Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 2/23/2022
If you’ve lost a significant amount of hair due to male pattern baldness, getting a hair transplant is one of the most effective ways to gain back the thickness, fullness and hair density you used to have.
Hair transplant surgery involves carefully removing DHT-resistant hair follicles from the back or sides of your scalp, then moving the follicles to areas with noticeable hair loss. A hair transplant can be used to fill in large areas without hair, or to “regrow” a receding hairline.
A popular new technique for hair transplantation is NeoGraft® -- a hair transplant technology that’s minimally invasive and designed to help you improve your hairline without the long scar, post-surgery discomfort and long recovery of a traditional hair transplant.
On paper, NeoGraft seems much better than a conventional hair transplant. But is it actually a superior hair restoration treatment?
Below, we’ve covered how hair transplant surgery works, as well as how NeoGraft differs from older techniques used to harvest and relocate hair follicles.
We’ve also shared some other hair loss treatments options you may want to consider, either as alternatives to a hair transplant or as complementary treatments to help maintain hair thickness and density after surgery.
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves removing hair follicles from the areas of your scalp with dense, thick hair, then relocating them to areas with hair thinning. Hairline restoration is one type of this procedure.
Several different techniques are used in hair transplant surgery. An older surgical technique is called follicular unit transplantation (FUT). This involves removing a strip of skin from the scalp (typically at the back of the head), then relocating follicles from the strip to balding areas.
A more recent technique is follicular unit extraction (FUE), which involves harvesting individual hairs or small groups of hair from the back of the scalp, then moving them to areas with visible hair loss.
Performed by a medical professional, a hair transplant can give you natural-looking hair in the areas of your scalp affected by hair loss, reversing the visual effects of baldness.
Hair transplantation is most commonly used to treat androgenetic alopecia, a common form of hair loss that’s caused by a combination of genetic factors and the effects of the DHT.
Most hair transplant procedures are performed by dermatologists or plastic surgeons. A typical procedure can take anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the amount of hairs to be transplanted and the severity of your hair loss.
Our guide to hair transplant surgery goes into more detail about the transplantation procedure, how it works and type of results you can expect after surgery.
NeoGraft is a modern hair transplant technique that lets you add thickness and density back to your hairline without some of the downsides of a traditional hair transplant.
Originally, hair transplants used an FUT-based "strip harvesting" method to extract hair follicles from the back of your head. This method is effective for harvesting hair, but it also leaves a long, visible scar on the back of your scalp, often referred to as a “strip scar” or “linear scar.”
Having a strip scar isn’t the biggest deal if you have long, dark hair. However, if you have a light hair color, cut your hair short or shave your head, the scar from an FUT hair transplant can often become visible, signaling to other people that you’ve had a hair transplant.
NeoGraft is a semi-automated version of the FUE hair transplant technique that involves the use of a special device to harvest hair follicles and implant them in other areas of the scalp.
Unlike an FUT hair transplant, which involves surgically removing a large strip of skin to harvest hair follicles, a NeoGraft hair transplant involves harvesting smaller groups of one to three hairs, without the need for a surgical incision.
Because of this difference in harvesting technique, instead of leaving a long strip scar, NeoGraft leaves hundreds of extremely small pinpoint scars in the rear of your scalp.
These scars are still slightly visible when viewed up close, but they’re easier to hide behind your hair than the long scar left behind after an FUT hair transplant.
If you get a hair transplant today, chances are good that you’ll have a choice between getting an old-fashioned, conventional strip hair transplant and a more modern FUE hair transplant method like NeoGraft.
NeoGraft and other FUE hair transplantation methods have several key advantages compared to traditional follicular unit transplantation, or FUT hair transplants.
The first advantage of NeoGraft is that it’s minimally invasive. Since the transplanted hairs are removed in small amounts using a handheld harvesting device, the procedure doesn’t require stitches or surgical staples.
This less invasive approach means that the recovery time for NeoGraft hair transplant surgery tends to be shorter than that of a more traditional FUT procedure. It also results in a much less uncomfortable procedure.
Most people who undergo a NeoGraft hair transplant are able to resume normal activity within two weeks of their surgery.
