Hair Plugs Vs. Hair Transplants: The Definitive Guide For 2020

Hair Plugs Vs. Hair Transplants: The Definitive Guide For 2020

Do you know a hair plug is definitely one type of hair transplant?

On this definitive information you’ll study ten issues it’s essential to find out about hair plugs earlier than you go forward with a hair restoration process so that you don’t find yourself with unnatural, noticeable and ugly wanting hair.

You’ll additionally study concerning the historical past of hair plugs and the assorted professionals and cons of every technique so you may make an knowledgeable resolution for your self. You’ll additionally study why surgeons stopped performing hair plug procedures and what they now do as a substitute.

What are Hair Plugs?

Lately, hair plugs have turn into a kind of misnomer within the hair loss neighborhood.

Traditionally, hair plugs are a spherical grouping of hairs which are collected from the donor space of the scalp (usually the again or sides of the top). Extra lately, hair plugs are usually used to discuss with any patch of hair faraway from a donor website for transplantation (1).

Hair plugs are utilized in a process referred to as a hair transplant.

Hair Plugs vs. Hair Transplant

Whilst you might imagine these are two totally different procedures – and that’s actually a standard perception – hair plugs are a type of hair transplant.

Hair transplants are a grouping of procedures that use implants – usually from your individual head – to cowl balding areas. A hair plug is only a explicit type of implant, one that could be a spherical grouping of hairs.

With differing terminology, it might probably shortly turn into complicated (2). Right here’s a useful breakdown:

  • Hair Transplant: That is the process itself, by which hair implants (or plugs) are transplanted from one space of the scalp (donor website) to the opposite (recipient website).
  • Hair Implant: That is the hair that’s collected and transplanted, both within the type of a strip or single items.
  • Hair Plug: This can be a kind of implant. Historically, the plug was rounded and contained one to eight items of hair. Extra lately, the “plug” is a strip or single unit, and is extra generally known as an implant.

With a greater understanding of the phrases, I’ll be utilizing plug and implant interchangeably all through the article. It is because each phrases are used colloquially, although implant or unit is extra generally utilized by surgeons and hair transplant professionals.

The Historical past of Hair Implants

Hair implants have come a great distance since their growth in 1822. From scalp flaps to plugs to strips to items, it appears implants have shrunk in addition to more practical.

Within the 20th century, hairline restoration procedures turned extra widespread all through the US. This was, largely, due to the introduction of Japanese hair transplant methods within the 1950s.

Sadly, it could take fairly a couple of years earlier than the normal hair plug was discarded in favor of extra pure implants, similar to strips and items.

Showing how FUE works
The Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a extra generally used technique.

As time has progressed, nonetheless, surgeons have continued to good the strategy of unit extraction and transplantation. This has performed wonders for the hair loss neighborhood – giving them a chance to revive their hair with minimal scarring.

Hair Plug Transplant Strategies

When hair plugs had been nonetheless the implant of alternative, there have been numerous strategies employed for his or her transplantation. Let’s have a look.

Punch Graft

This technique concerned using a 4mm punch.

The punch eliminated a cylinder of hair-bearing pores and skin, which normally contained anyplace from 12 to 30 hairs. The cylinder of hair was then positioned in a punched space inside the recipient space.

As you possibly can seemingly think about, this led to an unnatural look. The recipient space generally seemed ‘pluggy’, even after 4 or 5 remedies.

Nonetheless, even with the unnatural look this hair transplant technique was used for greater than 20 years.


Each of those graft sorts concerned the chopping of a skinny strip of hair from the donor space. The realm of elimination is then stitched or stapled, and a slender scar stays.

The graft is then positioned within the recipient space after a scalpel or needle makes small slits within the scalp.

The principle distinction between the minigraft and the micrograft is the variety of hairs inside every graft. The minigraft usually comprises three to eight hairs, whereas the micrograft comprises anyplace from one to 4.

For finest outcomes, two to 4 classes of minigrafting could also be required to finish the part. It is because the slits should be spaced out.

