It is important that patients follow post-operative instructions to ensure optimal healing and growth of the transplanted hair. Please find bullet-point highlights, a description of the post-op care, a timeline chart (below), and a link to a PDF version of the detailed instructions.
- Night of your procedure and next few nights: Sleep with head elevated
- Morning after procedure: Remove headband, shower and shampoo your scalp 3 times over the course of the day (morning, noon, and night)
- 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 (morning, noon, and night) — 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, if you follow the instructions, will not be dislodged in the shower. 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 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 an SPF of 30+.
Generally, patients can resume their normal daily routine almost immediately. Limited exercise can be started in the first week. You should avoid anything that stretches or puts direct pressure on the donor area following your hair restoration surgery. How long depends on the type of donor incision and the laxity of your scalp – your doctor will advise.
We ask you to return to the office ten days after surgery for a 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 will be 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 temporary situation. The shed hair will begin to regrow about the same time as the newly transplanted 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 a significant person to person variability, so if you do not follow the course exactly, do not be concerned.
|TRANSPLANTED AREA||DONOR AREA||ACTIVITY RESTRICTIONS|
|Day Following Surgery|
|Take three showers the day following your procedure. Shower with warm water and mild water pressure. In addition, block the force of the water with your hand. Be sure only to pat the area with a sponge.
DO NOT RUB, as this will dislodge the grafts. Be careful NOT to RUB the Transplanted Area for the first 10 days.
|Expect some soreness, tightness, and possibly numbness.||Take it easy with day-to-day physical activity.
Be careful around pets and children for the first 10 days as they may inadvertently dislodge the transplanted grafts.
|Gently wash hair twice daily as instructed. Make sure you continue to dab and not rub. Please use the gentle baby shampoo that we have provided.
You may experience some numbness in the recipient area, and this may continue for a few weeks.
Starting from Day 3 after your surgery, you may apply a small amount of Vaseline to the transplanted recipient area to prevent the formation of crusts or soften any existing ones. It is important not to apply Vaseline to the recipient area before Day 3, to prevent the grafts from becoming loose or dislodged.
|Soreness in the donor area begins to lessen. Some numbness may continue.||You can resume work, although you may not want to be client-facing for 10 days given the red scalp, some crusting, as well as potential facial swelling you may have.
You may travel/fly.
|It is acceptable to wear loosely fitting, VERY CLEAN, baseball caps after your surgery. However, it is recommended to avoid wool beanies that may cling to the grafts.||Any residual crusting in the donor area can be removed with directly running shower water.||OK to return to the gym. Be particularly careful NOT to do anything that stretches or puts direct pressure on the back of your scalp. Controlled activities where the head is in a neutral position, such as push-ups or stair-master, biking, and running (if not too strenuous), are OK.
OK to wade in the water with adequate sun protection (HAT ONLY). Do NOT submerge your head.
OK to restart drinking modest amounts of alcohol and engaging in gentle sexual intercourse.
|Transplanted hairs are permanent at 10 days post-op; OK to shampoo vigorously beginning day 11. (If you have a lot of scarring or sun damage, wait a few more days as these situations make the grafts less secure.)
Start using, or reusing, topical minoxidil.
Ok to use cosmetic camouflage, tar shampoos, sunscreen to the scalp and hair spray.
|Soreness is generally gone. There may be some persistent numbness.
Alternating staples will be removed from the donor area around day 10.
|OK to get a haircut if your barber is very careful not to get caught on the staples. Also DO NOT cut your hair too short on the sides (so that the staples will be visible). To be sure, best to wait until three weeks after surgery (when all the staples have been removed) to have your first haircut.|
|End of Week 2|
|The transplanted hair begins to shed.||Some numbness is possible, but this will gradually resolve.||Easy, short swims are OK, but be careful not to stretch the donor or overly hydrate the scalp (>10 min), as this may weaken the donor area.
Can restart smoking if you must, but far better not to at all. Consider using this break to stop permanently!
|End of Week 3|
|The transplanted hair continues to shed. OK to get a haircut.||Remaining staples are removed.||OK to dye your hair and get a haircut.|
|End of Month 1|
|The follicles enter a resting phase. You will look very much like you did before the procedure.
You may dye your hair.
|Normal swimming is OK.|
|Lifting that does not involve stretching the back of the neck or putting direct pressure on the donor scar.
Deadlifting is OK if it follows these rules. If you notice any tugging on your scalp during an activity, immediately stop and take at least a week break before attempting to reintroduce the activity.
|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 usually resolved.||Restart sports without contact, such as golf, tennis, and dancing. Yoga and Pilates OK, but start cautiously. Avoid very strenuous activities such as headstands or significant head flexion.
OK to begin squats and bench presses. OK to ski, snowboard, and rock-climb.
|The newly transplanted hair may start to grow (but this may take up to 6 months or longer), initially as very fine hair. Some or all of the
original hair that was shed begins to grow back.
|Ok to begin lifting that can involve neck strain or pressure on the back of the scalp (squats, bench presses) unless your doctor has mentioned that the scar has begun to stretch.
Sports such as grappling and MMA should be avoided much longer.
|Hair is groomable, but it continues to grow and thicken. Some textural changes in hair may be present but will return to original texture over time.||The donor area regains much of its strength.|
|Your one-year follow-up visit. 90% of the final appearance of the hair transplant can be appreciated. A second procedure may be considered at this time.||The donor area has regained its strength and laxity.|
|There may be additional fullness. Any textural change in hair returns to normal. If there had been a wave, it will return.|
Video: What is the Most Important Thing to Know After a Hair Transplant
The most important thing to know after a hair transplant is that it takes a while for the hair to grow in. It takes 10 weeks to 3 months for the hair for the hair to start growing in once people have the procedure. They are excited because they see stubble of hair right after the surgery and they think that it’s going to continue to grow… but unfortunately it doesn’t. That hair is shed and then, about three months later, the hair starts to grow in and it grows in very gradually. So, it’s really important to be patient and basically forget about the whole thing and just wake up a year later and the hair will be grown in. But kidding aside, the hair starts to grown in as very, very soft vellus hair in about ten weeks to three months, and then it gradually increases in thickness and in length over the course of a year. At a year after a first hair transplant we see about 90% of the benefit. Sometimes the wave can come back in the transplant even in the second year. So, 90% in the first year and then some little modifications, a little maturity of the transplant sometimes can occur later on. If people have a second hair transplant for some reason the growth seems to be a tiny bit slower, sometimes 18 months might be the average before you see the full result.
– Dr. Robert M. Bernstein