What to Expect After Your Hair Transplant

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What to Expect After Your Hair Transplant

If you’ve made the decision to have a hair transplant, you’re most likely focusing on the ultimate outcome. Imagining how you’ll look with a restored hairline and more overall fullness is the psychological light at the end of the tunnel. But between surgery day and the day your mirror reflects the image you want to show the world, there are many days that are critical in achieving the desired result. It is during these days that you should know what to expect in terms of post-surgical care, healing time and milestones in the growth process.

Your surgeon will provide this important information, but if you have just started researching hair transplant surgeons, it’s helpful to have a good idea of what lies ahead. It’s also helpful to have this knowledge beforehand when you consult with a surgeon so you can ask well-informed questions and therefore have a better overall understanding of the process.

The Basics of Post-Operative Hair Transplant Care

As we at Tempus Hair Restoration always emphasize, hair restoration surgery is surgery. As with any other outpatient surgical procedure, following the surgeon’s post-operative instructions is essential to both your safety and the success of the procedure’s objective. Although specific instructions may vary depending upon the individual patient, general instructions you can expect to receive are as follows:

  • Your newly transplanted hair grafts are especially sensitive during the first seven days after surgery. Any rubbing, bumping, or scratching may cause them to be damaged and lost.
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid any strenuous physical activity during the first seven days. Walking is okay, but not power walking. You may resume cardio exercises – such as running, cycling, etc. You may resume regular exercise (and weightlifting) after 14 days.
  • Do not swim in chlorinated pools during the first seven days after surgery, as chlorine (and other pool chemicals) may damage the grafts. Do not dive. 

Again, this is just a brief snapshot of general post-op instructions. Your surgeon will give you detailed printed instructions for you to take home and follow. But you now know that you need to plan for some amount of time to recover before resuming your regular schedule and activities. Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – covers the instructions he gives his patients in his video – “Post-Operative Instructions Following Your Hair Transplant Procedure” – on his YouTube channel, Hair Loss Medical Advice.

Is What You’re Seeing Normal or Cause for Concern After Your Hair Transplant?

During this time and soon after, you could wonder if what you experience is normal or cause for concern. According to Dr. Barusco, about 50 percent of patients will have some degree of edema (swelling caused by fluid trapped in the body’s tissues) in their forehead. To prevent swelling, sleep at a 45-degree angle by using two or three pillows for the first three or four nights post-surgery, and avoid bending over.

As for the scalp itself, expect the graft sites to form scabs in 24 to 72 hours after surgery, and for the scabs to fall off in three to 10 days. As the scabs fall off, you may notice that hair is shed with them. This is to be expected. Do not pick or scratch the scabs, as doing so can cause infection and endanger the grafts.

Several weeks after your hair transplant or anytime thereafter, an ingrown hair(s) may appear. This will look like a small pimple or painless bump in the donor or recipient area. Applying a warm washcloth or compress to the area for 10 minutes three times a day is typically recommended for relief, but contact your surgeon before taking any action.

While we’re on the subject, contact your surgeon if you experience unusual swelling, inflammation or discomfort – or have questions about shampooing techniques or any other matter regarding how you should care for your hair and scalp during this initial time. Following advice you find online – regardless how reputable the source seems – can lead to complications or a poor outcome. When in doubt, call your surgeon and follow his/her instructions! Dr. Barusco gives every patient his cell phone number so he is always available to answer questions and address concerns.

What Should Your Hair Look Like as It’s Growing In?

A common question is if there is a difference between how hair grows in from a Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The answer is no. Healing, growth velocity and the presence of aesthetically visible results are all independent from the surgical technique used.

The first stage of growth, ironically, is the hair from the newly implanted grafts falling out. This indicates that the graft is establishing itself in its new location, and will start producing hair again – typically in about two months. This should be followed by visible growth and thickening from four to six months.