This technique is much less pluggy wanting, nevertheless it nonetheless appears to be like abrupt and a bit unnatural.

The Fashionable Sorts of Hair Transplantation Strategies

As talked about above, hair plugs are an outdated time period which have endured exterior of the medical neighborhood.

The everyday method of transplant was referred to as punch graft, however newer (and higher) strategies of transplant have since been developed.

I wrote an article concerning the timeline of a transplant over right here.

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

Much like mini and micrografting talked about above, a follicular unit transplantation includes the elimination of a strip of hair from the donor website. This strip might be anyplace from 1.5 cm to 30 cm.

As soon as the strip has been eliminated and the donor website sutured or in any other case sealed, the surgeon will then use a microscope to dissect the donor strip. The objective is to gather people follicular hair grafts.

As soon as this has been completed, the surgeon will make punctures within the recipient website. The person items are then positioned in a sample predetermined by the surgeon.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

Whereas the top objective of FUE is much like FUT, the best way of getting there’s way more concerned.

As an alternative of eradicating a strip and then dissecting it, the follicles are extracted from the donor website individually (5). This leaves very minimal scarring, and it might probably make the ultimate end result seem extra pure.

FUT vs. FUE vs. Hair Plugs

There may be one similarity between the three transplant sorts, and that’s the truth that all use hair extracted from donor websites on the scalp. In any other case, each FUT and FUE don’t have anything else in related with hair plugs.

As beforehand talked about, plugs had been historically eliminated in a cylindrical sample. FUT and FUE make the most of both a strip or particular person unit extraction sample, and this leads to a extra pure look.

Modern hair transplant method

As for which process is healthier, each FUT and FUE have their apparent advantages over hair plugs. The scarring left behind is minimal (extra so with FUE) and finest outcomes might be achieved in fewer classes. As well as, unwanted side effects could also be lessened as each procedures are much less invasive.

When evaluating FUT to FUE, the extra generally really helpful process is FUE. It is because extraction and implantation of particular person items depart minimal scarring, and it might probably seem pure.

Nonetheless, prices is usually a figuring out issue, and so can also process size. Whereas FUE prices considerably extra and takes place over a number of classes, a full FUT process might be performed in 5 to seven hours.

On this method, FUT is maybe the most well-liked technique of hair transplantation chosen by sufferers.

Solutions to the Most Generally Requested Questions

In the event you’re contemplating a hair transplant, you could have some questions in your thoughts. Listed here are the solutions to only a few.

1. Will Hair Plugs Remedy Male-Sample Baldness?

As with every hair transplant, hair plugs will solely cowl the difficulty. Which means the reason for your hair loss continues to be current inside the scalp, and you might lose the transplanted hair if one thing isn’t performed to cease the hair loss.

In case you have male-pattern baldness, one of many predominant causes of hair loss is sensitivity to DHT. That is most frequently handled with the FDA-approved medicine minoxidil and finasteride. However different strategies – together with laser remedy and microneedling – are shortly changing into widespread remedy choices.

2. Are Hair Plugs Nonetheless a Viable Choice?

Is it doable to discover a transplant surgeon who nonetheless makes use of plugs? Completely. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply it’s the most suitable choice.

The procedures which depend on hair plugs – specifically, punch grafts and minigrafts – have been slowly phased out and changed by FUE and FUT. It is because outcomes are typically extra pure wanting.

Some inside the hair transplant neighborhood nonetheless discuss with hair implants as plugs. So, technically, hair plugs are nonetheless carried out frequently. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re utilizing the time period historically, then it’s uncommon that you just’ll discover a surgeon who makes use of these strategies or patterns of transplant.

3. Can Anybody With Balding Obtain a Hair Implant?

As with every process, there are sufferers who’re higher candidates than others. Let’s check out a couple of components which will make you an excellent candidate for hair transplantation:

A Effectively-Established Hair Loss Sample

Hair loss can begin early, and it’s not unusual for a hair loss sample to start to kind within the late teenagers and early 20s. Nonetheless, it’s finest to attend till your hair loss sample is established.

