Prior to getting a hair transplant, there are a few considerations. To find out if you are a good candidate for the operation, you need first speak with a hair transplant specialist. The surgeon will examine your scalp and determine the pattern of your hair loss.
The following stage, if you are found to be a good candidate, is to select the best hair transplant method for you. Most people are familiar with the before and after hair transplant results, but many patients come to us curious about the actual steps involved in the procedure.
The hair transplant surgery, consultation, and post-operative recovery time have all been covered in detail in this article.
Detail The Steps Of A Hair Transplant Procedure
Pre-op advice, graft harvesting and conservation, implantation, and post-op care are all steps in the hair transplant procedure. This entire process typically takes 6 to 9 hours. Read the technique for hair transplantation in detail below.
You will come into the clinic for a consultation where you will meet your doctor. During this consultation, you will discuss your hair loss concerns and the doctor will provide advice on the best treatment options to achieve the most natural-looking results.
The doctor will ask you a few questions to understand your medical history and any potential underlying causes of hair loss. Pictures of your scalp will be taken for record-keeping purposes and to evaluate any potential future hair loss.
Two weeks before the procedure
It is important to prepare for the hair transplant procedure by making certain lifestyle adjustments. Two weeks before the procedure, you should discontinue the use of any medications or vitamin supplements that contain aspirin, ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Aleve, Advil), herbs that increase blood flow or thin the blood (such as Echinacea, Gingko Biloba, Garlic), and Vitamin E.
If you have any chronic diseases, it is advisable to consult with your physician before the procedure. To aid in healing, it is recommended to take 1000mg of Vitamin C three times per day.
It is also important not to cut the hair on the back of your head before the surgery. Additionally, any topical hair treatment products should be discontinued during this two-week period.
One week before the procedure
In the week leading up to the procedure, there are several precautions to take. Refrain from consuming alcohol for a full week before the surgery.
It is also important to stop smoking and using nicotine products during this time. Discontinue the use of Rogaine products as well. Furthermore, it is advised to refrain from any form of casual exercise in the 3-7 days prior to the surgery.
The night before the procedure
The night before your hair transplant procedure, it is recommended to wash your hair with a mild shampoo. Take all of your prescribed medications as usual.
You can expect to receive a call from the clinic to confirm your appointment and ensure that all necessary preparations are in place.
Preparing the scalp
On the day of the procedure, your scalp will need to be prepared for the transplant. In most cases, shaving of the head is required, and this can be done in the clinic.
The purpose of shaving the head is to allow the hair transplant surgeon to closely mimic the natural angle and direction of your native hairs, minimizing transaction rates (damage to the hair follicles during the procedure).
It ensures a more natural-looking result. However, there may be cases where an unshaven hair transplant is possible. This possibility should be discussed with your doctor to determine if it is feasible and appropriate for your distinct situation.
Before the hair transplant procedure, you will be required to fill in paperwork consenting to the procedure. The nurses will explain the approach to you, and pre-operative photographs will be taken to document your current hair condition.
The surgeon will then explain the step-by-step process and mark the treatment areas on your scalp.
A local anesthetic will be injected into your scalp to ensure that the extraction and grafting of the hair are painless.
The anesthetic will take effect almost instantly, and you will remain conscious throughout the total procedure. You will have the ability to communicate with the surgical team if you need a break or have any concerns.
Extraction of follicular units
The extraction process involves using a specialized punch device with a diameter ranging from 0.6mm to 0.9mm. This device is used to puncture the skin around the follicle at a depth of 1-2 millimeters.
The hair follicle bulb is then carefully removed using fine forceps with the aid of a dynamic magnifying glass. The extracted follicles are placed into a glass tray containing a solution that maintains their ideal hydration, temperature, and humidity levels.
Harvesting the grafts
After the extraction process, you will have a break for lunch and an opportunity to stretch your legs.
Meanwhile, the surgeon will examine the extracted grafts and determine which ones are suitable for use and which are not. The grafts will be separated into groups based on their thickness and the size of the bulb.
Implantation of the grafts
Once the grafts are ready for implantation, a local anesthetic will be topped up to ensure the procedure remains pain-free and comfortable. The grafts are manually implanted into the recipient area of your scalp.
The surgeon will carefully penetrate the skin and place the grafts approximately 1mm below the surface. The duration of this stage may vary depending on the patient and the number of grafts being implanted.
After the hair transplant method, the surgeon will bandage your head to protect the grafts and promote healing. It is salient to avoid touching your new hair grafts for the first 3-days to prevent dislodging or damaging them.
