What is the Possibility of Transplanted Har Graft Not Growing?

I have come across a case, where in the person who had a Hair Transplant done did not have his Hair Graft grow at all and it was performed by a reputed Hair Transplant Surgeon so it was not a case of negligence or shoddy work...What can one do to make sure that this does not happen? And precautions that the Hair Transplant Surgeon can or should take to not let this happen ?

Doctor Answers 5

Hair grafts did not grow

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
There are many causes of a failure of hair grafts to grow and they include (1) the presence of diseases of the scalp that were not diagnoses, or (2) poor technique and technical failures of the surgical team. 

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

There is always a possibility that transplanted hairs will not grow.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
There is always a possibility that transplanted hairs will not grow.  Even for reputable doctors, there are always failures to grow.  It is just rare.  There isn't much you can do to prevent this from happening.  To decrease the chances would be to pick a reputable doctor known for good consistent results rather than picking the least expensive doctor.  (Unless the most experienced and reputable doctor is the cheapest doctor.)

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Hair transplant results are very reliable and predictable.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The lack of growth that you describe is very unusual. The first question that I would ask is how long has it been since the surgery. The grafts often take 6-12 months before growing in as expected. Other than that short of the patient washing away hairs or the grafts being placed into scar tissue I can think of few reasons for such poor growth.

Ravi Dahiya, MD
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

100% results in hair transplant

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

100% results are rare in medicine. Even the best do not achieve 100%. The reasons can be multi-factorial and often the reason for failure are hard to isolate. If failure rate is high or frequent its easy to catch the problem. Otherwise, its can be very tricky. Pubmed offers the best research available in medicine and lots of snake oil products/pills/caps/lasers can be bought online but that is not recommended at this time.

Rashid M. Rashid, PhD, MD
Houston Dermatologist

Poor hair growth after transplant

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

What a great question - and a complex one too!

Fortunately, poor hair growth following hair transplantation is not something that happens very often. But when it occurs we need to explore many, many possibilities, including patient factors, physician factors and scalp factors:

  1. Patient Factors - including proper care of the grafts. Occasionally, one hears stories of patients scrubbing their new grafts off the scalp at day 1 post surgery. Of course this is unlikely but one needs to think of all things in this category. The other patient factor that is important is smoking. Occasionally, smokers have poor growth for reasons that are not completely understood. Other factors one might think about under patient factors are medications that impair hair growth or cause excessive bleeding.
  2. Physician Factors - including overly tight packing of the grafts (too tight, too packed can lead to poor growth) improper depth of grafts, rough handling of grafts by technicians, harvesting of grafts, temperature of grafts. All these things are important. Sounds like your friend was very lucky to have a great and experienced surgeon so these issues are not likely to be contributory. But these are the things to think about in the "Physician Factors"
  3. Scalp Factors - this is one of the most important categories. Some scalps (because of excessive sun damage or other factors) may take up grafts less efficiently and this leads to poor growth. Some scalps bleed more than others are this can rarely impact growth due to post operative "popping" of grafts. Infection post surgery can impair growth as well. And finally some patients have scalp diseases that are either present before the surgery (but could not be detected) or some patients develop new scalp diseases after the surgery that impairs the growth of the grafts. This is rare but in a busy practice, it is something that is seen from time to time. For example some individuals rarely develop alopecia areata or rarely develop scarring hair loss problems after their hair transplant. These scalp issues can impair growth partially or completely. A scalp biopsy is sometimes needed to diagnose these problems.

As you can see there are many, many possible reasons and only with a careful evaluation and a bit of "detective work" can the reason usually be figured out. Your friend will want to meet with his surgeon to review all the possibilities and possibly have a biopsy if the surgeon thinks it would be helpful.

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Vancouver Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.