While you might expect your hair to grow in at the same time, don’t be alarmed if it’s somewhat patchy and grows at different rates during this stage. All hair doesn’t grow at the same rate, but you just don’t notice it with a full head of hair. About six months after your hair transplant, you may see that the new growth is not necessarily full or consistent around your head, but be patient. Despite the different growth rates, it usually looks natural throughout this time. In fact, such gradual growth creates the impression that you haven’t had a hair transplant. Strangers and casual acquaintances aren’t likely to notice. Your hair transplant should be fully grown in by 12 months, barring any health issues during that time.

As you see, hair restoration is a journey that can’t be rushed. Doing your due diligence in choosing your surgeon wisely, following the post-op care plan that he/she gives you and taking care of yourself throughout the first year (and hopefully every year thereafter) will position you for success in achieving the result you had anticipated.

Ultimately, choose your surgeon based on experience, results and integrity. Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice.

We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we offer financing options that can place this important goal within reach. Putting yourself at risk of the consequences of a hair transplant procedure at an overseas black market clinic – or even an unscrupulous domestic clinic where unlicensed non-medical personnel harvest and implant hair grafts – isn’t worth the perceived savings.

Contact us to schedule your free virtual consultation. Dr. Barusco conducts every consultation himself, giving you the opportunity to learn your options in the comfort of your home – or any location, on any internet-enabled device. 

Dr. Barusco conducts consultations in English, Spanish and Portuguese. For your greater convenience, Tempus Hair Restoration offers a two-night complimentary hotel stay to out-of-town clients who travel 100 miles or more to our Port Orange, Florida, surgical center. No matter how far the distance, we welcome the opportunity to help you on your hair restoration journey!

What to Look for in a Hair Transplant Surgeon

You may be surprised to learn that the field of surgical hair restoration is not regulated by either the United States government or the medical community. According to the American Hair Loss Association, any licensed physician can legally perform hair transplant surgery without any prior surgical training or accreditation of any kind. While this is true for any medical specialty (theoretically, any licensed physician may do any medical procedure they want), you won’t see a physician trained in plastic surgery performing a hernia operation. They reason why is that most physicians know their limitations and train extensively before they feel that they are proficient in a given procedure.

However, hair transplantation is pitched to physicians by device manufacturers in the United States and abroad as a simple procedure that does not need to be performed by a physician. Instead, it may be done by trained “technicians.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Hair transplantation is a complex procedure that requires a trained physician and a trained team in order to be successful. Otherwise, horror stories occur. And these have become more common in the last few years.

Under these circumstances, the typical advice of “do your research” is all the more important and challenging for those considering a hair transplant. Even minimally invasive hair restoration procedures are actually surgery requiring medical expertise. Unlike buying a car, most people don’t have experience when deciding who to trust with performing hair transplant surgery. Because we at Tempus Hair Restoration recognize that knowledge is power, a well-informed consumer is one who will ultimately be the best-satisfied with the results. Toward this goal, we offer the qualities to look for, as well as warning signs of who to avoid.

The first area to navigate is finding reliable sources of information. As WebMD acknowledges, “Social media, radio, television, and traditional print media market to the vulnerable hair loss consumer a more risk-free, guaranteed product as opposed to the highly specialized cosmetic surgical procedure it is.” With today’s emphasis on convenience and instant gratification, such pitches have great appeal to people who want a full head of hair in the least amount of time and at the cheapest price. Patients have been lured into going out of the U.S. to have their procedures done. Any marketing that makes it seem everyone will get the same results – despite the required disclaimer that results are not typical – does not have education as its goal.

One excellent starting point is the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) – a global non-profit medical association and the leading authority on hair loss treatment and restoration. With more than 1,000 members throughout 70 countries, the ISHRS is dedicated to promoting the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics and research in the medical hair restoration industry.

Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – is a Fellow of the ISHRS. This is a distinction that is only given to those who achieve certain landmarks on teaching and leadership. Currently, fewer than 10% of the ISHRS members are Fellows. In addition, Dr. Barusco is an active leader in the ISHRS, with various committees participations, lectures ministered and surgeries performed in the ISHRS’ workshops and congresses.

The ISHRS website is written in consumer-friendly language, easily accessible to those seeking objective information. A section specifically for patients consists of the following:

So, whose advice should you trust in finding a hair transplant surgeon?

