Taking the plunge to undergo hair transplant surgery can be a big step, but it’s one that an increasing number of individuals are opting for.
Although it may feel like a major decision, the procedure itself is normally painless and without complications, being classified as only minimally invasive and low risk.
However, unless you know what to expect, the recovery process can be somewhat surprising. Here’s a closer look at what happens following FUE hair transplant surgery.
FUE hair transplant surgery is amongst the most modern of techniques and delivers great results with the shortest recovery period. Nevertheless, it’s important to bear in mind that your follicles are being removed from one portion of your head and transplanted elsewhere, and there may be some temporary side effects.
With FUE, each follicle is removed individually, so there are a number of tiny incisions no more than a millimeter wide, unlike the tradition FUT hair transplant surgery where there’s a linear scar and sutures.
A punch device is used to remove the follicle; this is the most efficient process and also guarantees the least chance of visible scarring.
You will be able to see the shape of your new hairline immediately after the FUE transplant has taken place with the follicles implanted in their new position. However, visually it may not be as pleasing as you may have expected as there will be scabbing around each follicle.
Although the trauma to the donor site is minimal, there will be some side effects such as swelling. This is only temporary and will resolve within a matter of days. With certain other hair transplant techniques, such as FUT, there is a chance of developing numbness in the donor site. This is also temporary but can last several months before resolving.
You may have some minor tenderness or soreness at the graft implantation site.
The surgeon will give you advice about how best to take care of your transplant to maximise the chances of a successful result. This might include elevating your head when sleeping and restrictions on washing your hair or showering.
There’s no reason why you can’t go back to work straight away but realistically you may prefer to take around a week or so off. Any symptoms should resolve within 5-7 days and it gives the chance for your transplant to settle down.
Short to medium term
Around two weeks after your FUE surgery you may be horrified to discover your newly transplanted hairs are all falling out. Don’t worry, this is a normal part of the procedure and doesn’t mean that the grafts haven’t taken root.
The old hairs falling out are a natural and essential part of the life cycle and make way for new hairs to grow at the graft site.
Hair only grows around 1cm per month so it could take some time for your new hair to become visible and your hairline to start to resemble the result you were hoping for. After 4-5 months you should start to be getting a good idea of the final appearance but it can take as long as 18 months for the full hair transplant to be visible.
Once your new hairs have established themselves and are growing normally, you can treat your transplant area exactly the same as you would the rest of your follicles.
You can trim, cut, shave or clip the hairs as you choose without fear of doing any damage. A hair transplant is a permanent procedure and the results are lifelong.
An FUE hair transplant produces excellent, natural looking results and the recovery time is minimal and usually uncomplicated. Understanding what to expect can ensure there’s no panic when hairs fall out, or when it takes several months to get the glossy and thick head of hair you were hoping to achieve.
Image Credit: Dicky Martin