All over the world, thousands of people in a wide range of age groups undergo hair transplantation. Since the transplantation of hair is a surgical procedure, it is only natural that there are aspects to be careful about in the period following the surgery. Some extra caution and care can have a significant effect on achieving the best possible result after the procedure. Although the detailed information about post-operative care is given to each patient by the attending doctor; to enable the patients to form a general idea, our team at Victoria Bogart Hair has written this blog about the care after hair transplantation. We hope our patients find this blog useful in anticipating what to expect.
How is Hair Transplantation Surgery Performed?
Before elaborating on what to do after the hair transplantation surgery, it might be useful to summarize how this procedure is performed. To start, the type of hair transplantation surgery is decided on after an examination by the attending doctor, taking into consideration the patient’s specific type of hair loss and his/her wishes. Depending on the type of hair transplantation surgery that is used factors as the exact procedure and the duration of the surgery may differ. The duration of the actual surgery also depends on the number of grafts that have to be extracted from the patient. Generally, the actual surgery takes between 6 to 10 hours to perform. Usually the surgery is performed under local anesthesia or sedation. Then the lines to border the transplant area are drawn on the patient’s scalp. The next step is extracting the grafts from the donor area (usually just above the neck). Finally, the extracted grafts are implanted, using the previously determined technique.
What to Do and Not to Do After Hair Transplantation Surgery
After the surgery your attending doctor will provide you with detailed information about the precautions you should take for a best possible result. Since this is the period that the transplanted grafts adjust and root in their new place. Although we have to mention that the precautions can differ a bit, depending on the general health condition of the patient and the type of surgery that was used. We have prepared a general overview of the precautions to take care of after hair transplantation surgery.
1. The first 3 days after surgery
As can be expected, the care in the first few days after surgery is very important, since this is the period that the transplanted grafts adjust to their new environment. As after undergoing any medicinal procedure, the first thing to do is to take some rest. The other precautions to take during the first 3 days after surgery are :
- Spend some time at home and take the time to rest
- If you experience pain, take the pain medicine that was recommended by your attending doctor.
- You have to ensure that the newly transplanted hairs do not undergo any friction. To this point you have to be extra careful against bumps or impacts to the head.
- Monitor the intake of fluids. Make sure to drink at least 2 lt of water a day during this period.
- Even if you decide to go outside prefer the evenings, since your operated scalp tissue will be extra sensitive to the sun.
- Generally, you can start washing your hair at the 3rd day following surgery. The first 48 hours washing is prohibited. After these 48 hours have passed, the first washing of the scalp is done by the doctor and the medical team.
- The first 3 days it is advised to restrain from physical activities such as sport and sexual intercourse.
- You should make sure to sleep on your back, since the newly transplanted hairs would undergo friction if they touch the pillow!
- The patient should restrain from smoking as well as consuming tea, coffee and alcohol; since these products penetrate into the bloodstream and thus have a negative effect on the hair roots.
- The use of any pharmaceutical or herbal products such aspirin, gingko biloba, vitamin E that have a blood thinning effect is also prohibited during this period.
2. Precautions To Take From the 4th till 15th Days of Recovery
After the first 3 days have passed, the most critical period lies behind. Which means that from now on the patient can step by step start to resume his/her normal daily activities. This does not mean however, that caution is no longer advised. We have listed some of the cautions that should be taken during this period I the recovery:
- You should shield your head against rain or snow. The newly implanted hairs should not come in contact with rainwater.
- The patient should continue to restrain from heavy physical activities (just as in the first 3 days), but light activities such as walking are no longer prohibited.
- In this period, you should also restrain from getting your hair cut or dyed.
- While getting dressed and undressed, your garments can easily cause friction. Also, accessories as buttons or zippers can hit your scalp and cause trauma. Therefore, it is recommended to pay special attention to what you wear during this period. Prefer clothing with wide necks or tops that can be buttoned.
- Do not expose yourself to places with high temperature fluctuations such as sauna, hammam or solarium.
- In this period, you can start to wash your hair regularly. There is no problem with washing, but make sure to never dry your hair with a towel! Since this causes direct friction to the hair.
- In this period you will experience scabbing. make sure that these scabs fall off naturally and on their own. Do not scratch or pull them off.
- For the first week you should keep restraining the use of blood thinning products.
- You can recommence your normal working activities. The hair roots are not as vulnerable as the first few days. However, it is still recommended to take some rest.
Precautions Between the 16th and the 30th Day After Hair Transplantation
Generally spoken after the first 2 weeks, the vulnerable period is overcome and the implanted hairs are mostly adjusted. The 3rd and 4th week of the recovery are a bit more relaxed. There are still a few things to take into consideration though:
- Patient can recommence sexual activities from the 16th day on.
- It is still not recommended to restart heavy weight sports such as body building or weight lifting. This type of sports increases the pressure in the head and this causes a problem after hair transplantation surgery.
- The intake of alcohol is still prohibited in this period. It is also best not to smoke. But if the patient finds it nearly impossible to stay away from cigarettes, 2-3 smokes a day can be allowed.
- Since the risk of getting hit to the head by the ball is quite high, it is not recommended to start playing football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, water polo, tennis etc….
- Apart from walking, light tempo running (jogging) can be done in this time span.
- It is still prohibited to dye, cut or blow dry your hair.
- Patients should keep paying extra attention to their diet in this period. They can also take special supplements.
- You should still be careful not to inflict friction while washing and drying your hair.
- During the first month after hair transplantation you should also restrain from going into the sea and the pool.
Precautions Between 1st Month and 1st Year After Hair Transplantation
So far, we have explained what to take care of during the first month after hair transplantation surgery. Now we will proceed listing the cautions that should be taken during the first year:
- As of the end of the 2nd month heavier physical activities can be restarted.
- At the end of the first month, the implanted hairs are adequately attached. But when these hairs start to grow, they suddenly fall out. This is quite expected and nothing to worry about.
- Since dietary choices have a substantial influence on the result, it is highly recommended to keep paying attention to your diet.
- After the first month, you can start using your normal shampoo to wash your hair.
- Your doctor will advise you to use some special shampoos and hair care products (medicines even). Since these hair care products have a substantial effect on how your hair will look in the future, it is in your own interest to follow your doctor’s advice.
- At the end of the first year, your new hairs will have their final appearance.
- With our team at Victoria Bogart we have prepared this summary of the recovery during the first year after undergoing hair transplantation surgery. To start we have briefly explained the surgery itself. Afterwards we have chronologically listed the precautions to take during the first year after surgery. Hereby we would kindly like to remind you to feel free to contact us regarding any questions you might have about hair transplantation and wish you a pleasant day.