Second, by implanting individual hair follicles or small groups of follicles, NeoGraft produces a natural looking hairline without the “pluggy” look of old hair transplants. Performed by a skilled surgeon, a NeoGraft transplant can look identical to a natural hairline.
Third, because donor hair follicles are harvested in small groups instead of from a strip of skin, there’s significantly less scarring with a NeoGraft procedure than there is with a traditional FUT hair transplant.
Fourth, the technology of NeoGraft reduces trauma and minimizes damage to the hair follicles during the extraction process. This may help to increase the survival rate of transplanted hair, resulting in better density and coverage.
Finally, although NeoGraft and FUE procedures are generally more expensive than older FUT hair transplant approaches, they’re becoming far more affordable as FUE technology grows in popularity.
In general, NeoGraft is the best procedure for harvesting and implanting hairs for most people affected by hair loss. However, it does have a few downsides.
For most people, the biggest downside of NeoGraft is its relatively high cost. While this type of hair transplant is gradually becoming more affordable, FUE hair transplant procedures such as NeoGraft still cost more per graft than FUT hair transplants.
Another minor downside of NeoGraft is that it’s a more intricate procedure than a conventional FUT hair transplant. This means that it may take slightly longer to extract the individual hairs or small groups of hair follicles from your donor site.
Put simply, yes. When performed by a trained and experienced hair transplant surgeon, a hair transplant that uses NeoGraft or other FUE techniques can help you to restore your hairline or add density to your entire head of hair.
With this said, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what’s possible with NeoGraft and similar hair transplant techniques.
Although hair transplant surgery can restore hair around your hairline, mid-scalp and crown, it doesn’t have any impact on your natural hair growth cycle, meaning it won’t stimulate any new hair growth.
Instead, individual follicles are relocated from the donor site (typically the back of your head) to recipient sites affected by hair loss.
This means that you’ll still have the same total amount of hair follicles after the procedure, albeit in different locations on your scalp.
If you already have very severe hair loss (for example, you have Norwood Type 6 or 7 hair loss), even an extensive NeoGraft hair transplant might not be able to restore an adequate amount of hair to your hairline, mid-scalp and crown.
This is something that you’ll need to talk about with your surgeon before undergoing any type of hair transplant procedure.
Another thing to be aware of is that it’s still possible to continue losing your hair after undergoing a hair transplant. Hair transplantation surgery isn’t a miracle procedure, and if you’re genetically predisposed to hair loss, you may continue to shed hair after hair restoration surgery.
While the DHT-resistant hairs transplanted during the procedure are unlikely to shed, it’s normal for men to continue losing non-transplanted hairs after this type of procedure.
To prevent further hair loss, your surgeon may recommend using a hair loss medication such as finasteride, minoxidil or both medications together after your procedure.
Since male pattern baldness isn’t the only cause of hair loss, it’s also important to maintain good habits after this type of procedure.
Simple things such as sleeping well, limiting your exposure to stressful environments and eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals for hair growth can help to limit shedding and keep your hair thick, dense and healthy.
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NeoGraft and types of hair transplant surgery can produce incredible results, but they aren’t for everyone.
A good candidate for NeoGraft will generally have significant amounts of donor hair at the back and sides of the scalp. In general, the less hair you’ve lost from your hairline, mid-scalp and/or crown, the more effective the results of a hair transplant can be.
If you have moderate to severe hair loss, you may need to undergo more than one procedure to achieve your desired results.
NeoGraft and other types of hair transplant surgery can be performed on all hair types, textures and colors. However, your hair type may affect the final cosmetic result.
A hair transplant with NeoGraft typically takes between four and 10 hours, although the precise amount of time can vary based on the overall number of hairs to be transplanted, your hair type and other factors.
Prior to the procedure, the donor area of your scalp will be shaved. Your surgeon might suggest cutting your hair to a short length before the procedure. This can help to make any post-surgery changes in your hair less visible.
During the procedure, your surgeon will numb the donor and recipient areas of your scalp using a local anesthetic. You may be offered the option of mild, conscious sedation to reduce pain and allow you to relax throughout the procedure.
NeoGraft is a minimally invasive procedure, meaning you might feel a mild level of discomfort as the hair follicles are being harvested and implanted. It’s normal for your scalp to feel tender after the procedure.
