Hair Transplant Healing & Growth

post-hair-transplant-care
Hair Transplant Healing

Dependent on the size of the procedure healing will differ. From small hairline work to large mega sessions. Small procedures can sometimes be hidden under a carefully styled fringe. Larger procedures are harder to hide unless under a hat of some kind.

A crucial stage in healing is the first few days.  The grafts could easily be dislodged. Be careful not to touch, scratch or wash your hair too aggressively.  The following days the skin dries out leaving a thin crust. You will need to gently wash your hair to break down the crust. As you apply more pressure the crusts will lift off.

Grafted hairs also come loose with washing. This is normal and part of the natural healing process.

By two weeks post-op, your scalp should be clean. Clear of any scabs or crusting. You are left with some transplanted hairs and the skin looking a little red. The redness will fade with time.  Emollients like aloe vera or vitamin E oil can help to reduce the look of the redness.

Take care not to expose your scalp to harsh sunlight or sunburn. Also with chlorinated water in swimming pools. If you have any doubts contact the clinic and ask for advice.
Caring For Your Donor Area

The same applies to the donor area, this must be kept clean and washed regularly.

With FUT the suture needs to be removed around the 10 to 14-days post-op. There can be no signs of dried skin or scabs otherwise the doctor may not be able to remove. FUE, the small extraction holes close and start to fade relatively fast. The donor hair starts to regrow over the first weeks.  As a result, the wounds will become less obvious.

Healing is an important factor of a hair transplant result. Work issues, friends/family and just getting out and about without feeling too conscious of how you look.

Healing can be affected by many factors.  Wound size and the number of wounds. Natural skin-healing characteristics and post-operative wound care. The healing process can vary around the scalp. From scalp donor to recipient, to scar tissue to body/beard areas. The healing process may vary in different body areas on the same person.  Similarly, the healing may differ in different people depending on their skin types.

Important Considerations After Your Hair Transplant

Sleeping Position:

The first few days it helps to sleep in a slightly upright position in bed.  Ideally, place your upper body is at a 45-degree angle. Pillows can help to prop you up. This will help to reduce the effects of swelling and graft damage.

Swelling:

Swelling is a side effect of a hair transplant.  It will reduce naturally over a period of three to four days. Sleeping position, the use of an ice pack and no long walks will help.

Shock loss:

This is rare but is a side effect of a hair transplant.  Can occur in the recipient and the donor areas.  If you have a concern contact your Clinic.

Alcohol, Smoking, Sexual Activity:

Avoid alcohol, smoking and sexual activity for the first three days postoperative.

Exercise:

Although a hair transplant is considered a minor surgical procedure you should still rest and refrain from heavy exercise postoperatively. This will vary depending on the FUE or FUT hair transplant technique and you need to follow the instructions from your Doctor.

Sun:

Keep the recipient area covered and avoid direct sun exposure for the first 15 days, but care should be taken for the first 6 months to not burn your scalp.

Swimming Pool:

Avoid chlorinated water for the first three months, natural or salt/sea water gentle swimming after one month can be resumed.

Numbness:

This can be due to the severing of the small nerves during the procedure; this is nothing to be concerned about and temporary; in some cases, it may last a period of a couple of months as the nerve receptors repair themselves.

Hair Growth Stages

hair transplant growth graph

Hair transplant growth is slow and progressive. After healing the hair enters the growth cycles. The transplanted hair shed by around thirty days post-operative.

The hair begins to regrow three months later and over the following months more grows and matures. It is common for the hair to change in colour and texture as it matures and although the majority of hair growth is achieved at twelve months a full result can take eighteen months.

Monthly Growth rate post op (Virgin Scalp Approximates):
  • One:           Grafted hair falls out and goes into a resting phase
  • Three:        Regrowth of grafted hair starts 15-20% yield being common
  • Six:              Overall improvement in the quality and amount of HT hair growing with 40-60%
  • Nine:          60-80% regrowth, in some cases higher

Usually, by month twelve all the expected yield has grown but the hair can continue to mature in quality.

Repair cases, these figures can vary. Due to the complicated nature of the procedure. Previous operation/s having caused damage to the recipient and donor areas.

Skin Healing

A study report in 1975 by Dr. Fitzpatrick helped to classify variants in skin healing and developed a classification system for skins. The classification is also useful in body hair transplant to predict the course that the healing will follow; a brief outline below of Dr. Fitzpatrick‟s Skin 1 and 2 classifications:

Skin type 1- Extremely fair skin (always burns on exces- sive exposure to sunlight but never tans).

Skin type 2- Fair skin (always burns and sometimes tans).

An outline of the healing process for Skin type 1, 2 and 3 as an example during the healing phase,

Redness (erythema) that gradually diminishes to spots, white scarring, depending on various factors the complete healing may take from 4 to 18 months. Rarely 24 months. The more melanocytes (pigment-producing cells), the greater the chance of transient hyperpigmentation in the healing phase. Those with the skin types 3 and 4 (and maybe 2), may follow any of the above 2 patterns of healing.

Under considered conditions this references gives an idea of the healing process involved and what the skin goes through over the days, weeks and months before it is truly healed; obviously it does not take into consideration changes in the healing process possibly caused by not following instructions and how it may elongate areas of healing, making this irrelevant.

The healing process of the body areas is significantly different than the scalp. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or dark spots too are hardly ever an issue in the scalp donor area. One of the determining factors may be the larger number of sebaceous glands in scalp donor area compared to other body donor areas. Different body donor areas may differ in their healing processes. The healing process may take different durations on different body areas of the same person even when the very same protocol is used. Similarly, the healing may differ in different people depending on their skin type.

Dr. Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classification:

Skin type 1- Extremely fair skin (it always burns on excessive exposure to sunlight but never tans).

Skin type 2- Fair skin (always burns and sometimes tans).

Skin type 3- Medium skin (sometimes burns, always tans).

Skin type 4- Olives skin (Rarely burns, but always tans).

Skin type 5- Moderately pigmented Brown skin (never burns, but always tans).

Skin type 6- Markedly pigmented black skin (never burns
but always tans)


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