What are the Causes of Hair Transplant Failure and How to Avoid them?

12 May, 2021 | Hair Transplant | Author : Shveta Virmani

According to clinical studies, the success rate of hair transplant surgery is 85-90%. This means that there are 10-15% chances that your transplant won’t reap the expected results. And, this is a point to be clarified by every cosmetic surgeon or hair transplant specialist to their patients.

There are several factors that determine the success rate of a hair transplant surgery and if your body doesn’t respond well to it, there are chances that you’d be left with sparsely growing hair at the site of transplantation.

As for the causes of hair transplant failure, there are quite a few influencing factors, including less experience of the specialist, the lack of potency of the transplant follicles, and lack of proper aftercare. To get you a clearer understanding, we will be discussing everything about hair transplant failure and how you can avoid it.

Table of Contents

Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:

  1. What is Hair Transplant Failure?
  2. What is a Failed Hair Transplant?
  3. Causes of Hair Transplant Failure
  4. Reasons behind Failed Hair Transplant
  5. General Complications due to failed hair transplant
  6. How Failed Hair Transplants are Corrected?
  7. What are the Rescue Options for Failed Hair Transplant?
  8. Who is eligible for Hair Corrective Procedure?
  9. How does Hair Transplant Revision Procedure Work?
  10. Hair Transplant Revision Surgery’s Effectiveness


1. What is Hair Transplant Failure?

Remember that a hair transplant failure is extremely rare but not impossible. For the most part, the definition of this outcome is described as the lack of expected results. If you expect that your hairline would be restored after the surgery and it isn’t, the same is a sign of a failed hair transplant.

While there are a lot of causes that go into contributing to the failure of the procedure, most of the individuals don’t even realize what to expect when talking about the failed treatment. Given how expensive and taxing such restorative procedures are, the last thing that anyone possibly wants to experience is a failed procedure.

A failed hair transplant procedure can be signified by:

Lacking density – If your recipient site on the scalp doesn’t have a dense hair regrowth after the transplant, it is a sign that your surgery was a failure. As for the reason, the lack of dense hair regrowth could very well stem from the inactive or damaged hair follicles that have been transplanted from the donor site.

Donor Area is Exhausted – This means that the availability of hair follicles from the donor site is next to none. This is a common issue when you are getting the procedure done by an inexperienced surgeon who isn’t able to distinguish the viable follicles for the transplant procedure.

Unnatural Looking Hairline – One of the most crucial parts of a hair transplant procedure is the restoration of the hairline (in most patients, especially men). If your hairline is still wonky and not the ideal shape as you expected, it is a sign that your hair transplant procedure was a failure.

Uneven Tufts of Hair Regrowth – While lack of density in the transplanted site is a sign of hair transplant failure, uneven tufts of hair regrowth is also another sign. This signifies that the grafts have been implanted unevenly and is often a sign of work done by a novice surgeon.

2. What is a Failed Hair Transplant?

In the case of a failed hair transplant, the desired results for hair growth are not seen. The results are uneven and unnatural in case of a failed hair transplant. Maybe after the head transplant procedure, the hair can fall in large numbers. In some instances, the patient might also see hair growth in patches with significant bald and hairy patches instead of an even growth.

The results of a successful hair transplant surgery are very natural and almost undetectable. But in the case of a failed hair transplant, the hair seems highly unnatural, and the results are very artificial-looking. The hair growth is not as desired, which is one of the first signs of Hair transplant failure.

3. Causes of Hair Transplant Failure

As we have said before, the causes of hair transplant failure are immense and sometimes extremely subjective too. You need to realize that the procedure is only done after the surgeon assesses your hair and the viability of your hair follicles.

If you consult a new or inexperienced surgeon who is charging less for your procedure, they wouldn’t take their time out to assess your medical condition and whether you are even a suitable candidate for the procedure. Such instances often lead to failure.

However, we wanted to highlight each of the causes separately for you to make an informed decision for the surgery. Some of the common causes behind hair transplant failure include:

Inexperience of the surgeon

It doesn’t matter what type of hair transplant surgery you are undergoing, every single one of them requires the immaculate experience of the surgeon. From the extraction of the follicles from the donor site to the graft placement, there are a lot of things that go into play when it comes to this cosmetic surgery.

A less experienced doctor might charge you less for the surgery but they are more prone to making mistakes, especially when it involves the harvesting of the hair follicles followed by the implantation procedure. They will also have a hard time settling on the permanent safety donor area from the scalp.

Not just that, an inexperienced surgeon’s lack of expertise can result in an unnatural-looking hairline or less density of hair growth on the scalp.

Choosing a Wrong Clinic or Franchise-based Clinic

Not many would consider this but the hair transplantation procedure is a life-changing surgery for some patients. So, you want to plan things ahead of time and ensure that you get it from a clinic that is well-equipped with the latest medical technologies for a refined and effective procedure.

