How Long It Takes to Heal After a Hair Transplant Operation?

The care in the healing process after the hair transplantation process is as important as the sensitivity during hair transplantation operation. During this process, the patient should take great care about what to do and what to avoid. He/she should not do anything without consulting his/her doctor. The success of the hair transplantation operation and the healthy growth of the hair are directly affected by the healing process of the patient after the hair transplantation.

After the planting, the planting area is not covered by any dressing and left open. The reason for this is to allow the treated area to easily form scabs and continue to feed and protect the hair follicles. For this reason, it should be watched out that the area where the planting is done should not be contacted anywhere for 1 week. Any action that increases or triggers blood circulation should be avoided. During this time, public transport such as crowded buses and subways should not be used. During the first 1 week after the hair transplantation, accessories such as hats and caps should not be used as well.

The patient should sleep half-sitting to prevent swelling in the face and forehead for the first 2 days. It is also important that the patient does not bend his head for any reason for the first 1 to 2 days. In this case, blood circulation may be disturbed in the region because of the downward movement. Because the hair follicles are fed with blood, any activity that will accelerate the circulation should be avoided. These activities may include sports, heavy work tempo, sexual intercourse, and heavy housework. Consumption of alcoholic beverages during the first 3 – 4 days accelerates blood circulation and causes negative consequences too.

In the first 48 hours, Aspirin and other blood thinners should not be taken. Pain relief antibiotics and anti-edema medicines to be used should be taken in accordance with the prescription. The first day following the hair transplantation, it is normal for the grafts to be leaked. On the next day of hair transplantation, you can go to the institution where control and dressing will be done. The first wash after hair transplantation is done within 1- 2 days.

Shampoo is not used immediately because the area where hair transplantation is done in the first wash is very sensitive. This wash is done with a bubbling antiseptic substance. The most important point in the first wash is to explain how the patient will do the washing for the first 10 days. From the day after hair transplantation, scabs are formed on the grafts in the hair transplant area. This situation is normal. These shells fall spontaneously over a period of 10 days, with repeated washings. In the first 10 days, the patient should take care of the washing.

The fertile area where the grafts are collected will recover within a period of 4 to 5 days. Most of the planted hair begins to be shed temporarily 7 – 10 days after the operation. It may take up to 1 month for this hair to be shed. This is normal. It is known as shock hair loss. All of these hairs start to grow permanently after a few months.

Recovery After Hair Transplantation Day by Day

People who decide to undergo hair transplant surgery often wonder how the healing process will be after hair transplantation. The recovery process after hair transplantation is an average of a 1-year marathon. This is a long-lasting process, but a pleasant process, especially after starting to get results.

On the first day of hair transplantation, you will be discharged with the donor area (usually the neck) covered with a bandage. The first day is the most important issue that needs attention. The person should meet his/her needs for sleeping and rest in an upright position, on a couch if possible, protecting the transplanted area and being prepared to the bleedings which will occur in the donor area.

On the 2nd day of hair transplantation operation, there may be a pain in the transplant and donor areas. While bleeding is observed in the donor area, blood will be completely dried in the area where the transplantation is done. The donor area is still bandaged.

The third day is the day of the first wash. The first wash after hair transplantation will be carried out by a specialist under the supervision of your doctor. The washing pattern to be performed until the scabs in the transplant zone are shed should be continued as it was done by the expert on the first day. When you go to the clinic on day 3, the bandage is removed from the donor area first. Then the cream is applied to the donor area to soften the dried blood and then the washing process will begin. On day 3, you must protect your head from the sun rays when going to and coming from the clinic. The sleeping position should be the same as the first 2 days.

The first 3 days after a hair transplantation operation are days of extra sensitivity. After the first wash, the prohibition of contacting with water has been removed and the person is more relaxed. The transplanted area should be washed regularly and carefully every day until it is freed from the scabs, and the person should continue to protect the head area from possible impacts and the sun’s harmful rays.

The first week is the process of holding hair. Therefore, the transplant area should be protected against motions such as impacts, hard movements, scrubbing, scratching or rubbing. Your doctor will give you antibiotic treatment the first week. This is generally planned as a 5-day course of antibiotics. In the first week, the rapid recovery in the donor area may surprise you. At the end of the first week (in some people, at the end of the second week) hair loss is observed in the area where hair transplantation is performed.

In the first month, one of the most important steps will be experienced for people who have hair transplant surgery. This step is called shock hair loss. It is a normal development of the recovery process that is expected to occur in the 2nd to 8th week. After the hair transplantation surgery, the hair which is transplanted is shed within 1 month from the second week onwards. This phenomenon is defined by the name “shock hair loss” since the hair loss occurs suddenly after hair transplantation surgery.

“When the result of hair transplantation becomes apparent?” is one of the questions most people wonder about. The first 2 months after hair transplantation, the most important steps of the healing process is completed. Taking the actual results of hair transplantation starts from the 3rd month. The first hair that comes out after the shock hair loss tends to be thin and curly, just like baby hair. However, as the hair grows longer, the hair strands become thicker and the hair forms with the hair structure of the person. The final result in hair transplantation can be seen in 9 months to 1 year.

