Opting for a hair transplant is a major decision that needs careful consideration and plenty of care and attention, both before and after the event. It is, after all, a surgical procedure and something that requires medical input and specialist support. Just like any operation, there is plenty that you can do before and afterwards to ensure the best possible results and, of course, the fastest, most effective recovery. Here are some tips to help with your hair transplant before and after.
Advice to follow before a hair transplant
As with any surgery, the time leading up to your operation date is an important part of the entire process. Take it easy in the days before your procedure and avoid doing too much or taking on too much stress. Avoid alcohol and eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins to boost your body’s healing capacities. Follow medical advice regarding any medicines or supplements you are already on and do not smoke in the week before the procedure. The aim is to boost your blood flow to and from your scalp before and after hair transplant to aid healing, post-operation.
On the day of your hair transplant, wash your body and hair thoroughly using your usual products. Towel or blow-dry your hair and do not apply any hair styling products afterwards. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and leave any jewellery or valuables that you do not need to wear at home, such as a chain, bracelet or watch. Make sure you eat breakfast and drink plenty of water.
Arrive at the clinic or hospital in plenty of time to avoid feeling stressed or missing your time slot. You will not be able to drive yourself home afterwards, so arrange for someone to give you a lift or book a cab for a safe journey back home. It is wise to bring someone with you to accompany you for the day – indeed many places will insist upon this as a condition of doing the hair transplant.
Hair transplant aftercare
Following your procedure, there are several pieces of advice to follow to help speed up recovery and maximise the chances of the transplant being successful. The first week’s after-care is the most important to observe as the wounds from the surgery are still fresh and more susceptible to injury and infection.
The main thing to remember is to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on the newly implanted hair grafts. Putting them under too much strain may cause damage to them and lead to even greater hair loss further down the line. Do not wash your hair or head for the first couple of days following the procedure and sleep in an upright position. Use two or more pillows to support your head and aid sleep, or use a recliner chair instead of a bed to keep your body in the best position. Sleeping in an elevated way like this will help reduce any post-operative swelling and allow blood to flow freely to and from the scalp. Try not to bend over too much in the first few days to avoid blood rushing to your head.
After the first couple of days, you can wash your hair, but do so gently, using a mild shampoo and warm water, not hot. Carry on with this routine for two more weeks and check with your physician before returning to a more rigorous hair washing regime. Brush and comb your hair with care, taking extra care to untangle any knots slowly and cautiously. If you do experience any bleeding from your new hair transplant grafts, apply light pressure to the area with some clean, lint-free gauze for around five to ten minutes. Seek medical help immediately if the bleeding does not stop quickly. Try to avoid touching any scabs to help them heal properly. Cover your head when out in direct sunlight for the next few months to prevent damage to the healing patches.
Finally, take any medication that you have been prescribed and make sure you are aware of any possible side effects. Again, seek emergency help if you start to feel unwell as a result of this. Any stitches you may have needed will be removed by your surgeon around two weeks after the procedure. Avoid strenuous activity for the first few weeks and cut down or eliminate alcohol from your diet, as too much can cause thinning of the blood in some people.
You should start to see improvements in hair density by four to eight weeks, with growth becoming more noticeable after four to six months.