You may be surprised to learn that the American Hair Loss Association recommends avoiding referrals for a hair restoration surgeon from your dermatologist or family practitioner.

“While your family doctor or dermatologist might mean well, the fact is that most physicians in this country know very little about the scope and pitfalls of this demanding cosmetic procedure. Unless your doctor has personal experience with the hair transplant physician he [or she] is recommending, our advice would be to say thanks, but no thanks.”

This is good advice. If you ask your dermatologist or primary care doctor for a referral to a hair transplant surgeon, make sure you ask if they know the work of the doctor they are recommending. This is very important. Dr. Barusco receives numerous patients who have been referred by other physicians of many specialties. Many of these doctors are actual patients of Dr. Barusco, so they know first-hand the quality of his work.

Finding a surgeon

Again, choosing a hair transplant surgeon based solely upon the amount of advertising the doctor or practice does is no guarantee of good results. The ISHRS provides a Find a Doctor list, which is maintained and updated with the name, location, contact information and link to the ISHRS member page of each member.

In conducting research on individual surgeons, the ISHRS recommends learning about the surgeon’s training, credentials and experience in the field of hair restoration. This is important, as a plastic surgeon may perform great liposuctions and facelifts and be an authority on these procedures, but no experience in hair restoration surgery. Be certain the surgeon will give you the names and contact information of patients you can talk to, as well as show you several before-and-after photos to ensure you like the aesthetic quality of their work.

Questions you should ask a hair restoration surgeon

Our July 8, 2019 blog post – “Undoing the Damage of a Bad Hair Transplant” – includes the following questions:

  • Who will evaluate my hair loss and recommend a course of treatment? What is their education, training, licensure, and experience in treating hair loss? Only physicians, Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are legally allowed to diagnose a patient and to recommend medical treatments. Otherwise, the person recommending procedures and/or treatments is practicing medicine without a license, a Felony crime in Florida and many states.
  • Who will be involved in performing my surgery, what role will they play, and what is their education, training, licensure, and experience performing hair restoration surgery?
  • Will anyone not allowed by the State Medical Board be making incisions or harvesting grafts during my surgery? If so, please identify this person, explain their specific role and why they are legally permitted to perform it.
  • Is everyone involved in my surgery covered by malpractice insurance?

Once you are at the consultation, make sure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction and demand to see a physician. If the surgeon who would be performing the procedure isn’t in the office at the time of your consultation appointment, leave. At Tempus Hair Restoration, every prospective patient meets with Dr. Barusco – whether the consultation is in-office, or by video conference. The consultation is the time during which you should make sure you have a clear understanding of what can be accomplished for your unique situation.

The in-office consultation is also the time when you should take note of how the office is run. Is the office staff helpful, considerate and willing to answer questions about billing, insurance, etc.? Is the office or clinic neat and clean?

One very important point we always emphasize is that you should never feel pressured to make a decision before you’re ready. Ethical practices do not use high-pressure tactics to have you sign a contract. You should feel comfortable taking all the time you need.

What to avoid

As we noted earlier, mass-market hair clinics that advertise heavily can mislead those unfamiliar with ethical practices and safe surgical procedures. In particular, the widespread use of robotic and power-assisted devices places patients at risk of disastrous outcomes – especially when they’re used by technicians to perform procedures. As the ISHRS website notes:

“Only a doctor has been trained to maintain high patient safety standards, care for unexpected medical problems, has medical board oversight, and has taken an actual oath to keep your best interest in mind while you’re in his or her care. If your doctor allows technicians to do surgery for them, they are neglecting their oath, and you should shop elsewhere!”

We also invite you to read Dr. Barusco’s insightful post about the risks of robot-assisted hair transplant surgery. Dr. Barusco relates his experience with an ever-increasing number of patients seeking help whose initial procedure was botched – sometimes irreversibly – by unqualified personnel using such devices.

