Transgender Hair Transplant: Everything You Need To Know

- Reviewed by: Dr. Jae Pak, M.D.

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The journey of transitioning gender takes planning and dedication for those who wish to maximize their results. While some changes to one’s appearance can be attained quickly, others take more time to follow through and complete in full.

As many transitioning individuals know, achieving their ideal head of hair is one of the more challenging parts of the process since human hair is challenging to manipulate and change from its original state.

That’s why transgender hair transplant has become one of the more popular procedures in the community. It offers highly personalized and permanent results for anyone with a clear vision of how they want their hair to look.

Hair transplant has been around for decades, but it has become efficient, accurate, and attainable in the past several years, especially for individuals in the transitioning process.

Let’s explore all the aspects of hair transplant for transgender patients, what they can expect from the process, and how they can find the best clinics and surgeons to perform the procedure with total confidence.

What Is Transgender Hair Transplant?

At first glance, a transgender hair transplant does not differ in any technical sense from a standard hair transplant for a male or female. However, surgeons may approach these procedures differently, depending on the circumstances.

Here is what to know about transgender hair transplants in a basic overview.

Scope and Aim of Surgery

As is the case with all hair transplants, the goal of the procedure is aligned with the vision of the client, combined with the expertise and input from an experienced hair restoration surgeon.

For transgender people, there may be multiple goals for a single surgery, or they may set out a more extended timeline with more minor procedures to attain and maintain results over time.

To get an idea of what most clients are looking for, the following points tend to be the most common objectives in transgender hair transplant procedures:

  • Feminization of the hairline focused on increased coverage, density, and symmetry
  • Lowering of a masculine or “mature hairline” to appear more feminine
  • Reversal or improvement of androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness)
  • Correcting bald patches, bald spots, and thinning areas on the crown of the scalp
  • Adding hair to the frontal region of the scalp to allow for more feminine hairstyles
  • Natural-looking aesthetics to boost self-esteem, self-confidence, and more

Again, the precise goals and details of each procedure will vary between clients and the influence of the surgeon, but transgender hair transplants can be effective in achieving these, with high satisfaction rates from patients.

Who Are The Best Candidates?

Since hair transplants tend to be best suited for males with typical pattern balding, male-to-female transgender patients are often the ideal candidates for this procedure.

Because hair transplant techniques and implements have advanced to such a great degree, the procedure is effective for candidates from nearly every ethnic background, even those with naturally thin or sparse hair.

The world’s most experienced and skilled surgeons can work with a wide range of candidates to achieve optimal aesthetic outcomes for transitioning individuals, even if this means going beyond the scope of a standard hair transplant for a male.

In terms of the transitioning timeline, a hair transplant is recommended for trans women who have already completed gender reassignment surgery and are taking hormone therapy. In particular, the introduction of female hormones can protect and enhance transplantation results.

However, some limitations may come into play, such as the availability of healthy donor hair on the sides and the back of the head. Since transgender hair transplants tend to require a higher volume of hair than usual, a greater number of available follicle units (containing multiple strands of hair) are usually needed.

Even still, major strides can be made with limited resources when performing transgender hair transplants, as the primary factors for results are the artistry and strategy of the surgeon, in addition to their abilities and equipment.

What Are The Possible Risks?

While the great majority of transgender hair transplants are completed with zero setbacks or issues, there are some minor risks that must be accounted for in any type of procedure.

The main risk to consider is that the outcome of any cosmetic surgery is never guaranteed 100%.

Even if surgeons have the best possible resources and skills available, limiting factors like hair health and other obstacles can get in the way of a perfect hairline or long-term maintenance of results as outlined in the consultation.

In addition, patients may face a slight risk of discomfort, infection, scarring, or adverse reactions to medicines administered during or after the procedure.

To keep these risk factors to a minimum, we stress the importance of extensive and thorough consultation between the client and doctor before any agreement is reached. Risk assessment is part of the transitioning process that many trans individuals acknowledge, and undergoing a hair transplant is no different in this regard.

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Transgender Hair Transplant Methods and Medicine

A trans person who decides to follow through with hair transplantation will have to choose between two main surgical methods to meet their needs.

In this section, we’ll cover the two types of hair transplantation surgery that deliver the best results for transgender people, plus any additional medicine and treatments that may be used to supplement lasting results in the long term.

