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’ll 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. Exercise can be started the second day following your procedure. For the first 10 days, you should avoid any activities that rub or put direct pressure on 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 Transplant Surgery
If the post-operative instructions are followed carefully, in most patients, the hair transplant is barely detectable after 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 Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). 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 and possibly some numbness.|
|Days 2-3||Some scabbing is present as well as moderate redness. Swelling may appear on the forehead.||Soreness in the donor and recipient areas should be gone. 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.||There may be some residual crusting that can be gently scrubbed off (donor area only).|
|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.||The area should appear normal other than the closely cropped hair.|
|End of Week 2||The transplanted hair begins to shed.||Length of hair in donor area approaches that of a “crew cut”.|
|End of Week 3||The transplanted hair continues to shed. Patients may get haircuts.||Donor hair length approximates that of a short hair cut.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Months 6-9||Hair is groomable, but it continues to grow and thicken. Slight textural changes in hair are occasionally present.|
|Month 10||Patients are seen in follow-up. If a second session is considered, it will be discussed.|
|1 Year||The final appearance of the hair transplant can begin to be appreciated.|
|1-2 Years||There may be additional fullness. Any textural change in hair usually returns to normal.|
By: Dr. Robert M. Bernstein
Updated: 2016-01-12 | Published: 2012-01-06