(Is your hairline receding or maturing? Discover out right here.)

Hair loss in males usually happens within the horseshoe sample. With girls, it usually begins prime of the scalp, close to the pure half. To start with phases, nonetheless, it’s tough to inform how deep the sample will probably be and the place the hairline will finish.

This is the reason many surgeons will wait till you’ve skilled hair loss for a couple of years earlier than going ahead with the process (6). This provides them a baseline to work with, and might make sure that the outcomes of the surgical procedure seem most pure.

An Abundance of Donor Website Hair

Because the donor website would be the contributor to the recipient space, it’s vital that you’ve greater than sufficient hair within the donor website to totally cowl each areas.

For males with androgenetic alopecia, this normally isn’t an issue till the later phases of the situation. Nonetheless, in case your hair loss trigger is because of an harm or different type of hair loss, you might not have the amount of hair obligatory for a pure look.

A Recognized Reason for Hair Loss

Male-pattern baldness isn’t the one kind of hair loss that leads to the in search of out of hair transplants. Different causes of hair loss embody scalp harm, burns, or issues from surgical procedures.

Earlier than shifting ahead, your surgeon will take a full hair loss historical past. It will assist them to pinpoint the trigger (if it’s not already recognized) and decide whether or not you’re a super candidate for the process.

Sadly, sure hair loss sorts could imply that you just aren’t a super candidate. This contains hair loss brought on by medicines or remedies (similar to chemotherapy), or hair loss brought on by continual situations (similar to lupus) and scarring alopecia (7, 8).

In some instances, hair loss surgical procedure will probably be denied as a result of non permanent nature of the loss (similar to that brought on by chemotherapy. Different instances, it will likely be denied as a result of the percentages of failure are too excessive.

4. Can Ladies Endure Hair Transplantation?

It’s true that hair loss remedies are inclined to differ between women and men (9). However hair transplants are doable for both gender.

Androgenetic alopecia is just not as frequent in girls as it’s in males, nevertheless it nonetheless impacts a big proportion of the inhabitants (10). And similar to males, there are different situations which will set off hair loss, too, together with sickness, harm stress, and hormonal imbalance.

It’s true that hair transplants aren’t as frequent amongst girls as they’re for males, however there are lots of medical doctors who specialize within the remedy of Feminine-Sample Hair Loss (FPHL). In some instances, they could suggest transplants to these girls who’ve suffered from extended hair loss with out an in any other case easier remedy possibility.

5. Are There Aspect Results to the Process?

As a medical process, there are unwanted side effects to think about earlier than present process hair transplantation (11). Among the extra frequent ones embody:

  • Edema – That is swelling that happens on the scalp or within the face, and it may be a facet impact of anesthesia or trauma.
  • Extreme bleeding – Though uncommon, extreme bleeding can occur and will require further stitching to cease the circulation.
  • Sterile folliculitis – Folliculitis is an irritation of the hair follicle, and this will trigger irritation, itching, and poor beauty look. In accordance with a 2014 examine, this was seen in 23.29% of sufferers (10).
  • Itching – It’s not unusual to expertise itching following a hair transplant, particularly through the therapeutic stage. It’s vital, nonetheless, to not scratch or in any other case disturb the realm to scale back probabilities of scarring, an infection, and improper therapeutic.
  • Scarring – Whereas the newer strategies of transplant have considerably lowered scarring, some sufferers could expertise noticeable scarring after the process. This may be non permanent or everlasting.
  • Numbness – This will happen within the donor website for as much as 18 weeks, nevertheless it’s not usually bothersome sufficient for remedy to be sought. In accordance with the examine talked about above, this was current in 10.96% of transplant sufferers.
  • Hiccups – As an anesthetic facet impact, you might expertise hiccups for a number of hours following the process. Whereas annoying, this shouldn’t trigger any lasting results or hinder therapeutic in anyway.
  • An infection – In uncommon instances, an infection can take root in both the donor or recipient space of the scalp. This will injury the transplant if not handled, however it might probably usually be dealt with with a spherical of antibiotics.

