More than 85 percent of men have thinning hair by age 50. More than 50 percent of women will also experience a noticeable amount of hair loss in their lifetime.

Several types of hair transplant surgeries have been developed to help regrow lost hair. Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) are the two most common techniques.

During FUT, a surgeon cuts a strip of hair from the back of your scalp and extracts individual hair follicles. During FUE, a surgeon removes follicles directly from your scalp. In both surgeries, the follicles are implanted into balding parts of your scalp.

Direct hair implantation (DHI) is a modification of the FUE technique created by the company DHI Global Medical Group.

In FUE, a surgeon manually cuts channels in your scalp before implanting hair follicles. During DHI, they use a specialized pen-shaped tool that can do both at the same time.

Let’s break down everything you need to know about DHI surgery. We’ll also compare it to FUT and FUE to help you decide which may be best for you.

DHI is a modified version of FUE hair implantation and follows a similar procedure. Your surgeon will remove hair follicles from a part of your scalp, usually the back of your head, and implant them into balding areas. These hair follicles will eventually grow new hairs.

Here’s what you can generally expect during the procedure:

  1. Your surgeon will shave your head and apply local anesthesia to numb it.
  2. The surgeon will extract hair follicles from the back of your head using a tool with a fine tip.
  3. The hair follicles will be loaded into a pen-shaped tool and implanted into the balding part of your scalp.
  4. The surgeon will apply an antibiotic cream and apply a bandage to all sites.

FUE and DHI surgeries generally take about 8 hours to complete, but the exact time can vary depending on the number of hair follicles being transplanted. It can take 12 to 18 months to see the full results of the surgery.

People with androgenic alopecia, which is the most common type of hair loss, make the best candidates for hair implantations. This condition is commonly referred to as male or female pattern hair loss.

The following characteristics also make you a good candidate for hair transplantation:

  • Age. People who get hair implants should be over age 25. Hair loss before this age is more unpredictable.
  • Hair diameter. People with thicker hair usually achieve better results than people with thinner hair. Thicker hair gives each hair follicle more coverage.
  • Donor hair density. Patients with a hair density of fewer than 40 follicles per square centimeter at their donor site are considered poor candidates for hair transplants.
  • Hair color. People with light hair or with a hair color close to their skin tone often achieve the best results.
  • Expectations. People with realistic expectations are most likely to be satisfied with their results.

DHI, FUE, and FUT all involve taking follicles from one part of your scalp and implanting them into balding areas.

During FUT surgery, a surgeon cuts a long and narrow strip of skin from the back of your scalp. Individual hair follicles are removed and implanted along your hairline. This method is usually the quickest and cheapest, but it can leave a long scar. The scar may be noticeable if you wear your hair short, but longer hair usually hides it.

In DHI and FUE surgeries, individual hair follicles are removed directly from your scalp. During FUE, a surgeon manually cuts a series of canals in your scalp to insert the hair follicles. The DHI technique allows surgeons to make these incisions and implant hair at the same time.

DHI and FUE avoid the long scar caused by FUT, however, these surgeries generally take longer and are more expensive.

Companies that offer DHI claim that it’s the most advanced and effective hair treatment option. However, there haven’t been any studies comparing the results to other hair treatment techniques.

All types of FUE surgery can be successful in treating hair loss. However, there’s some debate about whether FUT or FUE is the more effective method.

Hair transplantation surgeries are relatively safe and rarely cause complications. DHI and FUE are less invasive than FUT because they don’t require a surgeon to cut a large strip of skin.

Many companies claim that FUE techniques are scarless, however, they still do cause a series of tiny scars from the removal of individual follicles. These scars are usually not noticeable.

Here are a few potential complications of DHI surgery.

Negative reaction to anesthesia

During DHI, local anesthesia will be applied to your scalp to numb it. Anesthesia is generally safe, but it may cause negative reactions in some people.

The overwhelming majority of reactions are related to fear or anxiety and not a topical sensitivity to the anesthesia.


It’s possible to develop an infection either at the donor site or at the area where hair follicles are implanted. Serious infections are rare and occur in less than 1 percent of hair implantation surgeries.

Shock hair loss

Shock hair loss can occur within 2 months of surgery. It refers to a temporary hair loss at the site of the hair transplant. A full recovery is almost always made in 3 to 4 months.

Undesired appearance

When the hair follicles are grafted, they should be aligned in a way that mimics your natural hair growth. If the follicles are implanted poorly, it can lead to an appearance you’re unsatisfied with.

To give you the best chance of achieving pleasing results, it’s a good idea to research surgeons in your area before you have the surgery. Check before-and-after results of previous clients and get in touch with other clients of that surgeon to help you make a decision.

Other complications

Other potential complications of hair transplant surgeries include:

DHI Global estimates the price of a DHI session at clinics in London, Athens, Dubai, or Paris between $3,250 and $13,500.

The cost of a hair transplant varies considerably based on the city the surgery is performed in, the clinic you visit, and the total amount of hair that’s implanted. Most insurance companies are unlikely to cover the cost of DHI since it’s considered a cosmetic surgery.

To reduce the cost, you may want to consider traveling to a cheaper geographic location or reducing the number of hair follicles you get transplanted.

Some alternatives to hair transplant include:

DHI is a modified version of FUE hair implantation. There’s no research available on the effectiveness of DHI specifically, but all types of FUE surgery have the potential to treat hair loss caused by male or female pattern baldness.

Hair implantation surgeries are relatively expensive. If you can’t afford surgery or don’t have access to it, you can try alternatives such as Rogaine or finasteride tablets.