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Diffuse Thinning Hair Transplant: Procedure, Results & Permanence

The diffuse thinning hair transplant is one of the possible treatment choices for people with thin and shedding hair in not only one location but the entire head. This condition causes the scalp to be seen beyond hair strands. 

Several medical conditions cause diffuse hair thinning. In a study conducted in a hospital of 180 participants:

  • 79% HAD TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM
  • 12% HAD FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS
  • 8% HAD MORE THAN ONE CAUSE
  • 1% HAD ANAGEN EFFLUVIUM

The success rate depends on the reason behind the diffuse hair loss. The success rate of diffuse thinning hair transplant for:

  • TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM IS 95%
  • ANAGEN EFFLUVIUM PATIENTS IS 95%
  • FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS IS 99%

The summary of what we are going to explain in detail is as below:

  1. DIFFUSE THINNING REFERS TO GENERALIZED HAIR THINNING AND LOW HAIR DENSITY ACROSS THE WHOLE SCALP
  2. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF DIFFUSE HAIR THINNING: PATTERNED AND UNPATTERNED
  3. IT CAN BE THE RESULT OF MEDICAL CONDITIONS, STRESS, IMPROPER DIETARY, OR MEDICATIONS
  4. THERE ARE THE RISKS OF RECURRENT HAIR THINNING AND THE NEED FOR MULTIPLE SESSIONS


We understand it is not a pleasant situation. Let’s learn more about it, so you can find the perfect solution for your condition. Shall we begin?

Understanding Diffuse Thinning And Hair Transplant

Diffuse thinning or hair loss is the shedding and miniaturization of hair all across the scalp. 

  • Diffuse hair loss is not limited to a specific area, but it is spread out the entire scalp. 
  • Diffuse thinning can give a low-density and see-through appearance to the scalp.
  • There are two types of diffuse alopecia: Patterned and unpatterned. 


In diffuse patterned alopecia, hair loss follows a pattern that is confined to the top of the head. 

On the other hand, in diffuse unpatterned alopecia, there is no specific pattern and the low density is seen not only on the top of the head but also on other parts of the scalp.

Take a look at the table below to understand the differences between them. 

Diffuse Patterned Alopecia

Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia

  • Hair thinning follows a distinct pattern
  • Hair loss and thinning on top or crown of the head
  • Potential candidates for hair transplant
  • Hair miniaturization is spread through the entire scalp
  • Hair transplantation should not be performed
  • Medications are the main treatment options
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What Causes Diffuse Thinning?

The cause of diffuse thinning can be due to the following reasons:

  • Telogen effluvium: A condition when an unusually large number of hairs enter the resting phase (telogen phase) of the hair growth cycle. 

  • Genetics: Patients with a family history of this condition are at a much higher risk of diffuse hair thinning compared to others.

  • Stress and trauma: These can trigger the shedding of hair. Examples of physical stress are trauma to the scalp, infection, childbirth, and high fever.

  • Illness: Several health conditions are responsible for diffuse thinning such as iron deficiency, diabetes, dermatological diseases, menopause, etc.

  • Medications: The medications that are known for the association with diffuse hair loss are antidepressants, NSAIDs, some acne treatment drugs, heart medications, excessive vitamin A.

  • Diet: Crash dieting and being deprived of certain nutrition and elements are a reason for this type of hair loss.

  • DHT: Dihydrotestosterone or DHT is a hormone derived from testosterone that causes pattern hair loss and thinning.

Is Hair Transplant For Diffuse Thinning A Good Option?

It depends on the diffuse thinning type. While patients with diffuse patterned alopecia can benefit from hair restoration surgery, diffuse unpatterned alopecia patients are not eligible candidates for this procedure. 

But why?

That is because the success of this operation depends on the donor area with healthy hair follicles unaffected by hair miniaturization. The lack of required density or thin hairs in different parts of the scalp in diffuse unpatterned alopecia does not provide an available healthy donor site. 