The hair, which started to come out in the 3rd month, will be completed within a 1 year period, the hair strands will be thickened and the area will be closed completely. Hair transplantation gives definite results. There are some criteria representing the successful outcome of the surgery. The first of these criteria is that after the hair transplantation, when the hair takes its final appearance, it is not possible for people to understand whether you have had a hair transplant. The second criterion is that the transplanted hair is dense enough to cover the open scalp. Factors such as hair density, the thickness of hair strands, hair length, hair loss in the area to be transplanted, hair structure, hair color, scalp color, etc. are effective on whether hair transplant results will be successful.

People who have definite results in hair transplantation are those who have been described as type 3, type 4 and type 5 with partial hair loss. Hair loss in these people is in the form of dilution. It is only possible to get the desired result in people with large scale hair loss with more than one treatment plan. Another characteristic of the people who has a very successful final result is having dark and thick hair strands. It is important to pay attention to the issues recommended by your doctor before and after your hair transplantation, to obtain the expected results in the desired way.

Healing Steps of Hair Transplantation

After 2 weeks, approximately 14 days, all will be healed. It may change from person to person, but this is the most accurate number of days to heal. After 14 days, scabs, swelling, bruising, pain, and bleeding will all end. Most people will not even understand that you had hair transplantation. Let’s open another parenthesis and talk about the loss of feeling. Sometimes in some patients, there is a loss of sensation in the donor area (nape region) and this takes some time to heal. This is an exceptional case.

I’ll explain the healing process to you step by step. I have stated above that the whole process lasts for an average of fourteen days. The developments that will occur during this process are as follows:

  • To take out the bandage

The bandage is applied to protect the nape region immediately after the procedure. Especially to prevent bleeding and contacts. The bandage is removed after 1 day because there will no longer be any blood leakage. The risk of infection is small, but this bandage is applied to reduce the risk of infection to zero.

  • Reduction and elimination of pain

There will be a pain in the head and face, for which pain relievers can be used. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to use the pill, then you should wait 2 days on average for the pain to be gone. If you rest in this period, pain and bleeding stop more quickly. In some people, pain can be extremely low. This is related to the tissues of the person.

  • Recovery of bleeding on the nape

On the nape area where the hair grafts are collected, there will be mild bleeding. It will also stop within 2-3 days. The recovery in younger patients is much faster. These times may differ slightly from person to person, but you will not see any blood after 2-3 days.

  • Normalization of bruises

There may be mild bruises on the face and head. There are not too many cases of bruising. In some people, it may occur under the eyes. Not every patient may have a bruise. The time it takes to fully recover is three to four days.

  • End of swelling and edema

Swelling and edema occur more or less in all patients. They generally occur on the head. Swelling and edema are less common in the face. The healing time is 4 days on average.

  • Normalization of the donor region (nape region)

Intensive hair collection was done from the nape part and the tissue here was slightly destroyed. With the growing hair, the appearance in this region will start to recover immediately. The average length of healing of the nape area is 13-14 days. During this time, the hair will already grow significantly.

  • Elimination of scabs

Scabs start to form from day 3. It decreases every day. In fact, scabs indicate that the scalp is being healed. There may also be itching due to the scabs. On the 10th day, scabs fall and they are completely eliminated.

  • Elimination of rashes

Rashes can develop at different degrees on different skin tones. On the 9th day, they will be eliminated completely.

  • End of sensory loss

The loss of sensation in the nape area can be disturbing. Normally, it ends at an average of 14 days. Only in some patients, this process can extend up to 30 days.

Things to Consider During Hair Transplantation Healing Process

The points that need attention after hair transplantation is one of the factors affecting the outcome of the operation positively. Taking into account the warnings and recommendations of the specialist, and taking care of the planting area as well as the donor area will accelerate the healing process and protect the patient from any disappointment.

Although hair transplantation is classified as a surgical operation, it offers a very comfortable process for the patient in terms of healing. Side effects such as minimal tissue damage and edema resulting from the operation are healed within a short period of 4-5 days when supported by the patient’s care. The patient can return his/her daily routines and/or work within 7 days after the operation. So, what should be considered after hair transplantation?

Sleeping After Hair Transplantation

Since hair transplantation is not an application that requires hospitalization, the patient is sent to his/her home after the procedure. If the patient has come from abroad, he is placed in his hotel for rest after the operation. The most important rule that should be considered after hair transplantation is to avoid any contact with the planting area for the first 48 hours.

The area where hair transplantation is performed should be protected from all elements and contact that may damage hair follicles such as pillows and quilts when sleeping at night. You should sleep on your back and it is recommended to sleep on a hard and small pillow for 15 days after the hair transplantation. There is no harm to the patient lying back on his/her nape area where the hair follicles are collected.

Clothing After Hair Transplantation

Patients who have hair transplantation are advised to wear large collar, zippered or shirt-like clothing for 15 days after the procedure. The reason for this is to prevent damage to the hair follicles during the change of clothes and to prevent the planted follicles from being removed.

