Hair Transplant Timeline (BLOG POST): The Road to Recovery
Post-Operative Timeline for Hair Transplants: What You Need to Know for a Safer and Faster Recovery
When getting a hair transplant procedure, one does not just need to know about the procedure that will be done. But, one also needs to learn about the recovery process after the surgery to achieve the realistic expectations you and your hair transplant surgeon have discussed during the consultation.
There are certain precautions and health measures that one should follow to ensure the fast and safe results that you desire for your new hair. Remember, these follicles are in the very early stages of their life after the surgery and need to be cared for. Below are what to expect after the surgery and what you should do to ensure you get the maximum benefits of your hair transplant.
Post op hair transplant care
With the innate sensitivity of the new follicles, it is important to take care of their growth to ensure the results that were discussed during consultation with the surgeon. At this point, the ball is in your hands and it is important to know what is necessary for a successful hair transplant result.
On your first night after the operation, the position of the head while sleeping is very important and it is advisable to keep your head elevated on 2-3 pillows to prevent your head from rolling over. Doing so will also prevent swelling in the area which can be uncomfortable.
Once discharged, you shall be given medication for pain and sleep just in case you need them. There is usually no need for antibiotics at this point.
On the first morning after your surgery, you can take off the headband from the surgery and shampoo the scalp three times. The remaining days of the week will require you to shower twice a day with a special shampoo that you should use to clean the transplanted area. Remember that you should do this gently because of the delicate nature of the transplanted follicles.
You may resume to your normal force for shampooing and brushing after 10 days. At this point, the grafts should have been firmly in place already and if you so fancy, you may even get a haircut. For the more stylish ones, dyeing of the hair would be feasible after four weeks from the transplant.
Things to avoid
Because of the delicate stage of the transplanted hair, there are certain things that need to be avoided – alcohol and cigarettes. You should also avoid sun exposure or wear a hat if this cannot be avoided. Sunscreen with SPF 30 may be applied after two weeks.
As far as your daily routine is concerned, you may resume it again almost immediately after the operation, but exercises should be resumed a week after, especially the strenuous ones. After ten days, the surgeon would usually advise you to go back for a follow-up visit.
Post-Operative Timeline for Hair Transplants
The post-care regimen of hair transplants is just as important as the procedure itself because the proper care of the transplanted hair shall make them look as natural as the other strands on the scalp.
To help you monitor the condition of your hair, you have a timeline of what may be expected after your operation to keep you from panicking or worrying during certain periods of your recovery.
Day After Surgery
Do not expect to see the hair immediately because they are still minimally detectable at this point. Medication for pain and swelling are given just in case they are needed. Unfortunately, there are those whose swelling extends to the forehead down across the bridge of the nose and around the eyes. But no need to fret because the swelling is expected to subside by the time the week ends.
Though the patient is instructed to shampoo gently, this should still be done thoroughly to rid the scalp of any blood that might have been left from the operation. Soreness, tightness, and even numbness can be expected to happen to the donor area.
You shall notice some scabbing and a little redness on the transplanted area. There is also the possibility of swelling on the forehead. On the upside of things, no discomfort shall be felt within these days.
The donor area shall begin to lose its soreness though numbness might still be felt in some cases.
Should there still be significant swelling on these days, it may just settle across the bridge of the nose and other parts of the face like the area around the eyes. For any residual crusting on the donor area, you can remove it by just running water directly over it.
By the end of the week, expect the swelling to have subsided along with the diminished or elimination of redness on the transplanted part. The transplanted hair shall take the look of a week-old beard. For the donor area, soreness should be basically gone. There are some rare cases where numbness continues.
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2 weeks to 2 months
The grafts are now permanently in place and can no longer be dislodged. Residual crusting can already be removed by scrubbing it off gently. Patients can can also go back to normal shampooing and should return to the doctor for a follow-up. The suture in the donor area shall be removed.
Week 2 and week 3
The transplanted hair starts to shed during this period but this shouldn’t stop the patient from getting haircuts. The donor area becomes more active as the suture starts to absorb and in some rare cases, numbness happens as well. If the surgeon used staples on the patient, this is the time to remove them. It is also at this period when the tips of the absorbable sutures start disappearing as well.
End of month 1
This is the stage that might make the patient feel a bit worried because the follicles have entered what is called as the “resting phase”, and that means the patient will look like he did before he had the surgery. It is an inevitable phase and the patient should think of it as such. While all of this is happening, the patient should continue to take care of the donor area and make sure that it is still protected from activities that would involve pressure on the back of the scalp.
3 to 4 months
The growth of the newly transplanted hair starts producing some very fine hair. You can expect the hairs to grow back in this phase. Regarding the donor area, all forms of numbness left from the initial stages would completely disappear around this time.
5 to 6 months
Grooming becomes easier because the transplanted hair will continue to grow with some slight changes in texture. The scar at the donor site will also show significant healing.
8 months to a year
Follow-up sessions usually happen during this period and the patient is advised if another surgery is necessary. The laxity of the donor area is restored by this time.
1 to 2 years
Looking at the mirror would be a joy once again as the transplanted hair begins to show noticeable fullness. As far as texture is concerned, it gradually returns to its normal state around this time.
To learn more about the recovery process of a hair transplant, book your consultation now with Dr. Tyng Tan of Aesthetics and Hair Clinic in Singapore. Dr. Tan is trained in both FUE and FUT hair transplant techniques. Call us now or simply fill out our inquiry form today!
About Dr Tyng Tan
Dr. Tan Tyng Yuan, MBBS completed her graduate and medical education in the United Kingdom over a span of 10 years.