While it is true that every hair transplant clinic in delhi is established to make themselves good money from the business, there is no point going to the ones that won’t even ensure proper care, before and after the surgery.

It is crucial that you look into the medical clinics that are equipped with the best team of experienced doctors and nurses who can help you through the procedure with proper care, right from the first consultation to the post-operative care.

Volume of Surgeries Done by a Clinic

When talking about the volume of surgeries done by a clinic in a day, we want you to be aware of the clinic’s efficiency. There are some leading cosmetic surgery clinics across the world that conduct over 10-20 surgeries in a day and with flying colours. A well-booked clinic is a sign of good service.

However, before booking an appointment, you need to ensure that the clinic is well-staffed, despite their consistent stream of patients coming in. Keep a check on the testimonials to get a better idea about the pre and post-operative care and follow-ups in the clinic.

Two red flags that you might want to be aware of are the lack of well-trained staff in the clinic and the lack of testimonials about the bulk of cosmetic surgeries conducted in the clinic. Alternatively, there are clinics that have a few staff members and conduct a handful of surgeries throughout the day. Those work too, as long as the procedure is done by experienced hands with the help of the aiding staff on the side.

Insufficient Post-Operative Care

One of the crucial factors that contribute to the heightened success of a hair transplant surgery is post-operative care. More than the actual surgery, the patient needs to be careful about following the aftercare instructions to ensure higher success rates. These aftercare instructions should be explained by the doctor or the clinic.

If that isn’t the case with you and you are asked to drive back home with no proper instructions on what to do next, it is going to affect the recovery and in turn, affect the success rates too.

Not Being an Ideal Candidate

Everyone wants to flaunt their thick and bouncy hair, but for some individuals, it becomes quite difficult, primarily because of the poor health of hair follicles, scalp issues, or other medical issues. While hair transplant surgeries are a viable option for restoring the appearance and quality of your hair on the scalp, it is not for every patient.

The assessment of whether you are a viable candidate for a hair transplant is done and suggested by your consulting cosmetic surgeon. Remember that every patient has a finite number of donor hair follicles on their scalp. If the available donor follicles are damaged or not high yielding, they will not result in satisfying regrowth of the hair after the transplantation procedure.

So, before considering undergoing the surgery, you need to sit down with your surgeon and listen to their explanations instead of blindly getting the surgery done, only to be disappointed later.

Misinformation or Misunderstanding

There are several patients who have a misleading thought that the end of the surgery should contribute to instant hair regrowth from the transplanted site. That is a complete misunderstanding and needs to be discussed between the surgeon and the patient.

Often, patients regard the surgery as a “failure” when they don’t see instant results. However, you need to understand that the regrowth of the hair from the transplant site can take 7-8 months to show results. So, if you don’t see noticeable hair growth in that phase, it is not necessarily a failure.

4. Reasons behind Failed Hair Transplant

  • Drying of grafts: After extracting them, it is crucial to take proper care of the hair graft. Generally, once the hair grafts are extracted, they are kept in a bath solution before being transplanted at the recipient location. If there is any mishandling during this procedure and grafts are not handled properly, it can result in contamination and air drying. Once the grafts dry, they lose their viability and result in a failed hair transplant.
  • Improper graft placement: implanting the graft at a particular depth is highly crucial to the success of a hair transplant procedure. The hair follicles are located in the dermis of the scalp. Hair follicles need to be transplanted up to a certain depth for viable growth. If the grafts are placed very deeply, they won't grow properly and can result in a failed hair transplant. If the placement depth is shallow, it will result in the easy pulling of the hair follicles.
  • Less experienced surgeon: Hair transplant surgery is a highly complex surgery requiring a highly skilled hair surgeon. Any unskilled surgeon can cause more damage and results in a failed hair transplant. The surgeon also requires knowledge of proper hair extraction and transplantation techniques.

These factors play a crucial role in determining the success of a hair transplant surgery.

5. General Complications due to failed hair transplant

  • A failed hair transplant can result in extreme dissatisfaction as desired results or not obtained.
  • A failed hair transplant gives the appearance of the doll head where most of the grafts are placed in such clusters and there are larger gaps present between different grafts. It provides a natural appearance on the head.
  • Another complication of a failed hair transplant is a poorly designed hairline which can look unnatural and asymmetric.
  • Scarring: one of the major complications of a failed hair transplant is the formation of scars. Improper technique and a lack of expertise from the surgeon can result in the formation of scars on the scalp during the head transplant procedure.

6. How Failed Hair Transplants are Corrected?

If you have undergone hair transplant surgery recently, your doctor will first advise waiting for a few months till the hair follicles are viable enough to ensure regrowth of the hair. It can take around 8-12 months after the surgery. So, the first step to correct the failure is to be patient and wait to see the results.

In case there is no regrowth from the transplanted follicles, the surgeon will give you another assessment to check for the causes behind the failure.