After all, it’s doable to endure unwanted side effects not talked about above. Your surgeon will go over all prospects so you may make a extra knowledgeable resolution.

6. What Can I Count on from the Process?

It’s vital to enter the process with an understanding of correct expectations. In any case, you shouldn’t count on to stroll out after your first session with totally restored head of hair.

With this in thoughts, right here’s a couple of issues to count on:

  1. Chances are you’ll have to endure a number of classes: Your surgeon can provide you a greater concept of what number of classes will probably be wanted, nevertheless it’s uncommon for one session to revive your hair loss fully.
  2. Your hair loss trigger received’t be cured: In case your hair loss is brought on by male-pattern baldness, the balding will reoccur if the trigger isn’t dealt with.
  3. Chances are you’ll expertise some unwanted side effects: These embody those talked about above, however you may also expertise unwanted side effects which are particular to you.
  4. Therapeutic time varies by particular person: Whereas surgeons can give you a basic timeline for therapeutic, you might heal extra shortly or extra extra slowly. This is dependent upon basic well being, talent of the surgeon, and different such components.

All in all, you need to take into account that hair transplants are not a miracle treatment. This can be a medical process like every other, and outcomes can fluctuate.

7. Which Hair Transplant Technique Ought to I Select?

In the event you’re critical about receiving a hair transplant, it’s vital to seek the advice of with no less than three surgeons earlier than shifting ahead with the process.

As a part of your consultations, the surgeon will talk about the choices out there. As well as, they’ll take a hair loss historical past, and sure study your scalp carefully to provide you an knowledgeable opinion.

There are professionals and cons to the totally different transplant strategies, and so it’s finest to debate your choices in full with knowledgeable.

8. What Will the Process Price?

Price is probably going one of many first issues to return to thoughts when desirous about present process a hair restoration process. Earlier than I get into the numbers, let’s check out some components that may have an effect on value:

  1. The variety of grafts wanted: The variety of grafts wanted is said to the quantity of hair loss that has occurred. The extra grafts you want, the extra money you’ll pay.
  2. The placement of the process: In the event you dwell in a rustic with the next value of residing (such because the US, Canada, or England), you possibly can count on to pay extra for the process than if you happen to dwell in a spot similar to India, Mexico, and many others. After all, you possibly can journey for the process to decrease prices.
  3. The status of the surgeon: You get what you pay for, and that is true when selecting a surgeon to carry out the process. Whereas a well-regarded surgeon will value extra, you’ll additionally seemingly see higher outcomes.
  4. The transplant technique used: All transplant strategies have totally different prices, and these normally relate to the period of time and experience which the tactic requires. For instance, FUE will value greater than FUT as a result of period of time and delicacy concerned.
  5. The prices of after-care: Whereas most sufferers should pay for basic after-care merchandise – similar to a specialised shampoo – you might expertise issues (similar to an infection) that require costlier merchandise or medicines (similar to antibiotics).

As talked about above, the variety of grafts wanted to finish the process will usually have an effect on the fee most. With this in thoughts, right here’s a breakdown of some common value ranges:

         Scale        Description of hair loss Variety of grafts Value vary
Norwood 2 Early receding hairline 400-800 £800-£4000
Norwood 3 Receding hair line 800-1000 £1600-£5000
Norwood 4 Androgenetic alopecia 1000-1500 £2000-£7500

As proven, the extra hair loss you’ve skilled (as categorized by Norwood rating), the extra you’ll pay for the process.

9. How Many Transplants Will I Want in My Lifetime?

If the supply of your hair loss isn’t handled previous to the process, you might expertise additional hair loss because of this. Which means you’ll seemingly have to obtain a transplant greater than as soon as.

