Women enjoy having thick, full hair regardless of the length they pick for their hairstyles. Similar to men, however, women can suffer from hair thinning and loss. As a result, more and more women are seeking hair transplants.

A hair transplant, also known as follicular unit transplantation or FUT, is a medical procedure in which a physician surgically moves some hair follicles to another area for growth. Doctors take the needed follicles from elsewhere on the patient’s body. They then graft the follicles in the area where the patient wants hair to grow.

Normally, doctors move only one to four hair follicles in a graft, so patients who get hair transplants usually need multiple grafts to get the results they want. Physicians arrange the grafts in a random pattern so the hair looks natural.

Are hair transplants for women different than hair transplants for men?

Transplants for women are somewhat newer, but they are no different than those for men. However, doctors do pay attention to how female physiology influences hair growth and healing of the graft.

Transplants for women are not as common or popular simply because hair loss in men tends to be more prevalent and more severe.

What type of woman is a good candidate for a hair transplant?

In general, women who have hair loss in a particular area of the scalp are good candidates. This often happens because of injuries such as burns or surgery. Women who have female-pattern baldness also are good candidates. Hair loss that is generalized over the entire scalp is much harder to treat.

Are there side effects or risks associated with the transplant procedure?

Just like men, women sometimes experience side effects from hair transplants. These tend to be minor, however, and they generally are not permanent. Examples of side effects women can experience include headache, numbness or tenderness of the scalp, redness, swelling (due to numbing medications) and itching.

Another common result is temporary thinning of existing hair around the transplant site. This can occur because the skin in the area is traumatized by the procedure and needs some time to heal and restart the hair cycle. Over-the-counter products such as saline solutions and anti-inflammatory medications generally take care of these issues.

As with any procedure that punctures the skin, some slight risk of infection is present.

What benefits can a woman expect?

When a woman undergoes hair restoration, the extra hair that eventually grows gives her style more depth and volume. Her appearance can improve, with some women looking much younger due to the change in hair line.

Some women get a self-esteem boost by knowing they look better, which can affect socialization. It also becomes easier to style the hair in different ways, giving a woman more fashion flexibility.

What will the procedure cost?

The cost of hair transplantation for women is about the same as for men per graft. Women generally don’t need as many grafts, though, so overall, women can expect to pay a little less. Charges vary by physician, but transplantation is not cheap – charges of $4,000 or more are not unusual.

In effect, hair restoration is definitely a great solution for women with hair loss who desire an improved appearance.

Contributed by Wanda Marie Thibodeaux