“Over the years, it would be fair to say that I’ve developed a unique perspective on these machines. I closely follow their development and release in our industry. First, they were aimed to experienced, competent hair restoration surgeons. Then, since many of us did not see the advantages of having them, the number of machines sold was too small to sustain business and profit, and they started advertising to cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, family practitioners and others who had no training and no experience in hair restoration surgery. These doctors are pitched a quick-profit procedure that they really do not have to understand, since one company supplies the technicians to do all of the work, and the other will train them on how to operate the robot and its software—as if this did not require good cosmetic sense and a deep understanding of hair loss and hair restoration. The result? Many unhappy patients.”

The next step of your hair restoration journey

Many people – especially men – typically don’t want to talk about the emotional toll that hair loss takes. Yet this is an important factor in choosing a hair restoration surgeon. Combined with a lack of solid, objective information, making a quick decision based upon emotions can leave you vulnerable to results ranging from unsatisfactory to disastrous.

Ultimately, choose your surgeon based on experience, results and integrity. Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice.

Dr. Barusco also conducts virtual consultations for those who can’t travel to one of our 16 Florida locations, and our office will arrange travel and accommodations for out-of-area patients for their procedures. We invite you to learn more about our procedures, then contact us to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Barusco. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your options.

 

Consumer Beware – The Risks of Medical Tourism for Hair Transplants

If you’re considering a hair transplant, you have probably conducted online searches for hair clinics. In the process, you’ve also probably found websites for overseas clinics – usually in Turkey – offering transplants at bargain rates, included as a package deal with airfare, luxury hotel accommodations and transportation. But the lure of combining an exotic vacation with hair transplant surgery should raise a major red flag, as black market hair restoration practices are proliferating unchecked – leaving patients with disastrous results and no recourse.

So serious is this problem that the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) – the world’s leading medical authority on hair loss treatment and restoration – has initiated a worldwide patient awareness campaign designed to help people recognize fraudulent hair restoration clinics and misleading advertising claims. The ISHRS has encouraged its members to raise awareness of the risks of medical tourism for hair transplants.

Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – is a Fellow of the ISHRS. This is a distinction that is only given to those who achieve certain landmarks on teaching and leadership. Currently, fewer than 10% of the ISHRS members are Fellows. As such, Dr. Barusco and the Tempus Hair Restoration team are proud to help the ISHRS in this important mission.

Launched in March 2019, the campaign, Beware of the Hair Transplant Black Market, provides valuable resources to help patients evaluate a surgeon’s credentials, and patient photos illustrating the disfiguring – and many times irreversible – outcomes of botched surgeries by untrained, unqualified staff members.

To define the issue, “medical tourism” can be a confusing term. Patients often travel long distances for a surgeon with an excellent reputation and credentials. Dr. Barusco treats international patients at Tempus’ surgical center in Port Orange, Florida, providing a convenient, complimentary two-night stay at a nearby hotel. However, all travel, additional transportation and other expenses are the patient’s responsibility.

The negative aspect that the medical profession attributes to medical tourism is when unscrupulous clinics leverage the promise of travel to unsuspecting patients, then subject them to treatments performed under substandard conditions by nurses or non-medical technicians.

Why Turkey is the world’s black market hair transplant capital

Popular destinations for hair transplants include Mexico, India and Sweden, but Turkey is where the most aggressive marketing is conducted. Although Turkish law prohibits hair transplant surgery from being performed outside of a hospital setting, black market practitioners get around the restrictions by illegally setting up shop in private hospitals or clinics. Bribery of officials is commonplace, allowing such clinics to operate without consequences. The TURSAB (a committee working with the Turkish Health Ministry) reports that Turkey’s income from medical tourism topped $4.5 billion in 2015.

In addition to lining the pockets of those entrusted to protect the public, black market clinics use the internet to draw in patients. Slick clinic websites making false claims about their legitimacy, staff experience and positive patient outcomes do effective groundwork in misleading potential patients. Their doctors are given a veneer of respectability by paid writers who represent themselves as journalists filing objective reports about the clinics and the successful results they achieve.

