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Disease & Conditions >>> Hair Loss Articles & News



What To Expect Following Hair Transplant Surgery



By: William R. Rassman, M.D. and Robert M. Bernstein, M.D.

After your hair transplant procedure, you will be given written instructions that explain in detail how to care for your scalp until your return visit.

Prescriptions for medications may be given at that time (or before the procedure). Most doctors give their patients an analgesic such as Tylenol with codeine. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection.

Some doctors give medication to prevent swelling, although these have limited value. Tranquilizers and sleeping medications are prescribed to help the patient over the first few days of healing.

Immediately following surgery, your grafts are held in place by fibrin (the body's natural glue) produced by a chemical reaction in serum when the graft sites are made. The grafts are loosely held in place for the first 2-3 days and become fully secure at about the eighth day.

The hairs that are present in your new grafts usually fall out during the first 2-6 weeks after the procedure.

At this time, the patient will usually look just like he did before the transplant. Follicular Unit Transplantation is a relatively minor surgical procedure; most people recover in several days, and many return to work right away. Some discomfort generally exists in the donor site for a few days after the surgery.

The discomfort is best managed beyond the first day in most people with Tylenol (with or without codeine). Athletic activities should be restricted for 1-2 weeks. Some limited restrictions apply in the second week. Although we caution patients not to put undue stress on the donor area for several months, normal activity may be resumed 1-2 weeks after the procedure.

There are several different approaches to post-surgical treatment. The patient may leave with no bandage after the surgery or he may be given a small sweatband to keep pressure on the donor area.

The recipient area is left open or lightly covered. This enables the transplanted area to be exposed to the air for drying and healing.



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Patients often worry about the potential visibility of their new grafts. Scabs that tend to form on the scalp surface should be washed off as they accumulate for the first few days following the surgery.

With the very small sites used in Follicular Unit Transplantation, no new crusts will form after the second day. Other than the stubble of transplanted hair and some faint redness, the transplant should not be visible after the first week.

For those individuals who wash their transplanted grafts well, the full extent of the transplant looks and feels (in the days following the procedure) just like a five o'clock shadow.

Swelling of the forehead is present in 25% of people between the third and fifth day, but rarely lasts more than one day. Rarely, swelling of the eyelids occurs.




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