Your Hair Transplant Recovery

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Vancouver Travel Guide | 0 comments

A guide for UK patients traveling for a hair transplant at Hasson & Wong.

 

 

Index

  1. Staples
  2. Exercise
  3. Shedding
  4. Shock Loss
  5. Return To Work
  6. Growth Timeline
  7. Patience
  8. Final Results

1. Staples

Patients have reported it is uncomfortable to lay directly on the staples whilst sleeping and this is certainly true so staples out on day 14 is one to look forward to. I have had mixed opinions on the staple removal itself some patients reported none to little pain on the odd staple which may be touching a nerve to some saying it was painful. My experience after having them removed 3 separate times now and removing them for someone was that a few did really hurt but most came out fine without any pain.

My advice would be to wash the hair and soak in a warm bath for 10-20 mins this will loosen up any crusts and scabs that may be remaining on the scar line. If the person who is taking that out is right handed get them to start on the right hand side first staple nearest your temple that way you can slide the staple removal tool underneath the staple easier rather than coming at it from a higher angle (if that makes sense) lift the staple slightly and squeeze the staple to reform it and then lift straight out. If you want to take a paracetamol before doing this then that will help with the pain. There are quite a few staples but once your staple removee gets the hang of it all should be done within 20-30 minutes. Some of the staple holes will bleed for a moment of so.

Once the staples are out you may experience a little pain for a short time in a certain area of the scalp. You will notice the scar is red and the so are the staple holes, these holes will scab and I would suggest soaking the head again the following day to get as much of the remaining scabs away from this area.

2.Exercise

So with the staples out you should find sleeping more comfortable although the scar will still be tender to touch when washing this area. As mentioned earlier this will gradually improve but will take 4-5 months for the scar to fully heal and change colour, the tissue under the scar needs to heal and fill out so if you scar feels a little raised or even sunk it will work itself out once the tissue underneath has healed. This is why heavy weights should be avoided for 4-6 months, lighter weights should be ok to start from this stage and running, cycling, general gym work but take it easy and work your way back into it, and your body will tell you if you have overdone it.

If you are into lifting weights or have a physical job then start with light weights and more repetition and work your way up, if you feel any pulling at the scar line then stop, you don’t want to stretch that scar. As for contact sports such as football I would recommend leaving this for another 2 weeks.

Shedding

Shedding

3.Shedding-

Some of your grafts would have come out around 7-10 days when you started washing the hair the rest will start to shed from 2-4 weeks. Some hairs will look a little strange the hair bulb may be discoloured and black in colour, or the hair may be bent to a 90 degree angle and some will just come out very short with no hair bulb. Not all the grafts shed and some patient’s report some continue to grow, eventually they will shed though. It appears that they have grown from the day one and the hair is longer this is them working the way out of your scalp in most cases. I found that I have a massive shed on washing my hair on day 25 so between 3-4 weeks, my scalp still felt dry and flaky at this time.

4.Shock Loss

Temporary shock loss can occur in both the donor and recipient area it is rare but does happen, in both cases the hair is shocked and goes into its resting state and takes 3-4 months to return. In the recipient area it can be noticed by the native hair not growing or returning as quickly as expected and the resulting few months to look thinner than the pre op state. In the donor area it can occur when the closure is tight and hair below the scar line falls out leaving sometimes this area thinner or bald in some cases of shock loss. As frightening as it may be do rest assure that it will regrow in the coming 3-5 months. If you do suffer from shock loss around the scar a very good product is Courve it comes in different colours and can be carefully applied to the area concerned. Here is the link to the website.

 http://www2.hair123.co.uk/acatalog/couvre.html

Permanent shock loss can occur to the weak fine hair that is not providing any cosmetic benefit.

5.Return to Work

Probably the most common question is when I can return to work and hide it from my colleagues. If you have the luxury of being able to wear a hat you could return after your hair transplant to work in a little as a few days however you may have some swelling day 3-5 so it might be advised to take a week from work. If you don’t have the luxury of the hat then I recommend 2 weeks would be good to take off, if you can get more then do so. This will allow for the staples to come out, the hair around this area will cover it and you would have been able to get a haircut to even up the sides and back. You can get a haircut 3-5 days post op and do this remember if you need to hide the scar keep the hair long enough to do this. If you are staying in Vancouver Michelle at the clinic does a fine job in haircuts and will happily oblige.

