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. Place a towel under your head in case the donor area oozes.
- 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
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’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 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. 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 ten days after surgery for a follow-up visit, but for those who live at a distance from our facility, 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 will be 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 approximately 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 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.
|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 and possibly some numbness.
Remove your bandage and shower with warm water (not too hot). Gently wash the donor area with your hand using the shampoo that we have provided to you. The shower water may hit the area on the back of your scalp directly. If this is uncomfortable, turn down the water pressure or partially block the water with your hand.
The purpose is to soak off the crusts from the donor area so that it will heal well. This may take 15 minutes or more in the shower. You will not hurt the area by using directly running water or by gently washing the area.
After the shower, pat the area dry. Apply a thin petrolatum jelly (Vaseline) layer to cover the entire donor area.
The petrolatum should be reapplied to the donor area throughout the day to keep the area greasy and to keep it from drying out.
At night, this can be covered with gauze or Telfa pads attached with paper tape to keep the Vaseline from smearing on the pillow, or place a towel over your pillow.
|Be careful around pets and children for the first ten 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. 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.
You may apply Vaseline LIGHTLY to the transplanted recipient area starting on DAY 3 after your surgery. This will help to prevent crusts from forming or soften crusts that have already formed. (It should only be applied to the recipient area after day 3, as this may cause the grafts to become loose and dislodge.)
|Soreness in the donor and recipient areas should be gone. Some numbness may continue.||Continue to take it easy with dayto-day physical activity (can resume work, although you may not want to be client-facing for 10 days given the red and crusted scalp as well as potential facial swelling.)|
|OK to wear loose-fitting baseball caps (avoid wool beanies that may cling to grafts).||In the donor area only, any residual crusting can be removed with shower water hitting it directly.||Defer flying until day 3 postsurgery (if possible).
OK to return to the gym if careful not to hit or rub the transplanted area. Can resume light exercise with light weights or isolated leg exercises. May resume other light activities, i.e., it is 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.
|The area should appear normal other than the closely cropped hair and some residual redness and flaking.||You may now get a haircut.|
|End of Week 2|
|The transplanted hair begins to shed.||Length of hair in donor area approaches that of a “crew cut”.||Can restart smoking – 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.||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.||You may dye your hair.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|There may be additional fullness. Any textural change in hair returns to normal. If there had been a wave, it will return.|