You will need to spray the new follicles with a prescribed solution every half hour to avert the formation of scabs. The surgeon may also provide you with medication to aid in the healing process. The donor area, from where the hair follicles were extracted, will typically take 5-7 days to heal. It is crucial to take proper care of your newly transplanted hair for the next 12 months. It includes following the surgeon’s instructions, attending post-operative appointments, and avoiding any activities that may jeopardize the success of the transplant.
After the healing process is complete, you can expect to see a noticeable difference in your hairline or hair density in the treated areas. However, it is important to note that the untreated areas of your scalp may still be prone to baldness.
Depending on your desired outcome and the progression of hair loss, additional hair transplant procedures may be needed in the future to address those areas.
After a hair transplant procedure, proper wound care is essential to promote healing and ensure the best possible results. Here are the key points to consider for wound care after a hair transplant:
You can apply an ice pack gently over the eyebrow area to minimize the swelling. It can help reduce inflammation and discomfort. However, avoid direct contact with the scalp to prevent any damage to the grafts.
- Avoid touching the scalp : It is crucial to avoid touching the scalp unnecessarily, especially the transplanted areas. Touching the scalp can increase the risk of infection or dislodging the grafts. If you need to rub the scalp for any reason, make sure your hands are clean and follow the recommended guidelines provided by your surgeon.
- Use the provided baseball cap : After the procedure, a specialized baseball cap may be provided to protect the scalp and minimize any potential trauma to the grafts. It is principal to follow the instructions provided by your surgeon regarding the cap. Wear the hat as recommended to provide additional protection to the newly transplanted hair.
- Hair shedding :It is common to experience hair shedding in the weeks following a hair transplant. The hair in the grafts may start to fall out as part of the normal hair growth cycle. It is a temporary phase and should not be a cause for concern.
The transplanted hair follicles will enter a resting phase before regrowing new hair in the coming months.
It is vital to avoid bending, lifting, and straining for one week after the hair transplant procedure. These activities can stress the scalp and interfere with the healing process.
Keep your physical activity to a minimum during this time to allow your body to recover.
When picking up objects or tying shoes, it is recommended to bend at the knees instead of at the waist. It helps to minimize strain on the scalp and reduces the risk of damaging the transplanted hair follicles.
The doctors will prescribe antibiotics after the hair transplant procedure to prevent ulceration. These antibiotics help to minimize the risk of any potential inflammation in the treated area.
Methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid medication, is often given to prevent swelling and inflammation. This medication can help reduce the swelling around the transplanted hair follicles and promote healing.
Pain medication may be prescribed to manage any post-operative discomfort or pain that you may experience after the procedure. It is foremost to take the pain medication as directed by your physician to ensure your comfort during the recovery interval.
Folliculitis refers to the inflammation of hair follicles, which can lead to the formation of pimple-like lesions. In the context of hair transplants, folliculitis can occur due to ingrown hairs in the transplanted area.
If you experience folliculitis, apply a warm, moist cloth to the affected area for several minutes. It can help soothe the inflammation and alleviate any discomfort. If the condition persists or worsens, speak to your doctor for further evaluation and guidance.
It is common to experience numbness at the suture line (where the incision was made) and the graft sites following a hair transplant procedure. This numbness is typically temporary and is expected to resolve within six to eight weeks after the procedure.
The numbness occurs due to the disruption of nerve endings during the surgery. As the healing progresses, the nerve function gradually returns, and the sensation in the treated area improves.
After undergoing a hair transplant technique, it is beneficial to follow these special instructions:
- Avoid direct sunlight or cold exposure for three weeks. Wear a hat to protect the transplanted area from excessive sunlight or cold temperatures.
- Apply a generous amount of antibiotic ointment to the newly transplanted graft area. Keep the lotion on overnight to promote healing and prevent infection.
- It is normal to experience slight bleeding overnight. Use a disposable towel to absorb any blood that may occur.
- Place a towel over your pillow for the first few nights. It will help protect the transplanted area and prevent any staining or discomfort.
- If you experience persistent pain or redness, immediately contact your physician. It is prime to seek medical attention if these symptoms persist after the procedure.
Instructions For Recovery After Hair Transplant Technique
After undergoing a hair transplant technique, it is crucial to follow the post-operative procedures carefully. Following these instructions will aid in the successful recovery and optimal results.
Within a few days, you may notice visible new hair growth, which is an encouraging sign of the procedure’s effectiveness. To minimize any potential swelling, it is important to use the prescribed medications aimed at preventing such issues.
Swelling commonly occurs near the forehead, above the nose, and around the eyes. However, rest assured that this swelling typically subsides naturally by the end of the first week, allowing for a more comfortable recovery.
As time progresses, you can anticipate further improvements in your hair transplant results. Around three months after the procedure, you may begin to notice significant growth in the newly transplanted hair.
