What to expect from a hair transplant surgery?

You have been examined and qualified as a hair transplant candidate. The doctor has informed you of the potential problems and has made it clear this is a cosmetic surgical procedure. And of course you have the means to pay for the costs of the procedure and any follow up visits required.

So what are the reasonable expectations you should have from the procedure and the surgery as a whole?

First, let’s discuss the post-surgery results. You will be wearing a surgical dressing over your head for a couple of days, minimum. It is likely your scalp will be very sore and tender, particularly in the grafted areas. The doctor may prescribe specific pain medication to reduce the level of discomfort. Along with the pain medication, it is also likely the doctor will prescribe some type of antibiotic as a precaution against any possible infection, and/or medication to reduce any post-surgical inflammation. You will have to take these medications for a period of between 7 and 10 days.

Patients are generally able to return to work within a week, depending on the particular situation. Between two and three weeks after the surgery, the transplanted hair will fall out! Do not despair, this is a normal occurrence of the process. The new hair growth should begin to be visible in about three months or sooner. The average hair transplant patient starts seeing definite results somewhere between six and nine months after the completion of the surgery.

“Definite results” are noticing that 60 percent of the transplanted hair has been accepted and shows noticeable, normal looking growth. After that, it only gets better.

The patient’s responsibility for cleaning and monitoring their hair after surgery is essential to minimize potential problems and to restore a healthy look to their hair. In the first couple of days, there will be some scabbing on the scalp where the grafts were restored. After the third day, this should mostly have stopped.

The first visit to the doctor after the surgery will generally take place one week after the hair transplant. Here is where the doctor will be looking for both the progress of the procedure and any early potential problems. Most of the soreness and numbness that accompanied the procedure should be abated by this first visit.

The stages of hair regrowth – the hair transplant falling out followed by the beginning of new hair growth within a six month period – should be problem free. After eight months the new hair should be able to be carefully groomed, though it will be thin at first. As the hair continues to permanently set, it will grow thicker over time.

Once the elapsed time for the hair transplant is completed, a second visit to the doctor will be scheduled to evaluate the possibility of having a second hair transplant procedure done. Not all hair transplant procedures can be performed in a single setting. Your doctor will be the one to best determine this based on the progress of the initial hair transplant.

At the end of two years, the transplanted hair looks like the normal, natural hair with the same texture and thickness. If no additional transplants are required, you can begin returning to a fully normal lifestyle with a renewed confidence in your appearance and attitude.

At the beginning of this section, the issue of “reasonable expectations” was mentioned. Because this is a cosmetic procedure, personal satisfaction of the procedure will be subjective. Everyone is different, and while many patients are very satisfied with the results of the hair transplant, there are those who despite being good candidates will simply not have good results from the surgery. One potential problem is a patchy hair pattern that will not look natural.

Should your situation have unsatisfactory results, it is best to discuss the reasons why with your doctor. There may be alternative treatments that, while not being able to attain the expected highest level of satisfaction, may be a suitable alternative.

A few of the potential post-surgery problems were mentioned earlier. Additional detail will be provided here to make you aware that hair transplantation is a surgical procedure and that the patient is fully responsible to report to the doctor any problems or unusual events during the recovery period. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks the patient should realize.

One of the normal stages of hair regrowth is loss of the transplanted hair. However, it is also possible that death of the hair follicles after being transplanted can occur, resulting in no new hair growth.

Where there is bleeding there is always the possibility of infection. If there is excessive bleeding, the potential is greater. Post operation infection is always a possibility, and while it is successfully treated in most cases, the health, dietary habits, and prescription medication of the patient can contribute to complications. When significant changes in diet, general health, or over the counter or prescription drugs are made, notify your doctor immediately to minimize the possibility of complications.