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How to Know if a Hair Transplant Has Failed

Hair transplant procedures in the UK have a high success rate - 90%. Despite this, hair transplants do fail and are affected by a number of different factors. The most obvious way to tell whether your hair transplant has failed is due to the transplanted hair failing to grow, but in many cases it is not black and white.

In the following guide, the hair transplant experts at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors explain how you can tell if your hair transplant surgery has failed, what the main causes for hair transplant failure are and how to maximise your chances of anything going wrong.

Why do hair transplants fail?

Hair transplants can fail for a number of reasons:

  • The grafted hair follicles are not healthy enough to start growing
  • The affected area is rubbed and irritated, causing the hair grafts to fall out
  • The affected area becomes infected
  • The patient has an unhealthy diet, uses drugs and alcohol frequently during the healing process, or becomes ill, leading the body to focus its healing elsewhere
  • The hair transplant procedure was not carried out properly

There are many steps you can take to improve your chances of hair growth, but some factors that may affect it are out of your control - such as the skill of your surgeon.

What are the key signs of a failing hair transplant?

One of the most obvious signs of a failing hair transplant is infection. This will cause the affected area to swell and shift and bleed, and increase the chances of hair loss. You will be able to tell if the area of the transplant has become infected due to the following symptoms:

  • Hard, painful swelling on the affected area that lasts for a long time
  • Bleeding and a yellowish leakage that does not alleviate
  • An over-harvested donor area with a cobblestone appearance
  • Donor scarring situated too high and/or outside the safe area

If you believe your scalp has become infected, you should speak to your surgeon or another medical professional, such as your GP, as soon as possible.

Another obvious sign is if the transplanted hair fails to grow. During the healing process, you may notice some of the transplanted hair begin to fall out - this is not necessarily a sign of failure as it can be an important part of the healthy hair follicles awakening. After three months, they should begin to grow. Then, it should take 12 months for conclusive growth. If you do not notice this growth between the three and 12 month marks, your hair transplant operation may have failed.

Alternatively, you may find that your hair follicles do begin to grow, but in patches, asymmetrically or along a 'bad' hair line - an undesirable location, potentially further back on your head. In these cases, you can also consider your hair transplant to be unsuccessful.

What can you do if your hair transplant procedure has gone wrong?

The first thing you should do if you are concerned that your hair transplant has failed is to speak to your surgeon. They should be able to offer you advice on what may have caused it to fail and if there is anything that can be done about it.

Alternatively, if you believe your surgeon is responsible for your failed hair transplant, you should speak to your GP. 

One of the leading cases of hair transplant failure is clinical negligence - the failure of the surgeon to perform the procedure properly. In the UK, all medical practitioners are held to a high standard by the government, which dictates how they must perform procedures and what information they must provide to patients.

If your surgeon has failed to treat you to the required standard, they will have acted with medical negligence and you may be able to hold them accountable by taking legal action.

Medical negligence can be identified with the following criteria:

  • Your surgeon did not perform their surgery in line with the UK’s requirements
  • You suffered physical, mental or financial damage due to your surgeon’s actions

If you have been treated with cosmetic surgery negligence, you should speak to an expert solicitor - such as the specialists at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors - as soon as possible. We help patients who have been mistreated by cosmetic surgeons to claim compensation that can help to cover expensive medical care, therapy and loss of finances that are required directly due to the negligent treatment they were subject to.

Making a medical negligence claim for a hair transplant that you received abroad carries some challenges, namely the fact that cosmetic surgeons in other countries are often held to lower standards than those in the UK, meaning they can get away with cutting some corners. However, Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors regularly deals with such cases - we will use our deep understanding of medical negligence law and how it is shared between the UK and other countries to get you the best chance of securing compensation.

Once you have been seen by a medical professional, consider speaking to our team. We are experienced in dealing with negligent hair transplant surgeons and will work closely with you to help you get the support you require.

Call our team today on 0808 291 1223, or fill out an online contact form to arrange a callback.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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