Another reason is that hair loss is not predictable in diffuse unpatterned alopecia.

Are Transplant Results Permanent For Diffuse Thinning?

Yes, for patients with diffuse patterned alopecia, the results are permanent. That’s why the surgeons claim the duration of the results depends on the type of diffuse hair thinning the patient experiences.

If you are considered an eligible candidate for a hair transplant by your surgeon and undergo the procedure, the outcome will be with you for the rest of your life.

Can Transplants Provide Natural Results For Naturally Thin Hair?

Yes, if you naturally have thin hair, a hair transplant procedure can provide you with natural-looking results and better coverage over the areas you want. However, if the hair becomes thin throughout your life due to any reason, it might not give you the result you would like to see.

Can Women Get Hair Transplants For Diffuse Thinning?

If a woman is suffering from diffuse patterned hair thinning, they can have a hair transplant surgery. Compared to men, women with this condition have a more preserved and defined hairline. 

This is a positive point when it comes to restoring the shedding and thinning hair.

How Is The Hair Transplant Done For Thin Hair?

The surgical procedure is similar to the hair transplant surgery for patients with other forms of hair loss. FUE and DHI are the preferred hair transplant techniques. 

Unlike FUT, they won’t leave a remarkable scar, which is very important when the thin nature of the hair is this patient might not be able to camouflage it.

Factors Impacting Transplants For Diffuse Thinning

For patients with diffuse thinning, there are two main determining factors when considering hair restoration surgery:

  • DONOR HAIR AVAILABILITY 
  • DENSITY AND COVERAGE STRATEGIES


These factors are important to see if a patient is eligible for the procedure and how the treatment plan should be customized for each individual.

But what do we mean by that? Let us explain!

Donor Hair Availability

The availability of healthy and strong donor hair is crucial. A hair transplant does generate new hair but relocates the already existing ones to another part of the scalp. If the quality or quantity of hair in the donor site is not approved, a hair transplant might not be a good option.

The surgeon assesses the quality and quantity of the donor hair through the professional method called Trichoscopy.

To assess the progression of pattern hair loss in males and females there are two different scales:

  • Norwood scale: to assess male pattern hair loss
  • Ludwig scale: to assess female pattern hair loss


They aid in recognizing the eligibility of the patient and treatment planning.

Density And Coverage Strategies

Based on the patient’s pattern of hair loss, hair density, and the patient’s eligibility, the hair transplant surgeon decides on the best strategies to cover the low-density areas. 

Benefits Of Undergoing A Hair Transplant For Diffuse Thinning

The benefits of having a hair transplant procedure for diffuse hair thinning are:

  • LONG-LASTING RESULTS
  • BOOSTS YOUR CONFIDENCE
  • IT GIVES A NATURAL APPEARANCE
  • NO MORE COSTS ON WIGS OR EXTENSIONS


These advantages make this procedure worth the expense and energy you spend. Let’s see how each is beneficial to you.

Long-Lasting Results

The results of a hair restoration surgery are long-lasting. The outcome is almost always permanent if the underlying reason for diffuse thinning is solved.

Boosts Your Confidence

Another great benefit is that this procedure increases your self-esteem. Hair plays an undeniable role in one’s confidence. Restoring natural hair through a hair transplantation operation boosts this confidence.

It Gives A Natural Appearance

Having a natural look following a hair transplant is an advantage of this treatment. This natural appearance is provided by a natural hairline design with sufficient density. Something every patient with diffuse thinning is looking for.

No More Costs On Wigs Or Extensions

To conceal the thinning parts of the scalp, many people use wigs or hair extensions. These solutions are temporary and do not solve the main problem. They are high-maintenance. A hair transplant is a cost-effective treatment that alleviates your need for these options.