So with the hair at the sides and back shorter and looking much neater the recipient area should be clean of all the scabs and crusts, however in pale skinned patients they will be some lingering pinkness again this depends on the skin tone and healing of the patient and of course the density of the grafts placed. Most patients won’t have lingering pinkness but some will and in some cases this can last up to 6 months. It can be disguised with applying some foundation, you should ask your wife or girlfriend to show you how to apply it but done well it works wonders.

I had very little lingering pinkness from my surgery and after 2 weeks with the newly transplanted hairs it looked like a short buzz cut. Some people grow a beard in this post op period to deflect the attention off the top of their scalp to the beard, you will be surprised how many people will comment on the beard in my experience and I did exactly this for my last surgery. If the recipient is very red then applying aloe vera gel 10 days post op will help with this.

Some patients like to use Nanogen fibres or Toppik, these products cling to the hair to give a much fuller look and can be used to good effect in both the donor and recipient areas for the post op period. These can be used after the first week to 2 weeks if required, it is important to wash this product out of your hair every night so it does not clog on your scalp and restrict healing.

For patients who only get hairline work carried out you can grow your hair longer before the surgery and brush the hair style forward to cover the recipient area post op. Whichever you do you might want to try this hairstyle at work before you go for surgery so people get used to this new style.

Grow A Beard!

Grow A Beard!

6.Growth Timeline

Again I have seen many different opinions on this subject but as a guide from my experiences and every patient is different, some are lucky to see new growth as early as 3 months and they can look better than their pre op status by then. Others have to play the waiting game and take around 4-5 months to start to see significant new growth. Some people swear by taking the supplement MSM which is supposed to promote hair and nail growth, it is cheap to buy and might be worth trying.

For patients that have had previous surgery elsewhere and have scar tissue in their recipient area then growth can sometimes take longer to show. The key is to be patient and not scrutinize your hair on a daily basis as it will not help it grow any quicker.

Keeping a shorter hairstyle for the first few months is a good idea whilst the existing native hair grows and the new growth comes in.

2-4 weeks – Most of the newly transplanted will fall. Not all will some continue to grow but eventually they will shed and go into the resting phase.

3-5 months New hairs will start to appear these hairs will come in finer than usual in some cases and may grow in wiry or kinky, don’t worry they will mature and thicken once they have gone through a few of the growth phases.

8-9 months Most of the hair will have grown in by now in most patients although improvements will be seen after this stage.

12 months your final result will be seen in most cases although see below.

18 months the hair will change from 12-18 months as the hair matures and thickens, some patients notice a nice improvement during this time.

7.Patience

Patience is needed when waiting for a hair transplant to grow in, The first few months are called the ugly duckling stage for a reason, the excitement of seeing the new hairs before they shed and imagining how it will look in a years’ time will soon turn to disappointment once the newly transplanted hairs fall out and you are waiting for either the new hairs to appear or your existing native hair to grow in or both.

Checking in the mirror on a daily basis will not help and if possible you should put the whole thing on the back burner for 4 months, observe the post op instructions and look forward to the new hair but sitting watching for it to come in will drive you mad. Take monthly photos under the same lighting in the same room and save them to review your progress. Many patients don’t notice the improvements on a monthly basis and taking photos helps you see the difference. Hair grows painfully slow and you can’t notice it day by day or week by week.

The new hairs can grow in wiry with the angles misplaced and you will notice little balls of skin on your scalp from time to time. Many patients get pimples as the hair is trying to break through the skin. Itching can occur and however tempting it might be do avoid itching your scalp as much as possible and avoid touching the area to feel if new hairs are coming through if you have to then make sure your hands are clean.

As mentioned before growth comes through at different times and if you take good quality regular photos from all angles you will notice the difference month by month that you won’t see in the mirror. If you are finding it difficult to take decent photos and would rather not ask someone to do it for you then invest in a cheap tripod, this will enable you to set your camera up and take some self-timer pictures, it is amazing how much better they look.

8.Final Results

Once you have your final results you will have to know how best to style your hair, many patients who have no or very little hair for some time have forgotten how to style their hair and either style it badly wear it the wrong length or try to style it like they used to before they went bald. Invest the money to see a decent barber and ask for their opinion, be honest and say you have had a transplant and see what they think would work best. Avoid too much product and aim for the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of length too short and too much scalp will be visible and too long and the hairs can clump together and again scalp will become visible.

For those with extensive hair loss your hair transplant will obviously not be as dense as it used to be and is best at a certain length for the hairs to layer over one another to create the illusion of density. Your hair will look better if styled properly and the right length for your density. You will not believe the number of great transplants we have seen but with the patient having no idea what to do with their new hair.

Finally Enjoy your new hair!

 

Travel Guide Links