Nonetheless, the reply to this query will fluctuate considerably by particular person.

If the reason for your hair loss has been resolved, then one process (which consists of a number of classes) could also be all that you just want. If hairline recession continues, nonetheless, then you might want two, three, or much more.

After all, an excellent transplant surgeon will work with you to attenuate the variety of transplants wanted. This might imply that the surgeon denies your request for a transplant till the difficulty is below management, or till your hair loss has stopped totally.

10. Can a Botched Hair Plug Process Be Mounted?

There are numerous causes that the normal hair plug implant has been changed by unit and strip implants. Sadly, some surgeons should use hair plugs of their apply, otherwise you obtained a hair plug transplant years in the past that has been bothering you.

In these instances, you’ll be glad to know that botched hair transplants can be mounted.

A educated and skilled surgeon can simply repair the difficulty, although it would value greater than your typical transplant.

It is because the surgeon will seemingly be required to take away the outdated transplant, after which both dissect it into smaller items (within the case of enormous hair plugs) or exchange it altogether.

For such a process, you’ll wish to discover a surgeon who’s skilled in restoration. That is vital, as a result of the method of hair transplant restoration has its personal methods and strategies. As well as, it requires particular talent with a purpose to work round scarring and different points related to unhealthy hair transplants.

Is There an Various Choice?

Whether or not the unwanted side effects don’t appear value it, or the prices appear too excessive, there are lots of causes that you could be resolve in opposition to a hair transplant or hair plug process.

Fortuitously, there are different strategies at your disposal.

These strategies could not have rapid outcomes, however they could assist to sluggish hair loss and even perhaps regrow misplaced hair.

The principle factor it’s essential to give attention to is restoration of your hair follicles.

As hair loss happens, your follicles start to miniaturize (12). If not handled, the follicles can die and hair loss might be irreversible.

There are pure strategies to revive hair follicles, and this includes direct stimulation of progress.

Enhance Blood Circulation and Stimulate the Follicles With a Dermaroller

Microneedling is a dermatological apply used to stimulate blood circulation and induce collagen (13). It does so by inflicting small wounds, which then go on to heal. Throughout this therapeutic course of, new pores and skin cells are produced.

Microneedling for hair growth

Microneedling might be practiced at house, although it’s additionally performed as knowledgeable remedy by dermatologists and hair restoration specialists.

At house, you should use a tool referred to as a dermaroller (or dermastamp) to carry out the process.

(Be taught the most effective methods of dermaroller use right here.)

As talked about, this method will increase blood circulation (obligatory for wholesome hair progress) which then makes it doable for important minerals and vitamins to make their technique to the follicles.

Different advantages of microneedling which seemingly play a job in hair progress embody:

  • Launch of platelet derived progress issue, epidermal progress components are elevated by platelet activation and pores and skin wound regeneration mechanism
  • Activation of stem cells within the hair bulge space below wound therapeutic situations which is brought on by a dermaroller
  • Overexpression of hair progress associated genes vascular endothelial progress issue, B catenin, Wnt3a, and Wnt10 b.

And, consider it or not, this process has been proven to be fairly useful in these affected by AGA.

One examine specifically confirmed that microneedling helped to enhance the outcomes of minoxidil in simply 12 weeks (14).

Even higher, microneedling has additionally been proven to be useful even in these males who haven’t had success with typical (e.g. minoxidil and finasteride) remedies (15). By no means share a microneedling software.


Whereas hair implants can work to switch the hair you’ve misplaced, they aren’t at all times your best option. That’s why I like to recommend you contemplate all choices previous to present process the process.

In the event you do select to endure the process, I like to recommend that you just take the time to find the fitting surgeon. Because the transplant is a beauty process, you wish to remember to select a surgeon with expertise and experience. Whereas value is vital to think about, you do get what you pay for.

After all, prior to creating any selections, you need to know the trigger of your hair loss. That is vital, as it would assist you to make your best option for each your present and future self.

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