I am interested in getting a hair transplant, but I would like to know how long the surgery itself lasts, is it all day or just a few hours?
Hair transplant surgery is an outpatient procedure that allows patients to leave and return home the same day after having the procedure. However, the length of the surgery depends on several factors, the first factor is the surgical harvesting technique. Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) is performed by removing a strip of donor tissue from the sides and back of the scalp, the donor tissue is then dissected and transplanted in to the balding/thinning area.
Generally, FUSS can be performed within a few hours depending on the amount of grafts that are being transplanted. Follicular Unit Excision (formerly known as Follicular Unit Extractin FUE) is performed by removing the follicular units one by one with the use of a small punch, this surgical technique is more time consuming because the grafts must be delicately extracted one by one; depending on the amount of grafts that must be excised the procedure can take several hours sometimes up to 10-12 hours.
The second factor that must be considered is the amount of grafts that need to be extracted and transplanted. Individuals undergoing a small minor procedure can generally be out of the surgeons chair within a few hours. However, individuals with extensive hair loss may require upwards to three thousand grafts per surgical session. Generally, larger surgical sessions can take up to 8-10 hours maybe more depending on the hair transplant surgeon/clinic.
The last factor to consider is the consultation and the long-term strategy of the surgical plan. In some cases, prospective patients do not have the opportunity to meet face to face with the hair transplant surgeon, because of the distance. In these circumstances, surgeons generally take an hour before performing surgery to go over the goals and expectations of the patients. At this time, patients are able to ask specific questions regarding their procedure and what to expect afterwards.
Typically, after the consultation and long-term plan is discussed in detail; patients are taken to the surgical room where the areas of transplantation are marked and the donor area is either trimmed for shaved depending on the surgical technique. At this time, patients are able to again discuss the hairline placement and ask for the surgeon to be more aggressive or conservative depending on their goals. The consultation process can add 1-2 hours to the procedure time overall.
Written and published by,
Melvin- Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network and The Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians