Some people are concerned about how they will look after the procedure. Since hair restoration is a minor form of surgery, directly following the procedure it may be possible to return to normal activities fairly quickly, but we do recommend resting during the day of the procedure.
During the days following the procedure, the patient can return to work and recreational activities. We recommend refraining from strenuous activities such as weight lifting, racquet ball or tennis for a week or two to avoid accidentally damaging the grafts. The hair can and should be washed gently with the fingers and a very mild shampoo.
After a few days, the redness will subside at the top of the head and the grafts will blend in with the existing hair.
During the first 1 to 3 weeks, new hairs will appear to be growing quickly. This in actuality represents the beginning of a phase known as “shedding,” the time when the hair follicles actually go dormant.
Following transplant surgery, the hair follicles go into shock, or a dormant phase. This is normal, expected and predictable. This phase typically lasts 3 to 6 months so you will not begin to see new hair growth until the follicle moves out of this phase and onto the next growth phase. Many patients get anxious waiting to see if the transplant was successful. However, if you know that this “shedding” is typical and normal it sometimes eases anxiety.
Typically, hair growth starts within 2 to 4 months. Hair growth occurs in cycles, with each cycle starting a few days or weeks from the previous cycle. Initial hair growth produces a smaller than usual shaft. This changes as the hair reaches about 1/2 inch in length. Most men actually prefer this slower hair growth process because it makes any change subtle and less obvious.
By 6 months, most people can see the effect of the process, and by 12 months, the growth and bulk will have reached 90% of its total growth. Hair can, and sometimes does, continue to mature for as long as another 24 months following surgery. For this reason, we advise patients to not evaluate the results until a full year has passed.
Surgical healing is also fairly fast. Within 1 to 2 weeks the specific sites that received donor “hairs” have healed. However, it might take many months for the hair to regain full strength.
About half of our patients see results on the crown area within the first 1 to 2 weeks. And even when they do, the hair is just barely visible.
If you have previously had a Follicular Unit Transplantation, your previous obvious scars can make you skeptical about what to expect with our procedure. If this is the case, we strongly urge you to speak with a patient of ours who is one or two weeks post surgery and ask them about their experiences. Most patients are all too glad to share their experiences and help you decide if this procedure is right for you.