This growth continues for an extended period, with noticeable progress even after six months. It is important to be patient, as the hair follicles need time to establish themselves and thrive in their new location.
By the one-year mark, you can expect your transplanted hair to be fully grown, providing you with the desired outcome. It is important to note that some hair fallout may occur in the first few months following the procedure, but this is a natural part of the process and should not cause concern.
The specific post-operative instructions may vary depending on the number of days that have passed since your hair transplant. It is crucial to adhere to the instructions provided by your healthcare professional, as they will be tailored to your individual needs and recovery progress.
By following these instructions diligently, you can ensure the best possible outcome from your hair transplant procedure.
Instructions For The First Three Days After Surgery
Remember to follow these instructions carefully to ensure the best possible outcome of your hair transplant procedure.
- Do not remove the bandage for several hours after surgery to avoid swelling. Leaving the bandage in place helps protect the transplanted area and reduces the risk of swelling.
- Avoid bending over for 48 hours after the surgery. Bending over can increase the chances of bleeding or swelling in the treated area. It is chief to keep your head elevated to promote proper blood circulation.
- Sleep with your head on two or three medical pillows for the first five days after the surgery. This elevated position helps prevent swelling by reducing the amount of fluid accumulation in the scalp.
- Do not shampoo your hair for 72 hours after the hair transplant. It is essential to avoid contact with water during this initial period to allow the grafts to firmly anchor themselves in the scalp.
- The medical staff will wash your hair and scalp on the day following the surgery. After the first day, you must follow their instructions regarding washing your scalp. They will provide you with a prescribed method for washing your scalp, which you should adhere to for the next ten days.
- Avoid smoking, exercising, lifting weights, or engaging in any strenuous physical activity until the third day after the surgery. These activities can increase blood pressure and interfere with the healing process. It is crucial to give your body enough time to recover.
- Discomfort and pain may occur within the first three days after the hair transplant. It is normal and can be managed with pain medication prescribed by your doctor. If the pain persists or worsens, it is recommended to consult your medical professional.
- The patient will be provided with a post-operative kit containing essential items for the recovery process. Please follow the instructions provided in the kit.
- Follow the specific washing directions provided by your surgeon or medical team. Typically, you will be advised to start washing your hair gently after a specific period of time. Use a mild shampoo and lukewarm water to cleanse the transplanted area. Avoid rubbing or scratching the scalp vigorously.
Instructions After The Third Day Of Surgery
Be careful when wearing and removing clothes to avoid touching or injuring the new hair follicles. It is crucial to protect the transplanted grafts and promote proper healing.
Take the necessary medication as prescribed by your surgeon. Follow the prescribed medication as it is crucial for the recovery process and to prevent any complications.
Avoid consuming blood-thinning medications and drinks such as aspirin, green tea, alcohol, and Arabic coffee for at least ten days after the procedure. These substances can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of bleeding.
After three days of hair transplantation, scabs may appear on the scalp around the transplanted grafts. Do not touch or pick at the scabs as they will naturally fall off within ten days.
Direct sunlight is particularly damaging due to the UV rays. To protect your scalp, wear a hat whenever you are exposed to direct sunlight.
Itching during the recovery period is a normal sensation. However, it is important not to scrub or scratch your scalp, as this can disrupt the healing process and potentially damage the transplanted hair.
Wash your scalp twice a week with a special medicated shampoo. When washing your hair, use warm water. It helps maintain proper hygiene and promotes a healthy scalp environment.
Avoid swimming in a pool for at least a month and in the sea for at least three months. Harmful chemicals present in pools and seawater can cause scalp inflammation and compromise the healing process.
Natural hair follicles will gradually grow strong and continue to grow after six months. It is crucial to never use chemical creams or shampoos on your scalp, as they can be harmful and interfere with the growth of your transplanted hair. Stick to gentle and suitable hair care products.
Things To Consider Before Your Hair Transplant
Here are the key considerations before your hair transplant:
- Avoid using sprays, gels, mousses, or waxes on your hair before the transplant. These products can interfere with the surgical process and may need to be washed off, potentially affecting the success of the procedure.
- Choose comfortable clothing for the day of the surgery, including a shirt that does not need to be pulled over your head. It will help avoid unnecessary contact or friction with the transplanted area, ensuring a smooth healing process.
- If you enjoy listening to music, bring your music player along for your enjoyment during the procedure. It can help you relax and pass the time more comfortably.
- Take any daily medications as prescribed by your doctor on the day of the surgery. It is essential to follow your physician’s instructions regarding medication to ensure your safety and the success of the transplant.
- After the procedure, it is recommended to wait at least four weeks before resuming hair coloring. It allows sufficient time for the transplanted hair follicles to settle and heal properly, minimizing any potential damage or interference caused by hair coloring chemicals.