Risks Of Hair Transplant If You Have Diffuse Thinning

In addition to the general risks of hair transplant surgery, patients with diffuse thinning hair loss might face the following risks:

  • HIGHER CHANCES OF EXCESSIVE SHOCK LOSS
  • THE RECURRING HAIR-THINNING

Higher Chances Of Excessive Shock Loss

Even though shedding after the procedure is normal, because of the possible reasons for this hair loss type, they are more susceptible to shedding excessively. While the cause for diffuse thinning should be treated before undergoing the surgery, they are still more prone to hair fallout during healing.

The Recurring Hair-Thinning

As we earlier mentioned, patients should have transplants only after they solved the underlying cause for diffuse patterned hair loss. Yet, the thinning might come back in both the donor area and the transplanted hair. 

In such cases, you can discuss this concern with your surgeon and ask for a consultation.

What To Expect After Transplants?

Those who are considered eligible for hair transplant surgery, get to enjoy the result after the healing process is completed. During your recovery and healing period, there are several important points you should be aware of and pay attention to.

  • SHEDDING PHASE
  • TRACKING HAIR GROWTH
  • CONSIDERING A MULTIPLE-SESSION APPROACH


Let’s talk about the importance of each of them.

Shedding Phase

Usually, 2 weeks after the surgery, the hair starts to shed. This is called shock loss and is a natural part of the hair transplant recovery process. This condition is temporary and shows that the implanted hair is entering the resting phase in the growth cycle.

How Does The Shedding Phase Affect Diffuse Thinning Patients?

If the underlying problem or medical condition for diffuse thinning is not solved, the post-op shock loss can be associated with excessive shedding in these patients. 

Even though shock loss does not mean the surgery has failed, it is still concerning and not pleasant. That’s why it is important to address the underlying issue that causes diffuse thinning.

Tracking Hair Growth

Everyone has a different hair growth pace. Keeping that in mind, most patients see the results 12-18 months after the procedure. Your doctor can track the process during post-op appointments.

Considering Multiple Sessions

Patients with diffuse thinning can benefit from multiple sessions to achieve better density and the optimal outcome. Yet, this is a decision made by the hair restoration doctor. 

So, feel free to discuss this desire with your doctor if you think it might be an option for you.

Aftercare Considerations

To achieve permanent and pleasant results after the procedure, there are several instructions you need to follow:

  • DO NOT SKIP YOUR POST-OP APPOINTMENTS
  • SLEEP IN AN UPRIGHT POSITION
  • AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT EXPOSURE
  • NO DRINKING AND SMOKING
  • FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR WASHING YOUR HAIR

Do Not Skip Your Post-Op Appointments

It is important to attend all your post-surgery appointments regularly. The doctor assesses the process and the healing timeline. They give specific instructions for a fast and comfortable recovery, and in case of any complications, they take proper action.

Sleep In An Upright Position

Sleeping on your back with your head at a higher level than your heart is the best sleeping position for the first 14 days. Knowing how to sleep after a hair transplant prevents any damage to the surgical sites as well as helps the swelling to subside faster.

Avoid Direct Sunlight Exposure

You should avoid direct exposure to the sun for at least two weeks. Exposure to sunlight can elongate the recovery time, and cause scarring, and more swelling.

No Drinking And Smoking

Drinking and smoking interrupt the natural wound-healing process and thus elongate the healing period. They also increase swelling on the scalp. 

That’s why you should avoid them for at least two months if not forever.

Follow The Instructions For Washing Your Hair

The first hair washing is done at the clinic one or two days after the operation. After that, you can wash your hair daily very gently according to what your doctor taught you. 

(1) True RH. Is Every Patient of Hair Loss a Candidate for Hair Transplant?-Deciding Surgical Candidacy in Pattern Hair Loss. Indian J Plast Surg. 2021 Dec 20;54(4):435-440. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1739247. PMID: 34984081; PMCID: PMC8719975.

(2) Hughes EC, Saleh D. Telogen Effluvium. [Updated 2023 May 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/