DHI Hair Transplant: How It Works, Side Effects, Cost

  1. Fast facts
  2. Procedure
  3. How it works
  4. Candidates
  5. Cost
  6. Is DHI better than FUE?
  7. Advantages and disadvantages
  8. Side effects
  9. Recovery and results
  10. DHI hair transplant near you

Fast facts

Length of procedurebetween 6 – 8 hours
Costs in the UKbetween £3000 and £15000
Extractiontypically done with FUE technique
Potential risksswelling, redness, numbness of scalp
Return to work2-3 days
Final resultin 12 to 15 months

What is DHI hair transplant? 

DHI hair transplant (direct hair implantation) is a modification of the FUE technique introduced by DHI Global Medical Group in 2010.

In FUT and FUE hair transplants, donor follicles are implanted into the thinning/bald areas to restore growth. The surgeon cuts channels into the scalp before inserting the grafts. 

But this is where DHI differs: surgeons use a handheld, pen-shaped tool to create those channels and implant follicles at the same time.

How does DHI hair transplant work? 

Surgeons begin by removing healthy hair follicles from one or more areas of the scalp. 

Next, they transfer them into thinning/balding zones. These transplanted units gradually grow new hair that blends with the rest. 

How does DHI hair transplant work? 

The procedure involves the following steps: 

  1. The surgeon shaves the patient’s head and administer a local anaesthetic to numb the area and keep the patient comfortable. 
  2. They use a precision tool to remove follicles from the back of the scalp. 
  3. The surgeon loads the follicles into a special tool. All donor follicles are implanted into the target areas of the scalp (e.g., the crown, the hairline). 
  4. The surgeon applies an antibiotic cream to treatment sites and dresses them with bandages. 

Direct Hair Implantation procedures usually last around 8 hours (as with FUE), but the length can vary. 

It depends on the number of follicles to be transplanted — a patient with advanced pattern baldness will require more extensive treatment than someone with a mildly receding hairline. 

You should see the full results of your surgery within 12 to 18 months.

DHI technique

Who can benefit from DHI technique? 

The best candidates experience pattern baldness, like 50% of men over 50. 

Surgeons can harvest follicles from areas of healthy growth and implant them into affected regions. 

If pattern baldness spreads from the crown, for example, new follicles can seamlessly restore coverage in that spot. 

Other strong candidates share the following traits:

  • Over 25 years of age: Hair loss can be difficult to predict in people below this age. 
age of hair transplant patients
  • Thick hair: While people with thin hair may achieve great results, transplants usually work best for thicker hair as each follicle has more coverage. 
  • Density of 40 follicles per square centimetre: Patients with lower density tend to be weaker candidates. 
  • Realistic expectations: Surgeons find that people with realistic expectations for their results are usually the most satisfied. 

It’s vital that you have a consultation with an expert before you commit to DHI, or any form of hair restoration, to confirm that you’re a suitable candidate.

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How much does DHI cost?

You could pay between £3,000 and £15,000 for this treatment in the UK (on average). Prices may differ from one clinic to another. 

Costs are based on:

  • The clinic’s location (e.g., London venues can be expensive). 
  • The number of follicles required. 
  • The clinic’s brand (bigger names may command higher rates). 
grafts per hair transplants

Insurance providers could refuse to cover hair transplant costs, as DHI is classed as a cosmetic procedure rather than essential surgery. 

Alternatives to hair restoration surgeries include finasteride, low-level laser therapy, and minoxidil. 

You can reduce the price by travelling to a clinic outside the UK. For example, with a hair transplant in Hungary, you can save around 70% of the costs while you still get high-quality care. 

DHI Vs. FUE hair transplant: which is better?

FUE is a minimally invasive method to harvest the follicles from the donor zone, and DHI is a technique to implant the extracted follicles into the thinning areas. 

While they are often advertised as 2 separate procedures, they are typically used in combination.

FUT, FUE and combined methods

Traditionally, with the FUE, surgeons open channels separately in the recipient area before implanting the grafts. Essentially, they map out the place for each graft before actually inserting them.

With DHI, surgeons bypass the channel creation and implant the grafts in one go. 

Hair clinics offering DHI procedures claim that it’s today’s most effective, most advanced hair restoration solution. 

But at the time of writing, no research is available to support claims that DHI is better than FUE. Ultimately, as the extraction will likely be done with the FUE, the implantation method will depend on what your surgeon prefers.

Pros and cons of DHI hair transplants

Just like other methods, DHI hair transplantation has its benefits and drawbacks:

Advantages of DHIDisadvantages of DHI
Less bleeding and scabbing at the recipient area Graft placement is not mapped out in advance
Quick recovery, especially when combined with FUE harvesting Proper implantation requires great precision and skill, and cannot be outsourced to technicians
Natural-looking results can be achieved Clinics tend to charge more for DHI procedures

With all things considered, DHI hair transplants are safe procedures that offer transformative and natural-looking results.

Furthermore, the latest report from ISHRS shows that patients gain much more than a new hairstyle. The overwhelming majority of patients who go ahead with the surgery experienced an overall positive impact and improved self-confidence:

What are the potential side effects?

Direct hair implantation result


Infections can occur where follicles are implanted into the scalp or in donor areas.

Bad reaction to anaesthesia 

Most people will be fine, but anaesthesia can trigger negative effects in some cases. These could be due to fear of injections rather than the substance itself.

Shock hair loss 

This common side effect tends to occur within eight weeks of the procedure, but recovery usually takes three to four months. Shock hair loss is often a healthy part of the growth process.

Unsatisfying results 

It’s crucial that your surgeon implants follicular units in a pattern that matches your natural growth. Otherwise, the results can appear inauthentic. 

Research your local surgeons and check reviews to find the best option. Browse photo galleries to see how patients look before and after their procedures.

Additional issues 

DHI could also lead to the following complications:

  • Pain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Bleeding 
  • Inflamed follicles 
  • Heartbeat increase 
  • Scars 
  • Sparse growth surrounding donor areas

Recovery after the DHI technique

Recovery after DHI hair transplant goes the same as after any surgical hair restoration procedure. 

Though scabbing will be minimal on the recipient areas, swelling and redness might occur in the first few days.

Typically 3 weeks after your procedure, the newly implanted hairs will fall out. Following a short resting phase, the roots will grow new hairs. As a result, the density will gradually increase from the 4th post-op month.

You can expect to see the full result after your DHI hair transplantation in around 12 months.

Find the best clinics near you

Whether you are looking to get your hair restored with DHI or one of the other techniques, it’s essential to choose a specialist you can trust.

To help you out, we have compared clinics on their pricing, patient reviews and the services they offer. 

Discover the best hair clinics in the country and abroad:

Last medically reviewed on May 27th, 2022

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