Hair transplant procedures have benefited significantly from advancements and innovations in both the technology and the procedures utilized by doctors, which has made it entirely reasonable for a patient to expect a result that vastly improves their hairline and restores a great deal of volume to areas in which hair density has been adversely affected by thinning hair. While a tremendous improvement in the appearance of the patient’s hair is to be expected, patients undergoing a hair transplant should understand that the complete restoration of the hairline of their youth is not necessarily a reasonable expectation.
During the initial consultation process, the doctor will discuss how to best achieve the client’s individual goals through the hair transplant process and will outline what the patient should expect before, during and after the transplant. The doctor will also discuss the various options available to the client and how those options may be of benefit in achieving the client’s personal hair transplant goals. In addition to developing the initial plan of action, the consultation will likely also include a discussion of each of the following topics:
- Preparing for the procedure
- Post-operative care strategies
- Expectations regarding hair regrowth
- Length of recovery necessary for each procedure
The patient should also expect the doctor to go into great detail regarding each individual procedure and will offer ample opportunity for the patient to pose any questions they may have about any aspect of the process. It should be a goal of the patient to leave the initial consultation feeling as though there is no knowledge gap regarding any aspect of the procedure selected.
How to Prepare for a Hair Transplant & what to Expect
Preparing for a hair transplant is fairly simple and straightforward for the patient, and the doctor will go to great lengths to ensure that the preparatory guidelines are absolutely clear so that the procedure is poised for the greatest degree of success possible. It is probably best for the patient to make arrangements to be transported from the clinic following the procedure, as some hair transplant options will include local anesthesia during the procedures and may possibly include pain medication to ease any discomfort experienced by the patient following the procedure’s completion. It is for this reason that it may not be the best idea to attempt to drive a vehicle following the procedure.
There are a number of other steps patients can take in advance of their scheduled procedure date to ensure the best possible outcome, particularly if the patient happens to be a smoker or a drinker. While it is not an absolute necessity, patients can increase the likelihood of their transplant procedure yielding a wholly positive outcome if they abstain from smoking and drinking during the recovery period, and this is much easier to accomplish if the patient works on giving these habits up before the procedure. Smoking or drinking following the procedure can lead to a variety of complications that may have an adverse effect on the final outcome of the hair transplant, so it should be clear that it is wise to follow this advice.
The doctor performing the procedure will likely provide specific and detailed instructions for the patient to follow, and strict adherence to any guidelines the doctor provides is necessary if the best possible result is to be realized. The nature of this advice may include specific dietary habits as well as guidelines concerning the patient’s activity levels in advance of the procedure, as there are a wide range of factors that can have an impact on the degree of success experienced by the patient.
How Long Does the Hair Take to Re-Grow?
Whether a patient chooses to undergo FUE or FUT, the general timeline of events following the procedure tends to be quite similar. After the initial transplant procedure, the patient should regard the transplanted hair follicles as temporary since they will fall out within a few weeks of the procedure. This is completely normal and is absolutely expected in each patient who undergoes a hair transplant, and the patient should also expect it to take about four months to begin seeing the new follicles grow in the area designated as the recipient site during the transplant procedure. Generally speaking, the patient should begin to have a clear idea of the level of success achieved through the hair transplant six months after the procedure’s completion, and the patient should be able to make a complete judgment of the outcome of the procedure once 12 months has passed following the initial transplant session.
This timeline may vary from patient to patient and may be affected by a number of factors both within and outside the patient’s control. Patients whose diet is lacking in certain nutrients may experience a period of time that is on the lengthier end of the spectrum when compared to patients whose diet is rich with the kind of nutrients often identified as responsible for stimulating hair growth. Other factors that influence the length of time may simply be genetic and therefore beyond the patient’s locus of control, but it is nonetheless the case that patients can expect initial regrowth to take place after about four months, with the ultimate result of the procedure visible somewhere between six and 12 months.
How Long Is the Recovery Period After a Hair Transplant?
The recovery period following a hair transplant is entirely dependent on the type of hair transplant procedure the patient selects. One of the main advantages of the FUE procedure is the fact that it features a shorter recovery period than the traditional FUT procedure. While FUE may require multiple sessions to achieve the density a patient is seeking, the recovery period is so rapid that these sessions can be performed on back-to-back days. The FUT procedure, on the other hand, involves more time for a full recovery and may require the patient to relax for several days following the procedure.
Generally speaking, the FUE procedure requires a relatively brief recovery period in which the patient merely needs to take it easy for just a few days following the procedure. After a day or two, the patient can begin returning to normal activity without any concern regarding any potential negative impact on the transplant. As for the FUT procedure, the recovery time is a bit lengthier, and it is typically recommended that patients who opt for FUT plan on taking a day or two off from work after the completion of the procedure.
Patients seeking multiple hair transplant sessions out of a desire to achieve significant follicular volume should also understand the differences between FUE and FUT in this regard. The FUE procedure limits the total number of grafts that can be transplanted in a single session, but sessions can be completed on consecutive days due to the brief recovery period. Patients undergoing FUT will be able to achieve a greater follicular unit density in a single session, but they will also have to wait six months or so before undergoing a second session if they are seeking a great deal of volume and have the requisite number of grafts available in the donor site.
What Are the Post-Operative Precautions to Take After a Hair Transplant?
In order to ensure the greatest possible level of success through the hair transplantation process, it is absolutely critical for the patient to take post-operative care very seriously. The donor and recipient sites will likely be subject to some degree of swelling and the skin itself will be quite sensitive in the days following the procedure. To expect a hair transplant late in the healing process, patients must take great care to protect their scalp and to remain attentive to the specific directions outlined by the doctor who performed the procedure.
In the days immediately following a hair transplant, many patients make use of a loose-fitting hat to protect their scalp. A tight-fitting hat will be somewhat counterproductive, as part of the rationale behind wearing a hat is to reduce the possibility of trauma to the follicles caused by contact or excessive rubbing. Once the skin is sufficiently healed after the initial procedure, the patient can shift away from the hat but must continue to protect the still-sensitive skin with the appropriate amount of sunscreen whenever they venture outdoors for any period of time.
Of course, the patient will also need to be careful to avoid scratching or otherwise rubbing the newly transplanted grafts, as doing so may cause some degree of unnecessary trauma. While caution should be exercised in the early stages following the transplant procedure, it is worth noting that the transplanted follicular units are surprisingly durable on a near-immediate basis. It is simply important to take every precaution available in order to ensure the best possible result through the hair transplant process.
What Kind of Results Are Reasonable to Expect?
Through the use of advanced technology and highly precise transplantation techniques, hair transplant doctors are able to achieve impressive and exceptional results for patients experiencing hair loss or signs of thinning hair. Even though hair transplant doctors are capable of delivering consistently impressive outcomes for their patients, it is nonetheless important for patients to understand that there are limitations in terms of what is possible through a hair transplant.
This is a subject that should be discussed between the doctor and the patient during the consultation process, and setting appropriate expectations is one of the most important steps a patient can take during the hair transplant process. This is not to say that a great, natural-looking result is not possible. In fact the opposite is true, as hair transplant doctors take great care to ensure their patients enjoy a hair restoration that is not readily detected once the procedure has been entirely completed.
There is a great deal that an outstanding hair transplant surgeon can accomplish while utilizing the FUE or FUT procedure, but most procedures achieve adequate coverage of the balding areas by transplanting somewhere in the range of 25 percent of the number of follicles that were once present in the area. The result is a dramatically improved appearance for the client, but it is not often that the original hair density level can be restored to its original amount. As most doctors would likely point out, such an effort would be largely unnecessary.