Make sure to follow your hair transplant surgeon’s instructions following the procedure. You may need to use topical antiseptics, shampoos and other products to keep the area clean and assist in proper healing.
Because NeoGraft is a minimally invasive procedure, it involves minimal downtime. Most people are able to return to all normal daily activities within two weeks of a NeoGraft hair transplant.
Hair transplant surgery is a safe and effective procedure that has very few known side effects or complications.
After a hair transplant with NeoGraft, it’s normal to develop some scabbing. This typically flakes off after approximately one week. Because NeoGraft doesn’t require any incisions, there are no sutures that need to be removed like with a traditional strip method of hair transplantation.
Most potential side effects of NeoGraft are cosmetic. After surgery, you may have:
Temporary hair shedding. Some people develop temporary hair shedding, referred to as “postoperative effluvium,” after hair transplant surgery. This is a temporary issue that typically improves on its own over the course of three to four months.
Pinpoint scarring. Although FUE techniques such as NeoGraft don’t leave behind any large scars, they can cause pinpoint scarring. You may notice small, pin-sized scars on the donor area. These scars are usually easy to conceal under your natural hair.
Donor site depletion. When an excessive amount of hair is extracted from your donor site, it may cause it to look depleted. This is sometimes referred to as a “moth-eaten” appearance.
Other potential side effects include poor hair growth in the recipient area, folliculitis, elevations and indentations referred to as “cobblestoning,” cysts, keloid scarring and buried grafts -- hairs that are implanted too deep beneath the surface of your skin.
When poor technique is used during a hair transplant, it can also give the hairline an unnatural, artificial-looking pattern.
Although uncommon, hair transplant surgery can also result in cutaneous necrosis, edema and certain hair loss conditions, such as lichen planopilaris and alopecia areata.
In general, severe side effects or complications from hair transplant surgery with NeoGraft are uncommon. Most people who undergo hair transplantation have a positive outcome and report that the procedure was worth the time and money.
If you're interested in learning about hair implants vs. hair transplants you can read our blog on hair implants for men. You can also learn about a technique known as hair cloning.
If you have mild or moderate hair loss, you may want to try medication before considering hair transplant surgery.
Currently, the FDA has approved two medications -- finasteride and minoxidil -- as treatments for male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is an oral prescription medication. It works by stopping your body from converting testosterone into DHT, an androgen hormone that can bind to receptors located in your scalp and damage your hair follicles.
Minoxidil is a topical medication available as a liquid or foam. It works by moving healthy hair follicles into the anagen, or growth, phase of the hair growth cycle and stimulating local blood flow throughout your scalp.
Finasteride and minoxidil are effective when used on their own, but they’re especially effective when used together. In one study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, more than 94 percent of men with hair loss who used both medications experienced improvements.
We offer finasteride and minoxidil online, with finasteride available following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider. You can also purchase both medications together as part of our Hair Power Pack.
NeoGraft is one of several options available for hair transplants. If you’d like to restore hair on your scalp or hairline and want to avoid the long, often visible scar of a typical FUT transplant, NeoGraft is one of the best options available.
With this said, it’s important to remember that you’re ultimately moving your hair to a different part of your scalp, not growing it back.
If you have enough hair follicles to make the procedure worth it, NeoGraft can provide a thick, full and natural looking hairline. However, if you’re almost totally bald, getting a hair transplant may not be worth it, even with the advantages offered by NeoGraft.
Done right, NeoGraft can have a positive impact on your hair, self-confidence and appearance as a whole. Select a skilled surgeon, keep your expectations realistic and you may be pleased with the results.
Hair loss can have a major impact on your wellbeing, especially when it occurs suddenly as you enter your 20s, 30s or 40s. The good news is that it’s treatable, usually without the need for hair transplant surgery.
We offer several FDA-approved hair loss treatments online, as well as science-based hair care products to help you maximize your hair’s thickness, volume and density.
Worried you’re going bald? Our guide to the early signs of balding explains what to look out for, as well as the steps that you can take to protect your hair if you’re starting to notice a receding hairline, diffuse thinning or other common symptoms of male pattern baldness.