Are Hair Transplants Worth It?

Hair transplants are surgical procedures where hair is taken from another area of the body, usually the back of the head, and grafted onto the affected area of the scalp. Hair transplants are long-term hair loss solutions for people experiencing male or female pattern baldness. Read on to learn more about hair transplants, how they work and how they affect you.

While we do not provide hair transplants at Superdrug Online Doctor, but we can provide safe and effective treatments to help with male pattern baldness that do not require surgery.

Do Hair Transplants Work?

Hair transplants are considered effective treatments for many causes of hair loss. Hair transplant surgery involves removing individual healthy hair follicles from an area of the body with lots of hair, often the back of the head, and transplanting them on the affected scalp. They are more invasive than other hair loss treatments, such as:

  • DHT blockers
  • steroid creams
  • wigs
  • steroid injections
  • formulated shampoos
  • light treatment
  • tattooing

What is the success rate of hair transplants?

The success rate of hair transplants varies, with some clinics reporting a 95% to 98% success rate for specific procedures such as follicular unit transplantation (FUT). The success rate depends on the method being used. Some research shows that the survival rate of hair grafts can be anywhere upwards of 90% effective. Others report that between 10% and 80% of the transplanted hair will fully grow back within 4 months, but this depends on where the transplanted hair has been taken from the body. For example, taking hair from the beard area has the lowest rate compared to scalp hair which seems to be the most successful.

What type of hair loss is suitable for a hair transplant?

Hair transplant surgery isn’t suitable for everyone. Patterned hair loss is the most common reason for hair transplant surgery, such as:

  • male pattern hair loss
  • androgenic alopecia
  • female pattern hair loss

Hair transplant surgery is mainly used to encourage hair growth in people who are naturally going bald, have thinning hair or have lost hair because of an injury.

How Much Do Hair Transplants Cost?

Hair transplant costs in the UK vary depending on the extent of your hair loss, the type of procedure and the reputation of the clinic. The average cost of 2,000 grafts is £6,000 but surgery can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £30,000.

What factors affect the cost of a hair transplant?

The cost of a hair transplant in the UK typically depends on:

  • the extent of your hair loss
  • the area where the hair loss is located
  • the healthcare provider you’re using

How Do Hair Transplants Work?

Usually, hair transplants are carried out under local anaesthetic and sedation, which means you’ll be awake during the surgery but you won’t feel any pain.

There are 2 main types of hair transplant procedures:

  • Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
  • Follicular unit extraction (FUE)

Both types of hair transplant procedures should be carried out by a dermatological surgeon in a clinic. Because most transplants are carried out under local anaesthetic, the recovery time is often quicker and doesn’t come with the added risks that general anaesthesia does. A general anaesthetic is usually only required when extensive work needs to be carried out.

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) is also known as the strip method. During this procedure, the surgeon will cut a single strip of skin and hair, usually from the back of the scalp. This is then divided into individual follicular units of approximately 1 mm in width under a microscope. These grafts consist of between 1 and 4 individual hairs that are placed into tiny cuts made on the scalp before being closed with stitches.

Once the cut has healed, you’ll be left with a small scar on the back of your head, but it shouldn’t be seen unless you have very short hair. If you plan to have very short hair after transplantation, FUT may not be for you.

Follicular unit extraction (FUE)

Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a non-invasive hair transplant procedure which requires the back of the head to be shaved. FUE is often the preferred procedure of choice for anyone who would like to wear their hair very short or those who have limited hair loss.

In FUE, individual hairs are removed 1 by 1, called grafts, using a punch device which causes no damage to the scalp. These grafts are then transplanted into tiny cuts in the scalp which will not be noticeable once they have healed.

Which one is best for me?

The type of procedure that is best for you will depend on various factors.

You may choose FUT:

  • if you do not want to shave your head for the surgery
  • if you do not wish to wear your hair very short after surgery
  • because it is cheaper and quicker than FUE

FUE may be preferable because:

  • you can wear your hair very short
  • it has a fast recovery time
  • the microscopic scars caused by the surgery are practically invisible
  • there is no need to have your stitches removed
  • body hair can be used for added density
  • it can be used to cover a preexisting scar caused by FUT (strip) surgery

What Are the Side Effects of Hair Transplants?

As with all surgical procedures, hair transplants can cause side effects, although you may only experience some or none of the following:

  • pain and discomfort
  • swelling
  • bleeding
  • folliculitis
  • itchiness
  • allergic reaction
  • hiccups
  • infection
  • scarring
  • temporary thinning of hair

Can Hair transplant surgeries cause scarring?