Follicular Unit Transplant

Also known as “strip surgery,” Follicular Unit Transplant is the most common and well-established technique in the field of hair transplantation for trans people or otherwise.

This method involves the surgical removal of a horizontal, hair-bearing strip of skin from a donor area of the patient’s scalp, typically at the back of the head, towards the neck, where the highest concentration of healthy hair is found.

Having removed this portion of skin, the surgeon and accompanying technicians will dissect and process individual follicle units from the strip segment, identifying the most promising pieces of skin containing the best hair for transplantation.

Small incisions are then made in the targeted recipient regions of the scalp, usually at the front of the head along the hairline and temples.

The main advantage of FUT is the high volume of quality hair yielded from the technique, although the procedure does leave a horizontal scar on the back of the head that can be covered with longer hair or via Scalp MicroPigmentation.

Follicular Unit Excision

A more recent advancement in hair transplantation is known as Follicular Unit Excision, which does away with the horizontal scar typically left behind by FUT.

In FUE, an intricate surgical hole-punch implement is used to extract individual follicle units from the donor area in a patchwork formation, allowing surgeons to pinpoint exactly which clusters of hair will be most suitable for transplantation.

However, this procedure tends to generate smaller yields of usable hair for surgeons and techs to work with, making it a less common choice for transgender hair transplants that require many thousands of follicles to complete. Another downside is that shaving on the back of the scalp is required for FUE.

In some cases, FUE is certainly sufficient. But as always, clients and surgeons must come together during the consultation process, weigh pros and cons, and agree upon the best course of action.

Ongoing Treatment and Therapeutics

A complete hair transplantation game plan begins with the surgery itself, but there is much more that goes into the equation, especially for transgender patients in the midst of hormone therapy and other treatments.

Follow-up and ongoing support are essential for transgender clients who undergo hair transplantation. This will ensure they feel comfortable and confident during the process while taking all necessary measures to maintain and promote healthy hair post-surgery.

With hair transplantation, popular treatments include medicines like Finasteride and Minoxidil, and therapies like low-level light therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections are also often used.

Since every patient is different and follows unique medical protocols during the transition process, ongoing care and treatment is a crucial part of transgender hair transplants overall.

Choosing A Clinic: Key Criteria

Choosing the right clinic and surgeon to perform a hair transplant is essential and even more critical for transgender hair procedures, regardless of your goals.

Here are the three main components to look for when picking a clinic.

Trusted Surgeon and Technicians

The surgeon you select is going to have the biggest impact on your experience before, during, and after surgery, as well as the quality of the results you see long term.

Be sure to read extensively into reviews and testimonials when browsing surgeons in your area, and set aside any clinics that have no proven experience with transgender hair procedures.

Since transgender clients may have complex medical and personal needs, picking the right surgeon and clinic requires extra research.

Advanced Technologies

Settle for nothing less than state-of-the-art technology when choosing a clinic to perform a transgender hair transplant.

Discover as much as you can about the clinic and check to see that their facilities and equipment are up to date in every way. This indicates competence and low risk while also helping to ensure the best possible results post-surgery.

Continued Support and Service

As stated before, ongoing support and guidance is vital to ensuring satisfactory results for transgender hair transplants.

Establish strong lines of communication with your chosen clinic, and be prepared to maintain them into the future as you navigate the journey ahead.

Consultation and Process

Once you’ve selected a clinic and surgeon, the consultation process begins. This will include a complete medical overview, accounting for all prior surgeries, treatments, and ongoing transition process efforts.

From there, the main focus of consultation for the client and surgeon is to collaborate in creating the ideal image of what a fully restored and reimagined head of hair will look like.

After this session, the surgeon will set the surgery date and agree upon the cost of the procedure with the client.

From the client’s perspective, hair transplantation is an outpatient procedure with minimal discomfort due to local anesthetics and a pleasant environment in-clinic.

Clients will go home that same day and go through a recovery process of a few weeks before returning to normal work and physical activities.

Your Ideal Hair, Within Reach with Jae Pak, M.D.

While transgender hair transplants follow most of the same mechanics as a standard transplant for a man or woman, there is much more to consider for this procedure in terms of medical complexity and the client’s unique needs.

Team up with Jae Pak, MD, an industry leader renowned for transgender hair transplants, and get your process moving forward today.


Glossary of Terms | GLAAD

Hair Tips for Transgender Women | All Things Hair

Hair Transplantation FAQ | Penn Medicine

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