It is important that patients follow post-operative instructions to ensure optimal healing and growth of the transplant. Please find bullet-point highlights with detailed description of post-op care and a timeline chart below.
- Night of your procedure and next few nights: Sleep with head elevated
- Morning after procedure: Remove headband, shower and shampoo your scalp 3 times
- Remainder of week after procedure: Shower twice a day
- First week after: Shampoo very gently
- 10 Days after: Grafts are permanent, so you can resume normal shampooing and hair care
- Avoid alcohol for 3 days after procedure
- Abstain from smoking for two weeks after procedure
- Wear a hat when in strong sunlight, and after 2 weeks you may use sunscreen with 30 or higher SPF
- 3 weeks after: You can have a haircut
- 4 weeks after: You can dye your hair
- Avoid strenuous exercise for up to several weeks (see details below)
The night of your hair transplant, and for the next few nights, you are encouraged to sleep with your head elevated on pillows. Medication is given for sleep and pain (if needed). Antibiotics are generally not required. The morning after your hair transplant surgery, you will remove the headband and shower and shampoo your scalp three times – just for the first day. We will call you the next day to make sure that everything is OK. You won’t need to come into the office at this time, but are welcome to do so.
For the remainder of the week, you should shower twice a day. When showering, you will be instructed to gently clean the transplanted area with a special shampoo. The follicular unit grafts are made to fit snugly into the recipient sites and will not be dislodged in the shower, if you follow the instructions given to you. After your first shower, no further bandages are required.
Although you must be very gentle for the first week after hair loss surgery, normal shampooing, brushing and hair care can be resumed after ten days since, by this time, the grafts are firmly in place. You can also have a haircut at this point. You are able to dye your hair, if you choose, four weeks after the hair transplant.
You should avoid alcohol for three days following your hair replacement procedure and abstain from smoking for two weeks. When in strong sunlight, you should wear a hat. After two weeks you may use a sunscreen with a SPF of 30+.
Generally patients can resume normal daily routine almost immediately. Limited exercise can be started in the first week. You should avoid strenuous exercise for several weeks following hair restoration surgery, depending upon the type of donor incision and the laxity of your scalp.
We ask you to return to the office for a ten day follow-up visit, but for those who live at a distance from our facilities, this can generally be handled by phone.
What To Expect After Your Hair Surgery
If the post-operative instructions are followed carefully, in most patients the hair transplant is minimally detectable after a few days and almost undetectable after the first week to ten days. Patients are given medication for swelling at the time of hair loss surgery, but some still experience swelling of the forehead that settles across the bridge of the nose and around the eyes. If this occurs, it is almost always gone by the end of the first week.
The newly transplanted hair begins to grow at around 10 weeks. It is long enough to be groomed in about 6 months and, in most cases, will be fully grown in at one year. In the few months following hair surgery, before the new hair starts to grow, there may be some shedding of your original hair so that the transplanted area may temporarily appear slightly thinner. This is a transient phenomenon and will be corrected when the new hair begins to grow. It should not be a cause for concern. For more about shedding, please read Shedding After a Hair Transplant.
The following table describes the usual course for persons having FUT Hair Transplant surgery. There will generally be significant person to person variability, so if you do not follow the course exactly, do not be concerned.
|POST-OP||TRANSPLANTED AREA||DONOR AREA|
|Day Following Surgery||Patients are instructed to wash their hair gently, but thoroughly, so that the scalp is free of any blood.||Expect some soreness, tightness, and possibly numbness.|
|Days 2-3||Some scabbing is present as well as moderate redness. Swelling may appear on the forehead. There is generally no discomfort in the recipient area.||Soreness in the donor area begins to disappear. Some numbness may continue.|
|Days 4-6||If there is significant swelling, it may settle across the bridge of the nose and around the eyes and cheeks.||In the donor area only, any residual crusting can be removed with directly running shower water.|
|End of Week 1||Swelling usually has subsided. Redness is faint or absent. The hair transplant looks and feels like a week-old beard.||Soreness is generally gone. Rarely there is some persistent numbness.|
|Day 10||The grafts are permanently in place and cannot be dislodged. Any residual crusting may be gently scrubbed off. Patients may return to normal shampooing, brushing and combing. Patients are seen in follow-up.||Sutures or first set of staples will be removed.|
|End of Week 2||The transplanted hair begins to shed.||Sutures begin to absorb. Numbness is uncommon. If staples are used, some or all will be removed.|
|End of Week 3||The transplanted hair continues to shed. Patients may get haircuts.||The knots at the ends of the absorbable sutures begin to disappear. Remaining staples are removed.|
|End of Month 1||The follicles enter a resting phase. You will look very much like you did before the procedure. Patients may dye their hair.||The donor area should still be protected against strenuous activity that stretches or puts undue pressure on the back of the scalp.|
|Months 2-5||The newly transplanted hair starts to grow, initially as very fine hair. Some or all of the original hair that was shed begins to grow back.||Any residual numbness in the donor area has generally resolved.|
|Months 6-9||Hair is groomable, but it continues to grow and thicken. Slight textural changes in hair are occasionally present.||The donor area regains most of its strength.|
|Month 10||Patients are seen in follow-up. If a second session is considered, it will be discussed.||Donor laxity has been restored.|
|1 Year||The final appearance of the hair transplants can begin to be appreciated.|
|1-2 Years||There may be additional fullness. Any textural change in hair usually returns to normal.|
Video: What is the Most Important Thing to Know After a Hair Transplant
By: Dr. Robert M. Bernstein
Updated: 2016-01-20 | Published: 2009-07-23