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What to expect after Hair Transplant Surgery

For many of our patients a hair transplant might be their first elective procedure. They can understandably be quite anxious about what they might look like after surgery, whether or not people will notice and when they can go back to work.

    I find that one of the main questions our patients have is when can i go back to work, and will I have to turn up to engagements looking like someone who has just had invasive surgery.

    ‘The thought of a hair transplant can be quite intimidating: the cost, the pain, the time off work, how long to wait before having one, where to get it done.’

    Jeremy Langmead – The Times Newspaper.

    I’m happy to say that 90% of our patients are pleasantly surprised. It’s not invasive, they talk to their wife whilst having surgery and they are back at work in a week, with little scarring after week two.

    Aftercare starts from when we hand you the mirrors at the end of the day and you take a look at your restored hairline / crown.

    You will see hundreds of tiny grafts positioned accordingly and it is important to remember that they are very delicate for the first 5 days. A light dressing will be applied and I will go through all of the postoperative instructions with you.

    ‘The healing process so much easier than I imagined. What Dr Chris D’Souza has achieved is already looking miraculous.’

    Everything you need to ensure the best result will be given to you in our care pack. After we have gone through the postoperative instructions together I will give you my mobile number in case any questions pop up.

    We don’t recommend taking public transport as the grafts are very delicate so if possible either try to be picked up or we can arrange a taxi for you.

    Once you get back home you will remove the dressings and start to spray the grafts with saline, it is important to keep the grafts hydrated for the first 5 days. You will also have been given a couple of medications, co-codamol (a painkiller) and prednisolone (a steroid to reduce swelling and inflammation) to go home with.

    Painkillers may be needed for a day or two

    We advise our patients to take the painkillers regularly for the first couple of days, but after that they are usually no longer required.

    After Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) the sensation after surgery is usually described as bad sunburn and with Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) the back of the head can ache slightly and feel a bit tighter than usual.

    In both cases as things start to heal patients often report that the scalp starts to feel a bit itchy, this is completely normal and will pass.

    Swelling disappears by day 5

    It is normal for there to be a certain amount of swelling postoperatively.

    ‘Unexpectedly, the procedure was painless. A local anaesthetic was used and I honestly didn’t feel a thing.’

    In our experience this varies from person to person, the size of the case and the amount of anaesthetic used during the day.

    We take measures during and after your surgery to minimise the amount of swelling, however in some cases there can still be a signifiant amount.

    The swelling should resolve by day 5, which is why we advise our patients to take at least 5 days off work.

    Redness fades by day 5

    It is normal there to be some redness after surgery. The amount of redness and how visible it is will depend on the size of the case, the presence of existing hair and your skin type.

    Redness will fade by day 5 after surgery, but can linger in those with very fair skin.

    It is important not to get too much sun for the first 3-4 months as this can aggravate the newly transplanted area.

    If you are going away then sunscreen can be used from 2 weeks after surgery, but a hat is always better.

    Use a neck pillow to help get a good nights sleep

    When it comes to sleeping use a neck pillow for the first 5 nights.

    This stops the head from rocking around in the middle of the night. The grafts are very delicate for the first 5 days and using the neck pillow during this time will help protect them.

    We will give you a hair wash programme

    Your first hair wash is at 24 hours and for the first 5 days is described as a ‘no-contact cup wash’. This means not touching the grafts with your fingertips and not using the shower head directly, but simply pouring over a few pints of soapy water, then a few pints of clean water to rinse through.

    From day 6 after surgery you will start to do the first hands-on hair wash and after day 14 you will have gone back to washing your hair normally.

    For most patients the tiny crusts which will appear in the first week will start to fall away from day 10-12, with not much to see by day 14.

    Christopher’s advice

    Ideally you will be at home for the first 5 days after surgery, keeping the grafts hydrated with the saline spray. Redness and swelling should have gone by day 5 and the little crusts should have gone by day 10-12.

    Lots of people go back to work after 1 week, but 2 weeks off is ideal if you don’t want anyone to know.

    Be assured that the recovery process is not complicated and nearly all of our patients are surprised at how straightforward the process is.

    If you would like to arrange a consultation to discuss possible treatments please get in touch on 0207 770 6538 or reception@thedsouzaclinic.com.

    Mr. Christopher D’Souza MBBS MSc MRCS

    Hair Transplant Surgeon & Medical Director

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