Yes, both types of hair transplant surgery can cause scarring. FUT or strip surgery can cause significant scarring on the back of the head and may not be suitable if you want to wear your hair very short after surgery. FUE causes tiny scars that are barely visible once the graft sites have healed.

How Long Do Hair Transplants Last?

Technically, hair transplants are a long-term solution to pattern baldness, but you may need multiple surgeries to achieve the desired outcome. As you age, your hair may thin but your surgeon should discuss this with you in detail before your surgery. There is a small chance that the transplanted hair will not take and fall out.

In a 2020 study involving 112 people who had undergone FUT, it was found that after 4 years, 55.35% showed a moderate reduction in transplanted hair density while 8.92% showed no change.

Hair transplants won’t work for everyone, especially for anyone who has advanced hair loss or who has very thin hair in the donor area. Hair transplant surgery also will not prevent future hair loss. Although the newly transplanted hair may be more long term, the hair surrounding it may later start to thin or fall out.

Do Hair Transplants Look Natural?

Hair transplants have come a long way and hair transplants can look natural after the surgery has healed. The biggest advancement has been the precision of the tools that are now used to perform the transplants. The most popular method is FUE, which transplants hairs one at a time, increasing recovery time and producing almost invisible scarring.

Several factors can affect how natural a hair transplant looks, including:

  • the quality of the procedure
  • the surgeon

For the best results, it is important to research the clinic and surgeon that will carry out your procedure.

When Should I Get a Hair Transplant?

Although anyone over the age of 18 can opt for a hair transplant, many clinics advise waiting until you are at least 30 years old. Some state 25, but it can depend on you and your requirements. The reason for this is that hair loss can slow around the age of 30 and may be more predictable. So, the hair loss pattern may be fully determined between the ages of 25 and 30+.

If you have a hair transplant too early, it can mean you experience side effects or problems later on and may need further costly procedures. For example, the hair around the graft may thin or fall out, so you could be left with a permanent strip of transplanted hair which will look unnatural.

If you are considering hair transplant surgery, you should speak to an experienced surgeon to discuss the options available to you. You should research the clinic and the team, and choose one based on the surgeon and their experience. When you make an appointment you should ask the doctor lots of questions and if they have any before and after photos. Some questions you might ask, include:

  • am I a suitable candidate for a hair transplant? (How many hairs will I need?)
  • do I have enough donor hair?
  • how much will the transplant cost?
  • how long will the procedure take?
  • what will the result look like?

Are Hair Transplants Really Worth it?

Whether a hair transplant is really worth it for you depends on your situation. Hair transplants can be costly procedures, so the expense will be a factor you’ll need to take into consideration. You’ll also need to work out if you are a suitable candidate and determine the cause of your baldness.

It’s possible that you may be too young for the procedure or you may decide that surgery is not for you. If that’s the case, you may want to consider other hair loss treatments.

Other available hair loss treatments

If hair transplant surgery is not suitable for you, then you might consider other hair loss treatments. They include:

  • wigs
  • tattoos
  • tablets (such as Propecia or finasteride)
  • shampoos (such as Regaine or minoxidil)

At Superdrug Online Doctor, the hair loss treatments we offer are:


Minoxidil is the active ingredient found in hair loss products such as Regaine. It can be used by both men and women, in lotion or foam form, who experience thinning hair on the top of the head.

It’s thought that it works by dilating the blood vessels in the scalp, improving the function of the hair follicles and promoting new hair growth. Most people use minoxidil for at least 4 months but if no hair growth is seen after 6 months, you should stop using it.


Alpecin is an over-the-counter hair loss treatment available in the form of a shampoo. It can be used in both men and women who experience hair loss or thinning hair. The shampoo contains caffeine which activates hair growth at the roots. Alpecin is not designed for long-term use as it can cause hair thinning or colouring.


Propecia is a prescription-only hair loss tablet which has been designed for use by men with male pattern baldness. It is 90% effective and many men notice effects within 3 months of taking it.

Propecia is the brand name for finasteride, both are the same medication, except finasteride is the generic version and is generally cheaper.


Finasteride is a prescription-only tablet prescribed for male pattern baldness. It is the same as Propecia. It works by stopping hair loss and stimulating hair growth. It works by reducing the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) circulating in the body. The hair follicles in male pattern baldness shrink and contain high levels of DHT. Reducing these levels causes hair to grow and reduces hair loss on the head. Both Propecia and finasteride are not suitable for women.

Patient Reviews