As for what could be done to reinstate the growth again, most of the hair transplant specialists suggest undergoing corrective hair transplant surgery for the same. This is a revision procedure that involves pretty much the same procedure as a standard hair transplant but involves a lot more precision and detailing into the surgery.

7. What are the Rescue Options for Failed Hair Transplant?

  • Combined repair: Combined repair is a procedure where all the larger or excessively saturated grafts in one particular area are removed. The larger graft is then dissected and placed individually into the donor area. It creates a more natural and realistic appearance. This also allows for better camouflage and a successful failed hair transplant revision surgery.
  • Laser Treatment: Laser treatment is also utilized to correct the failed hair transplant. The procedure is generally used for smaller hair follicles where LASER is used to remove grafts that are improperly placed

8. Who is eligible for Hair Corrective Procedure?

Another reason that can cause a failed hair transplant is the incompatibility of the candidate. All hair transplant procedures can be performed on anyone. Several factors impact the final result. Below are some factors that can qualify you for getting a failed hair transplant revision surgery.

  • Age: for undergoing a failed hair transplant revision surgery, a candidate should be about the age of 25. Doctors generally prefer to perform a hair transplant in later years as baldness worsens with age. Revision hair transplant surgery would be more successful in later years.
  • Stability of Donor area:  The shrinking of hair follicles is one of the leading causes of hair loss. A particular hormone known as dihydrotestosterone is responsible for this miniaturization of the hair follicle, which leads to baldness. A proper evaluation of the donor and the recipient site is essential before undergoing a revision hair transplant surgery. If the hair growth around the donor area is thin, the scars around the donor sites would be easily noticeable.
  • Good scalp health: The ideal candidate for the revision hair transplant surgery should have overall good hair quality texture and a healthy scalp. This reduces the chance of scarring and provides better results after the hair transplant surgery.

No long-term health problems: Patients with any long-term health problems like diabetes or blood pressure are generally recommended not to undergo surgery without further consultation with a doctor. The ideal candidate for the surgery are people with no prior or severe health conditions.

9. How does Hair Transplant Revision Procedure Work?

In the case of a revision hair transplant procedure counselling and understanding the reason behind the previous hair transplant failures are extremely crucial. After the identification of the causes behind the hair transplant failure, a plan of action can be developed by consulting a skilled surgeon.

  • The correction of a failed hair transplant surgery requires the removal of all the misplaced hair follicles from their site. Larger grafts that are aggregated at a place are also removed.
  •  These larger grafts are then separated into individual follicles and each new individual follicle is inserted where the bald patches are present.
  • When there are problems with a hairline, a completely new hairline can be designed during a failed hair transplant procedure.
  • Scars from the previously failed hair transplant can also be corrected and camouflaged using other procedures.
  • There are several processes that can be utilised for the correction of a failed hair transplant surgery.

10. Hair Transplant Revision Surgery’s Effectiveness

A failed hair transplant revision surgery can be highly effective and can provide significantly visible results. Most people start feeling conscious and frustrated when their first hair transplant fails. But with the advancement of techniques in the field of hair transplant revision, patients have another option to correct their hairline and hair.

  • After hair transplant revision surgery, it is observed that a patient feels more confident and satisfied with their looks.
  • The surgery can also help redesign an entire new hairline that provides a younger and more natural look.
  • Techniques like scalp micro pigmentation can help in the correction of any remaining bald patches. The revision hair transplant is highly effective in camouflaging the scars of the failed hair transplant.

If you are struggling with a failed hair transplant and are not satisfied with the result, getting revision surgery is one of the best options for you.


If you are re-considering undergoing hair transplantation just because of the risks of failure, you don’t have to. As we said, it is an extremely rare occurrence and can be avoided with proper research and care. The most crucial tip to a successful surgery is to find the right surgeon and the right clinic to undergo the procedure.

At Medlinks, you will get the best experience while considering a hair transplant from a team of leading hair transplant specialists in a well-equipped clinic. We take pride in having Dr. Gaurang Krishna, a specialist hair transplant surgeon in our team who has over a decade of experience in this niche. His clientele includes renowned Indian cricketers like Virender Sehwag along with notable Bollywood personalities like Gulshan Grover and Vipin Sharma. Not only does he have high success rates in traditional hair transplants, but his expertise also extends to handling failed transplants and correcting them according to the patient’s expectations.

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Dr. Gaurang Krishna

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Disclaimer:The content published on this website(hairtransplantdelhi.org) is meant to spread awareness and educate the concerned patients regarding baldness and hair transplants as well as the treatment options available for baldness and hair transplant treatment in Delhi India. Any information on the website shall not be regarded as a prescription from a professional dermatologist. We recommend visiting a dermatologist in person for the right diagnosis and the treatment for any hair issues. We do not guarantee specific results as the treatments and the results vary from person to person.

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