Prosthetic hair or hair transplant: which one is better?
By Prof. Dr. Soner Tatlidede 2021-01-18
Prosthetic hair or hair transplant, what should I choose? Many people ask this question when their face hair loss problems. It is true that hair prosthesis have improved a lot in the last years and they may look quite like natural hair; hair transplants have also improved remarkably thanks to the FUE technique and have very good reviews, but still there are people who look at the classic "wig" as an alternative. Is it? Which option is better? Let's see it.
Differences between hair transplantation & prosthetic hair
Contrary to hair transplantation - where transplanted hair comes from the patient himself - a prosthetic hair uses synthetic or natural hair - but from a different person - to cover areas where capillary density is low (partial prosthesis) or, in cases of severe alopecia, to completely cover bald spot (total prosthesis). A hair prosthesis is normally made to measure, but the scalp must be periodically shaved so that the special adhesive that is used adheres correctly.
Although a prosthesis can be a good short-term solution to hide hair loss problems, it must be taken into account that over time it deteriorates and it will be necessary to replace it. Placing it also requires shaving and regularly cleaning the area where it adheres to the scalp: this ends up weakening hair, which also suffers from lack of oxygenation because of being covered. The skin can also suffer adverse reactions or even infections because of the adhesive.
In a hair transplant using the modern FUE technique, the aim is not to hide baldness, but rather to use hair from the donor area - normally located at the nape - to repopulate areas with less hair density. The procedure is almost painless and does not leave permanent scars, and since patient's own hair is used, there is no risk of rejection and no side effects in the long-term.
So, we can conclude that a prosthesis is a temporary solution, although not necessarily cheaper if the cost of renovating it or the costs of the maintenance products that are necessary are taken into account. It can use natural human hair, but it comes from someone else. However, in a hair transplant hair comes from the patient himself, and has a much more natural appearance. In addition, the results of a hair transplant last for life.
Pros and cons
Let's see in detail what are the pros and cons of both techniques.
- No surgery is necessary
- It is cheaper in the short term
- Results are achieved immediately, without having to wait several months
- It is a good solution for temporary hair loss problems (diseases, telogen effluvium, etc.)
- There is no need to use your own hair, or to extract it from the donor area
- A good tailor-made prosthesis can look almost natural
- Prosthesis hair deteriorates and falls out with use, so it is necessary to replace it every 1 or 2 years, or even every few months depending on its quality and use
- Although initially the cost is lower than that of a hair transplant, in the medium-long term it ends up being higher due to maintenance and the need to renew the prosthesis
- It is more difficult to use it for hair loss problems on the sides of the head
- Requires a regular maintenance, if not daily at least weekly
- It can be uncomfortable to wear and cause irritations, allergies, infections, etc.
- Offers a much less natural look, especially if it is a cheap prosthesis
- Not all physical activities are possible when using a prosthesis
- Transplanted hair normally lasts for life
- Once the cost of the treatment has been paid, there are no additional costs
- A transplant can be performed on any part of head or body
- Transplanted hair, since it comes from patient himself, has a totally natural appearance and does not cause discomfort or infections
- No special care is necessary for transplanted hair
- 1-2 months after the operation, you can perform any physical activity
- Although the initial cost is higher, in the long term hair transplant is cheaper than a prosthesis since it is only paid once, while a wig always has to be renewed
- The treatment cost is not always affordable for everyone
- Since a surgery is necessary, you must take several days off from work, during which your physical activity will also be limited
- You have to wait 3-4 months for the transplanted hair to be born, and 10-12 months to see its final look
- Being a hair transplant, results depend on the quality and quantity of available donor hair
- When using the FUE technique, a high specialization of the medical team that performs the operation is required
Which is better wig or hair transplant?
As we have seen, a hair prosthesis has some advantages; actually, a wig is more affordable than a hair transplant if we want to solve a hair loss problem, especially if hair loss is temporary and we just want to hide it. However - unlike a transplant - prosthetic hair will always be a temporary solution that will never offer you a 100% natural look for your hair: that is, a wig may be cheaper and even offer a good hair density... but it will never be the same as your own hair.
In addition, the more natural the prosthesis looks, the more expensive its cost and maintenance is. In the long term, a hair prosthesis does not solve the problem, it ends up being more costly, it limits our activity, and it does not put an end to our insecurities; on the contrary, it adds the fear that it may come off, or someone may notice that it is not our natural hair.
If you are indecisive between prosthetic hair or hair transplant, and you want a long-term solution, our advice is always opt for a hair transplantation, whose results are excellent as long as it is performed by an experienced medical team. Clinicana is the best hair transplant clinic in Turkey: request a free consultation and ask us for a free, no obligation estimate. Time to get your hair back!