an impression that more of the scalp is covered than it is. 

Scalp flexibility

Scalp flexibility is also known as scalp laxity. If you have a tight scalp (low laxity scalp), it’ll be harder to remove hair follicles from your scalp and transplant them compared to someone with a high laxity scalp (loose scalp). Having a looser scalp will make you a more suitable candidate for a hair transplant and will lead to better results. 

Hair loss

Finally, the extent of your hair loss will play a leading role in whether you’re suitable for a hair transplant procedure. While hair restoration can yield life-changing results, it’s not a magic spell that will leave you with the same hair from your youth. If your hair loss is significant, it may be impossible to achieve a full head of hair with a hair transplant.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a hair transplant isn’t for you. It may simply mean that you may need two or more surgeries to achieve the results you’re looking for. The consultation phase is crucial for understanding the limitations of hair restoration and what options are available to you.


So, should you get a hair transplant?

Before you choose to opt for surgery to improve your hair loss, you need to fully understand what to expect and discuss these expectations with your surgeon. You should also try to make an informed decision on whether or not you’ll be a suitable contender for surgery. Below, we’ve listed some of the key points that will make you a good or poor candidate for a hair transplant. 

What makes you a good candidate for a hair transplant

  • People who’ve been losing their hair due to male or female pattern baldness for at least five years or more — beyond class 3 on the Norwood Scale
  • Those who have realistic expectations and understand that their hair loss may continue after they’ve had surgery — even if prescription medication is being taken to help stop it. 
  • People whose pattern has stabilised and are interested in adding hair to appear more youthful — mainly seen in those who’ve been balding for many years. 
  • Men and women who’ve lost their hair due to trauma or burns. 
  • Men or women who’ve lost their hair due to cosmetic procedures — for example, facelifts may cause hair loss due to scarring.  

What makes you a poor candidate for a hair transplant:

  • People with DUPA (diffuse patterned alopecia) — these people have an unhealthy donor supply, which will make them poor candidates for a hair transplant. 
  • People with a diseased donor area — should be avoided whatever the reason may be and is a more common issue in women than men. 
  • Those with a low hair density. 
  • Those who don’t have the time, patience or funds to continue surgical hair restoration over a long period of time. 


Questions you should ask yourself 

If you have gone through the above and believe you are a suitable candidate for a hair transplant, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself before deciding on whether or not you should go for a hair transplant. This is a vital part of the decision process. 

When searching for a hair transplant clinic, you should avoid rushing off to the closest or cheapest place you can find. You can learn more about how to find the right hair transplant clinic for you here. Here are the questions you should ask yourself before going ahead with surgery: 

  1. What’s your level of baldness? 
  2. Do you have a healthy area of donor hair (to the best of your knowledge)?
  3. Do you understand the reality of what a hair transplant can and can’t do? 
  4. Have you considered other alternatives (like medication)? 
  5. Have you thoroughly researched the pros and cons? 
  6. Do you know what you’ll lose and gain if choosing surgery? 
  7. Can you afford it financially? 
  8. Can you afford to take the time off work? 

If you’re under 25 years old, here are some other questions you should ask yourself: 

  1. Have you looked into other options? 
  2. Does your hair loss bother you a lot? 
  3. Have you tried out medication for long enough to see results? 
  4. Have you thought about the financial implications of multiple surgeries over time? 
  5. If you continue to lose hair after surgery, how will you handle this? 
  6. What balding pattern has the doctor predicted for you? 

Whatever your age may be, make sure that your motivation for having a hair transplant is a realistic one. While they can be great for bringing back your self-confidence, you shouldn’t pin all of your hopes and happiness on this one procedure. 


How to prepare for a hair transplant 

If a hair transplant is the best route for you, there are several things you must do to prepare yourself for the procedure. This includes transport to and from the clinic during your consultations and before and after your surgery, preparing yourself and your head for the procedure and having items to help you deal with pain and feel comfortable after your surgery. 

Check out our guide on how to prepare for your hair transplant to learn more. 


Choose FUE Clinics for your hair transplant 

A renowned clinic for medical hair transplants, FUE Clinics has revolutionised the way healthcare providers deliver precision, results and continuity of care. As a patient, this is something that you should expect as well as depend on. We treat a wide range of conditions that lead to hair loss, including: 

  • Alopecia areata
  • Androgenic alopecia 
  • Trace alopecia 
  • Female pattern baldness
  • Male pattern baldness, and more!

We also have the advancements and technology to restore hair growth in other areas, such as the beard and eyebrows. You can learn more about our clinics and procedures by taking a look through our FAQ section. Or contact us today to make an appointment and visit us for a free, honest no-obligation consultation. 

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