A burning question I receive all the time is when does hair start to grow after a hair transplant. Obviously, everyone is different, and I have seen a wide range of times that hair starts to grow after a procedure. However, there are averages of time that are worth expressing herein so as to guide someone as to when to expect that hair would start to grow.

Long brown hair style on white isolated background
Hair Transplant Hair Growth

In the first few months following a hair transplant, you might even expect to see some thinning occur. That is not abnormal and represents a condition known as telogen effluvium, in which non-transplanted hairs, especially thinner vellus hairs or also very commonly seen in women, can be temporarily shed making the entire head appear much thinner or balder. Although this is a true negative by-product that can occur after any hair transplant, be comfortable that this condition is only temporary.

Whether telogen effluvium occurs or not, the average time that I see the majority of individuals start to have appreciable hair growth in the majority of cases is about 6 months following a procedure. At times I see substantial growth in the first 4 months and at other times I do not see any major growth until 9 to 10 months. The average is about 6 months to start seeing something real in many cases.

How ever long it takes for the hair to grow, it takes about 12 to 18 months for the hair to grow in fully. Sometimes at 12 months as the hair is cycling into what is known as asynchrony (to be explained), the hair thickness can actually dip a little towards a year. At 18 months, asynchrony can be fully re-established. Asynchrony refers to how hairs on the head tend to grow in different cycles (telogen, catagen, anagen). However, during the initial few months to the first year following a hair transplant, the hairs can be in all the same phase making hairs not seem as full since they are shedding and growing at the same time.

In any case, if your hair is growing less than ideally, it is important for you to speak with your surgeon. Not every individual has perfect hair growth of every graft. I would say the vast majority of my patients grow almost every transplanted graft. However, there can be a select minority that really do not grow as many grafts as expected due to their own anatomic variables. I heard this expression at last year’s meeting of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery known as a Patient Growth Index (PGI) that refers to how a patient tends to grow hair after a transplant. I believe that an excellent surgeon and team can reduce the variability to a very low number of individuals who experience this outcome.

One more thing: using minoxidil for the first few months after a hair transplant procedure (starting two weeks after the hair transplant) may be helpful to minimize shock loss and to support early hair growth. Do I have a lot of science behind this claim? Not really, but I tend to advocate this treatment in as many individuals who are willing to do it as I can convince.

Samuel M. Lam, MD, FACS, a board certified hair transplant surgeon in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about Dr Lam’s hair transplant procedures, or to schedule a consultation please call 972-312-8105, or visit hairtx.com for more info. To ask Dr Lam a question please visit our hair transplant forum.