It should be plainly evident that patients must follow the doctor’s post-operative instructions if they wish to ensure an optimal recovery period while also continuing to nurture their hair transplant. Underscoring the importance of adhering to the post-operative instructions is the fact that the instructions are specifically designed to ensure that the hair transplant is barely detectable after just a few days and near-microscopic after seven to ten days. Patients should expect to receive medication at the time of the hair loss surgery for any incidences of swelling, but some patients may nonetheless experience swelling of the forehead, across the bridge of the nose and around the eyes. If this occurs, the swelling typically dissipates by the conclusion of the first week.
Patients will be instructed to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing on the day of the procedure in order to ensure that these clothes do not disturb the newly transplanted grafts when the patient takes off or puts on their clothes, with it being preferred that the clothing does not have to be put on or taken off over the patient’s head. Some hair transplant centers are located in Manila, Abu Dhabi and Dubai which are extremely hot countries, so these loose-fitting clothes will help with the heat as well. These instructions should be followed until the transplants have permanently taken root, which is typically the case after a period of 10 days has elapsed following the completion of the hair transplant session.
Patients may also be advised on whether or not they may wear any sort of head covering following the transplant session, with most recommending a loose-fitting cap that does not risk disturbing any of the new follicles in the recipient site. Once the new hairs have taken root on a permanent basis, the patient can largely choose to wear what they normally would. There are some additional factors relating to clothing to consider even after the first 10 days, but they are mostly cosmetic and should not have any effect on the final outcome of the hair transplant.
The newly transplanted hair starts to grow at around 10 weeks. It is long enough to be combed through in about 6 months and, in almost all cases, will be fully grown in at one year. In the post-operative months — before the new hair begins to grow — there may be some exfoliating of the patient’s original hair so that the surgical area may seem slightly thinner. This is a temporary circumstance and will be corrected when the new hair begins to grow. It should not be a reason for concern, but it may have an effect on the patient’s clothing choices or the frequency with which they choose to wear a cap.
It takes approximately seven to 10 days for the freshly implanted grafts to become permanently anchored in the recipient site. Any impairment or compression of the grafts during the first seven to 10 days before they become anchored in place may lead to permanent damage and cause an adverse effect on hair growth in the recipient site. It is therefore the case that most hair transplant surgeons recommend waiting seven to 10 days before wearing any type of cap that could restrict, move, or displace a graft. If the doctor allows a cap to be worn following the procedure, he or she will go over the most appropriate kinds of caps in order to reduce the risk of any damage to the grafts. These caps will surely have to be loose-fitting, as any other kind of cap is likely to compress or impair the grafts while they are still in the process of anchoring.
After the 10-day mark, the grafts should be permanently anchored. At this point in the healing process, no amount of wear or other form of contact with the transplanted grafts should cause any damage. Once the 10-day mark has passed, wearing a hat can be considered perfectly safe. It is nonetheless important to note that it is always best for the patient to confer with their doctor regarding any questions they may have, as this is the ideal method for ensuring the best possible results are achieved through the hair transplant procedure.
Any hair transplant procedure utilizing follicular units — including both FUE and FUT — leaves the patient with no scarring in the recipient sites. The incisions used to transplant each follicular unit are microscopic and therefore leave behind no visible scarring whatsoever. Despite the fact that neither FUE nor FUT leaves the patient with any scarring in the recipient site, the patient must exercise caution during the first 10 days or so following the completion of the transplant. Any scratching or picking at the grafts can irritate the recipient site and adversely affect the viability of the graft.
While there will be no visible scarring in the recipient site for patients undergoing the FUE or FUT procedures, the FUT procedure does leave behind a scar at the donor site that can be easily hidden or obscured through a variety methods. The most common method used by patients to hide this thin horizontal scar is to simply allow their naturally occurring hair to fall over the scar so that it is no longer visible.
The FUE procedure is designed to ensure there is no visible scarring in the donor area, so patients opting for FUE should not be concerned with hiding any scarring from the donor site. The FUT procedure does leave behind a thin horizontal scar at the donor site, but doctors take great care to orient this thin strip so that it is easily hidden by the patient’s remaining hair follicles. Many patients find that they cannot easily locate their own scar after they have fully healed and their transplanted hair has grown out completely. While patients undergoing FUE or FUT should not be concerned about having to figure out how to hide a visible scar following their procedure, there are other circumstances in which scar tissue is visible and cannot be covered by the patient’s existing hair.
Patients with visible scarring left behind due to poor healing or due to the use of outdated transplant procedures still have a number of other corrective options available to them. Current methods include scar revision (adjusting or changing the direction of a scar) as well as the implantation of donor follicles directly into the scar tissue. Cortisone injections are sometimes used to straighten or flatten any raised scar tissue, and dermal fillers can be utilized when the incision is set in or is concave in its appearance. Dermabrasion and fraxel laser repair techniques can also be used to address visible scarring, and a hair transplant surgeon is best suited to determine the most ideal course of corrective action for each individual patient.
Scalp micropigmentation is another option available to patients seeking to hide any visible scarring. This is a scar camouflage procedure that is becoming increasingly popular among patients, and in many cases it may be more appropriate than some of the most commonplace techniques. The scalp micropigmentation process can be further augmented through the use of dermal fillers or fraxel laser repair, as this can often lead to a smoother canvas with a decline in indentation or projection of the scar tissue. This makes any remaining scar tissue easier to hide utilizing scalp micropigmentation. This process is available at hair transplant centers in New York, Houston, California, Abu Dhabi and Manila.
The scar camouflage process is usually part of a broader plan designed according to the unique needs of the patient. Some patients opt for a full scalp micropigmentation treatment covering the entirety of their scalp as the concluding step of a longer process involving the aforementioned scar revision techniques. Patients should therefore take time to consider how effective scar camouflaging could be and should discuss their options with a hair transplant doctor before making their decision.