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!