Hair transplant – The recovery timeline
July 14, 2017 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Modern innovative methods of hair transplant like FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction, commonly used to remedy male pattern baldness are minimally invasive. They ensure that your scalp and hair look as natural as possible. However, people sometimes presume that they will have a mop of hair right after surgery. Now that is a misconception. It takes a while after the procedure for you to regain your mane.
The transplanted hair grafts go through a whole process before hair starts growing naturally. We have made a brief recovery timeline to help you understand what happens after the surgery.
Day of surgery
Right after the procedure, you may feel light pain or numbness. The head is usually bandaged for about 24 hours, you go home in the evening.
Week 1 to 10 days
After the bandages are off, don’t imagine a head full of hair already. It is a process and result takes time to be visible.
You will notice some redness and scabbing on both the donor and the recipient areas. There may be some mild swelling around the forehead in the first week after surgery. It usually starts after 2 days of surgery; it begins at the hairline and moves down to the forehead, and to the nose and eyes. The swelling usually subsides on it’s own by the end of the week.
The donor areas are usually shaved off during the procedure, so that the harvest site, which is the rear and sides of the head where hair follicles are extracted from, are clearly visible. The hair that is not harvested should start to grow back in the first week and cover the harvest spots.
There is also scabbing over the recipient area. Beware, don’t try to clean or rub the scabs during first 10-12 days as the grafts usually requires 10 days to get fixed in the scalp. It is important to have head wash with gentle flowing water and mild baby shampoo, this keeps the area clean.
The first 10 days after the procedure are most critical. You can get back to work within three to four days, but you will have to follow proper post-operative instructions.
Week 3 - 4
Shedding of the transplanted hair usually starts around the third week. Shedding is absolutely normal since the hair grafts go through a dormant or sleeping phase.
Hair shedding after a transplant may extends till about 3-4 months. It happens because the hair follicle is stripped from its regular blood supply. The shedding does not have an impact on the overall outcome of the hair restoration process.
Week 10– 12
The new hair will be thin, grow unevenly, or in patches. It will eventually all grow and thicken. The growth period varies for different patients but almost everyone sees some new hair within three months. There might be some ingrowth or acne like formations on the scalp, but that’s nothing to worry about, it’s just new hair that will eventually find it’s way out.
It is in the fifth to the sixth month that patients can expect to see considerable new growth.
In the eighth and ninth month hair will be longer and much thicker. The texture of the hair will change and it will start looking natural. That added to the full growth in the donor areas, you will pretty much have a good-looking mane by now.
It is after a year that patients will be able to see the final result. The new hair that is growing now will keep growing like natural hair. It can be also be like normal hair and you can use regular shampoo and products if you like.
Although it might take up to a year for the full effect of the surgery to show, it will be absolutely worth the time once you notice the difference in how you look, and the added self assurance and confidence in your personality