According to the ISHRS, “Many of the illegal clinics have sophisticated websites ranking high with Google paid ads to attract the consumer into a clinic that appears on the surface very professional. The marketing tactics are deceptive as it appears like a team of professional doctors with excellent testimonials. However, the reality is your surgery may be done by someone with no medical training. The demand is so high, reports are that Taxi cab drivers and Syrian refugees do the surgery in some overseas countries.”

What is the real cost of a hair transplant?

Consumers who lack knowledge about ethical medical practices and conduct in the hair restoration field are particularly susceptible. But their greatest vulnerability is the pursuit of a bargain. The cost of a hair transplant in the United States varies widely, depending upon many factors – such as the type of procedure, extent of hair loss, amount of donor hair available, etc. The patient can expect to pay several thousand dollars, however.

As the ISHRS emphasizes, hair transplant surgery is still surgery, with all the risks of surgery performed on any other area of the body. Unethical overseas clinics offer procedures at the same price for all patients, ranging from just $600 to $2,000 USD.

What do patients get for their hair transplant package? Poor growth, improper graft preparation (which means a higher number of grafts become non-viable), misangled graft placement, unnatural hairlines, a pluggy doll’s hair appearance and complete donor decimation are often reported. Severe scarring and disfigurement are also common. Add to that the risk for such infections as hepatitis or HIV. This is because the emphasis for the clinic is volume – performing as many hair transplants as possible each day for maximum profit.

Why don’t victimized patients report black market hair transplant clinics?

Why hasn’t word gotten out? Ironically, many patients are satisfied with their experience – at first. Results from a hair transplant typically require a year to fully activate and grow out. Patients who don’t know what a good transplant looks like during each stage assume that what they see is normal, and that the appearance of their scalp and hair will improve over time.

When they finally realize their surgery has been botched, they have no recourse. Dr. Barusco treated one such patient who traveled back to the Turkish clinic that performed his transplant to have complications corrected, and found the clinic had gone out of business. Actually, the clinic may well have moved to a different location under a new name, continuing to run its illegal assembly line surgeries – as is common practice.

As noted by one observer of Turkey’s booming medical tourism scene, “The market is plagued by corruption, fake clinics and gullible customers looking for a bargain. And the market is only expanding.”

Knowledge is power

Human nature being what it is, we want to believe what we want to be true. But if something sounds too good to be true, it is. This includes a bargain hair transplant performed during an all-expenses-included exotic vacation. Educating yourself about hair transplants and the questions you need to ask any surgeon before consenting to treatment are essential to avoiding unscrupulous clinics and ensuring the best possible outcome. Our July 8, 2019 blog post – “Undoing the Damage of a Bad Hair Transplant” – includes the following questions:

  • Who will evaluate my hair loss and recommend a course of treatment? What is their education, training, licensure, and experience in treating hair loss? Only physicians, Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are legally allowed to diagnose a patient and to recommend medical treatments. Otherwise, the person recommending procedures and/or treatments is practicing medicine without a license, a Felony crime in Florida and many states.
  • Who will be involved in performing my surgery, what role will they play, and what is their education, training, licensure, and experience performing hair restoration surgery?
  • Will anyone not allowed by the State Medical Board be making incisions or harvesting grafts during my surgery? If so, please identify this person, explain their specific role and why they are legally permitted to perform it.
  • Is everyone involved in my surgery covered by malpractice insurance?

Once you are at the consultation, make sure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction and DEMAND TO SEE A PHYSICIAN. At Tempus Hair Restoration, every prospective patient meets with Dr. Barusco – whether the consultation is in-office, or by video conference.

Investigate other trusted resources

We hope we have provided information that will prevent you from making a serious mistake that can negatively impact the quality of your life and general health. To further educate yourself, we recommend visiting the links we’ve provided in this blog post to the ISHRS website. This organization is an unbiased source of information, and holds its members to the highest ethical standards – as well as establishing and enforcing industry standards.

Ultimately, choose your surgeon based on experience, results and integrity. Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice.

Dr. Barusco also conducts virtual consultations for those who can’t travel to one of our 14 Florida locations, and our office will arrange travel and accommodations for out-of-area patients. We invite you to learn more about our procedures, then contact us to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Barusco. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your options.