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Hair Restoration Surgery

Losing one’s hair can be devastating to both a patient’s appearance and self-esteem. In the past 10 years, there have been major advances in hair restoration for both women and men. No longer does hair transplantation result in the obvious and unattractive “hair plug” appearance.

At the Johns Hopkins Center for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Lisa Ishii has studied the advancing techniques in hair restoration and even conducts research studies to develop better methods to improve success rates. Because Dr. Ishii focuses her work on the face, she has the aesthetic understanding to plan hair restoration so it looks natural and individual for each person’s face.

Both women and men experience hair loss, but medical therapies can slow hair loss and surgical procedures can restore hair loss, helping people reclaim self-confidence.

- Dr. Lisa Ishii

VIDEO: Hair loss & surgical and non-surgical treatment options
Watch Dr. Lisa Ishii provide information on hair restoration for both men and women

Lisa Ishii works on patient

Is hair restoration for you?

The goal of hair restoration is to fill in or recreate the thinning hairline, as well as fill in patches on the scalp where hair loss is noticeable.  

Important factors to be discussed with your surgeon include:

  • Your skin and hair
  • Ethnic background
  • Age
  • Family history of hair loss

Making the Decision for Hair Restoration

What you should expect:

  1. During the preliminary consultation, your surgeon will take a thorough medical history, as well as assess your mental and emotional attitudes toward hair restoration. Because a realistic attitude is crucial to the success of the procedure, realistic expectations will be discussed.
  2. Your surgeon will examine your hairline and scalp and even may take a sample of your hair or scalp skin.
  3. After the decision to proceed with hair restoration is made jointly by you and your surgeon, the surgeon will describe:

a.    The technique indicated
b.    The surgical facility
c.    Possible complications

The duration of the procedure depends on the number of hairs being transplanted, but on average takes 4 or 5 hours.

It is typically performed in our office with local anesthesia and is generally very well tolerated.

Understanding Hair Restoration

Hair Restoration Surgery Illustration courtesy of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Hair restoration is actually hair redistribution. Hair is taken from the back and sides of the scalp and transferred to the areas where has thinned. Natural looking results are obtained by transferring the hairs as very small “micro” or “mini” grafts.

They are then implanted into individual holes to replicate the way natural hair grows. The “donor” site, the area from which the hairs were removed, heals as a straight scar, well-concealed within the remaining hair on the back or side of the head. 

What to Expect After Hair Restoration Surgery

Immediately after the procedure the sites of the transplanted hairs are visible as very small wounds.

These heal quickly, and within a few days are no longer distinguishable from the surrounding skin. In fact, patients are encouraged to wash their hair the day after the procedure. The very small wounds can be camouflaged by surrounding hair, if there is still some in the area. Patients are allowed to wear a loose-fitting cap if they like.

Follow-up Care

Follow-up care is vital for this procedure to monitor healing. Obviously, anything unusual should be reported to your surgeon immediately. It is essential that you keep your follow-up appointments with your surgeon. 


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Hair Restoration Surgery: What You Need to Know from a Johns Hopkins Expert

Learn about hair transplant surgery from Lisa Ishii, a Johns Hopkins facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, including what to expect at a consult, available treatment options and details about the procedure.

Hair Transplant Surgery: Richard’s Story

Delaware resident Richard Monkman traveled to see Johns Hopkins hair restoration expert Lisa Ishii about his hair loss concerns, including how they were impacting his professional appearance and confidence.