OK – You’ve made the decision. You’ve done your homework and due-diligence. You’ve researched your options, talked to friends who have had similar hair transplant procedures, conferred with a number of local doctors, and chose one.
You went in for a consultation, discussed your current health status, your expectations for hair restoration surgery, your financial options and taken a few days off from work.
You made a commitment to yourself to enhance your appearance and well-being and are ready for the hair restoration procedure known as follicular unit transplantation, or FUT.
Find a surgeon who will dedicate his time to you. If a doctor is managing more than a few surgeries at the same time, this is a red flag. Not only are you possibly being neglected, but your hair follicle tissues (which are time-sensitive) are being neglected as well.
Prior to the day of surgery, get a good night’s sleep and abstain from alcohol, aspirin and Vitamin E. Wear an old, button-down shirt that you can remove without pulling it over your head.
Days 1 – 10
The day has arrived. The procedure, which usually takes 4-5 hours to complete, is typically done in the physician’s office with the surgeon and a team of assistants.
You arrive early for your appointment in order to relax, check in and feel confident that the decision and realistic goals you have set in conjunction with your physician, will mitigate any disappointments and frustrations that may arise due to unrealistic expectations.
Discuss and understand your options and outcomes with your surgeon to gain an appreciation of what to expect over the coming 12 months.
The physician and his team will do everything they can to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
Once the effects of the local anesthesia have diminished, you may have pain and minor discomfort. Your doctor will prescribe analgesics to relieve this pain.
Go home and rest for 10 days. You may experience short-term numbness in the affected areas of the scalp which will soon wear off.
Sleep with your head elevated or sit up in a recliner chair to minimize swelling.
At day three, there may be mild swelling in the forehead area that will dissipate over the next three days. You may also develop small blood clots at the incision sites. These are normal and will usually flake off in 5-7 days.
You may start washing your hair gently on the 3rd day and regularly after the first week.
Ten – 14 Days Post-Op
Ten – 14 days after surgery, go back to the doctor’s office to have your staples or sutures removed.
At the 3-week mark, the transplanted hairs may shed. This is part of the lifecycle of the grafted hairs.
At this point, your scalp should be healing well, although it may still look unsightly. People heal at different rates, depending on a variety of factors including health. Smokers, diabetics and the elderly may heal more slowly than other patients.
One – 3 Months Post-Op
One – 3 months after the hair transplant surgery, most patients will have approximately 25% of new hair growth in the affected areas. The new hair may not grow in evenly, but over time it will all grow in and thicken.
Don’t panic if your head looks like it has developed acne – these are new hairs pushing up through the scalp and should be cause for cheer.
Five – 6 Months Post-Op
By the 5th or 6th month post-procedure, up to 50% of new hair growth will be visible. The new hair will be approximately 2-3 inches in length and the hair shaft will begin to thicken.
As a precaution to protect new growth hair, minimize sun exposure and avoid strong chemicals such as hair dyes or perms.
Eight – 10 Months Post-Op
At the 8 and 10-month milestones, you will see the most impressive difference since the initial surgery. Hair growth should be at 80%. The hair will be longer, thicker and more dense.
These are approximate rates and the rate of each individual’s hair growth is unique to that individual. Smoking, age and health status may affect the rate of growth.
One Year Post-Op
At your one-year anniversary, you should have the head of hair you paid for, or 90-100% of expected hair growth.
New growth may continue well past the one year mark.
Some patients may request additional density to achieve their desired results. Consult with your doctor whether additional surgeries are advisable.
Your new hair is yours for the rest of your life and can be cut, styled and washed according to preference. No special regimen is required.
Book an appointment with a high-concept stylist and enjoy your new head of hair.