Before and after hair transplant: Step-by-Step Situation
Things to consider before Hair Transplant
Hair transplants are typically more successful than over-the-counter hair restoration products. But there are some factors to consider:
- Anywhere from 10 to 80 percent of transplanted hairTrusted Source will fully grow back in an estimated three to four months.
- Like regular hair, the transplanted hair will thin over time.
- People with dormant hair follicles (sacs that usually contain hair beneath the skin but no longer grow hair) may have less effective transplants, study suggests that plasma therapy can help up to 75 percent or more of the transplanted hairs fully grow back.
Hair transplants don’t work for everyone. They’re mainly used to restore hair if you’re balding or thinning naturally or have lost hair due to an injury.
Most transplants are done with your existing hair, so they’re not as effective for treating people with:
- widespread thinning and baldness
- hair loss due to chemotherapy or other medications
- thick scalp scars from injuries
After the surgery, your scalp may be very tender. You may need to take pain medications for several days. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages over your scalp for at least a day or two. He may also prescribe an antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory drug for you to take for several days. Most people can return to work 2 to 5 days after the operation.
Performing a Hair Transplant
Simply put, a hair transplant takes hair you have and transfers it to an area where you don’t have hair. It’s typically taken from the back of your head, but can also be taken from other parts of your body. Before starting a transplant, your surgeon sterilizes the area where the hair will be removed and numbs it with a local anesthetic. You can also request sedation to stay asleep for the procedure.
Your surgeon then performs one of two transplant methods: FUT or FUE.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
FUT is sometimes known as follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS). To perform a FUT procedure, your surgeon follows these steps:
- Using a scalpel, the surgeon removes a piece of your scalp, usually from the back of your head. The strip size is typically about 6 to 10 inches long but can stretch from ear to ear.
- They close the area where the scalp was removed with stitches.
- Your surgeon and their assistants separate the scalp strip into smaller pieces with a scalpel. They may split the piece up into as many as 2,000 smaller fragments, called grafts. Some of these grafts may contain only one hair each.
- Using a needle or blade, the surgeon makes small holes in your scalp where hair will be transplanted.
- The surgeon inserts hairs from the removed piece of scalp into the puncture holes. This step is called grafting.
- They then cover the surgical sites with bandages or gauze.
The specific number of grafts you receive depends on the:
- type of hair you have
- size of transplant site
- quality (including thickness) of hair
- hair color
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
To perform an FUE procedure, your surgeon takes these steps:
- They shave off the hair on the back of your head.
- The surgeon then takes the individual follicles out of the scalp skin. You’ll see tiny marks where each follicle was removed.
- As with the FUT procedure, the surgeon makes small holes in your scalp and grafts hair follicles into the holes.
- They then cover the surgical site with bandages or gauze.
Recovery after Hair Transplant
FUT and FUE may each take several hours to several days to complete. In part, this depends on the amount of work performed by the surgeon. You will go home the same day of the procedure.
Once the surgery is done, your surgeon carefully removes any bandages. The area may be swollen, so your surgeon might inject triamcinolone into the area to keep the swelling down.
Within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out, but you should start to notice new growth within a few months. Most people will see 60% of new hair growth after 6 to 9 months. Some surgeons prescribe the hair-growing drug minoxidil (Rogaine) to improve hair growth after transplantation, but it’s not clear how well it works.
You’ll likely feel pain or soreness at the transplant site as well as in the area where hair was taken from. For the next few days, your surgeon may prescribe:
- pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil)
- antibiotics to prevent infections
- anti-inflammatories, such as an oral steroid, to relieve swelling
- medications such as finasteride (Propecia) or minoxidil (Rogaine) to help stimulate hair growth
Here are some aftercare tips for hair transplant surgery:
- Wait a few days after the surgery to wash your hair. Only use mild shampoos for the first few weeks.
- You should be able to return to work or normal activities in about 3 days.
- Don’t press a brush or comb down over the new grafts for about 3 weeks.
- Don’t wear any hats or pullover shirts and jackets until your doctor says it’s OK.
- Don’t exercise for about a week.
Don’t worry if some hairs fall out. This is part of the process. The transplanted hair may not grow much or seamlessly match the hair around it for a few months.
Tips on post-surgical FUE hair transplant
Want to have a better FUE hair transplant effect, you should at first consult to a professional doctor and have an assessment; alike, post-surgical treatment and care are also important, or more important for a better hair transplant effect.
Day 1: Do not touch and wash the surgical area the first night. If possible, cover the head with a hat while going out. On sleeping time, do elevate your head to avoid rubbing off or detaching any of the grafts. 3 or 4 pillows are helpful to achieve an ideal angle.
Day 2 – Day 4: Do avoid touching, scratching or rubbing the transplanted area and exposure under sun for a long period, as sunburn may affect the pigmentation of the skin and also damage the transplanted hair.
Day 5 – Day 7: While on this period, you can shampoo a little longer on the surgical area to make the scabs soften. And you can resume all your physical activities and sports.
Week 2 – Week 4: As hair follicles at this period have entered the resting phase, so it will temporarily start losing hair shafts. Do not panic. Just continue to wash and even dye your hair as you normally do.
Month 2 –Month 3: Do follow the doctor’s recommendation and take finasteride, monoxide or any other treatment to minimize shock loss.
Month 4 – Month 6: Do remember to use a strong sunblock SPF 30 while going outside in the sun.
Month 6 – Month 12: As the transplanted hair continues to become thicker and longer from fine baby hair, you can style them the way you desire.
Month 12 – Month 18: Congratulations to you the final hair stage and you make a change in your life, Enjoy your new hair.
Hair transplant side effects
The most common side effect is scarring, and this cannot be avoided with any procedure.
Other potential side effects include:
- crust or pus drainage around the surgical sites
- scalp pain, itching, and swelling
- inflammation of hair follicles
- losing sensation around the surgical sites
- visible areas of hair that don’t match the surrounding hair or are noticeably thinner
- continuing to lose hair if your hair is still balding
Minoxidil and Propecia can also have side effects, such as:
- irritated scalp
- chest pain
- irregular heart rate
- hand, foot, or breast swelling
- sexual dysfunction