After the operation, the upper part of the planting area should be protected from direct contact with sunlight by using a hat that is not so tight and does not touch the planting area.

Hair Care After Hair Transplantation

After hair transplantation, the planting area should not come into contact with water in any way, unless the physician permits it. Water may intensify the risk of infection. After the operation, the first contact with water takes place on the 3rd day under expert control. The first washing is explained in detail by the expert. Only the shampoo and lotions recommended by your doctor should be used after the first wash. On the 15th day after hair transplantation, the hair can be cut with scissors.

Follicles that have been planted can be damaged by the towel or dryer to be used during hair drying after hair transplantation for a certain period. Therefore, it is necessary to allow the hair to dry naturally in the course of the period which your doctor recommended. It is best to wait for 8 months to get any hairdressing service after the operation.

First Dressing After Hair Transplantation

The area where the graft collection process is performed is closed by dressing after the operation. It is normal to have leaks in the area after hair transplantation operation. After the hair transplantation, the first control and dressing are carried out the day after the operation.

Other Factors That Should Be Considered After Hair Transplantation

Alcohol intake is strictly prohibited for the first 7 days after hair transplantation, as antibiotics should be used. The first 3 days after the hair transplantation, the use of blood thinning medicines such as aspirin is strictly prohibited. During the first week, it is necessary to keep the head vertically and not to bend so that the operation-induced edema can easily be eliminated. Again, the scabs should not be contacted in any way. After the operation, especially during the first 15 hours, all kinds of excessive activity (as heavy lifting) should be avoided.

Body fatigue causes newly transplanted follicles to weaken and lose their strengths while sweating causes damage to hair follicles. During the 15 days after the operation, going to places such as baths, saunas, solariums, pools, and sea should be avoided. Especially during the first 1-month, negative emotions such as stress, panic, and anxiety should be avoided as well.

Important Considerations In The First 6 Months After Hair Transplantation

There are also some issues to be considered during the first 6 month period:

Avoid swimming in the sea and the pools. In particular, some chemicals used in pool cleaning can damage the scalp after hair transplantation. Hair cutting machines and razors should not be used, the use of scissors will be more appropriate. Hair styling products such as gels and sprays should be avoided. In addition, hair should not be dyed.

Especially hair styling machines used by ladies can damage the scalp and should not be used after hair transplantation. Hot and/or pressurized water should not be used during the shower. Hair should be massaged regularly with soft movements.

The medicines prescribed by the doctor should be used regularly. The healing process after hair transplantation takes a long time and it is time-consuming to make a noticeable difference. Therefore, it is necessary to be patient. Shed hair will grow again in a few weeks and hair follicles will become thicker and stronger. Approximately eighty percent of the hair will grow within 6 to 8 months.

All procedure lasts approximately 1 year. At the end of a year, the scars on the scalp will be completely gone, and the hair will become thicker and look quite natural. The quality and permanence of hair transplantation can be increased with some treatments to be performed after the hair transplantation such as hair mesotherapy or PRP.

To Accelerate Recovery: Hair Mesotherapy

Hair mesotherapy is one of the methods frequently used in recent years to reduce hair loss and strengthen hair. Hair mesotherapy is used by some patients to increase the number and quality of the hair before the hair transplantation, as well as during the healing process after hair transplantation to accelerate the recovery process. Hair mesotherapy supports the growth of new hair follicles.

Hair follicles need some vitamins and minerals to grow and develop. With this method, these vitamins and minerals needed by hair and some antioxidants are applied with fine injectors suitable for the scalp. In this way, the hair follicles are getting dense and the new hair growth is accelerated. Hair mesotherapy is performed in 10 sessions on average. Generally, after the fifth session, the hair regrowth and the increase in the hair follicles are noticeable. In the eighth and ninth sessions, hair loss is considerably reduced.

Hair mesotherapy is a frequently used care method, especially after hair transplantation. The most beneficial advantage of this method is that it is permanent and the treatment does not last too long. External treatments to the hair allow the hair to recover in the short term, but the persistence of the mesotherapy method lasts about three to four years.

In this process, the procedure needs to be reapplied as it renews itself completely. When hair mesotherapy is applied after hair transplantation, it increases the success rate of the operation significantly. With hair transplantation, new hair follicles are created, and with mesotherapy process, hair quality is increased.

Hair mesotherapy is usually applied with a special scalp massage. After the hair is softened with the help of steam and made prepared for application, the nutrients are applied to the scalp with the use of injectors.

In order to minimize the pain and the pain sensation during the procedure, regional anesthesia can be applied. The application can be carried out manually or via computer-aided machines, but because it is very difficult to use drugs equally in each region in the manual process, the machine method is generally preferred.

The sessions last approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As with hair transplantation, some points such as washing and drying should be considered after hair mesotherapy. The procedure lasts approximately 10 sessions.

Extra Information and F.A.Q About Hair Transplant Healing Process

  • How is the healing process after hair transplantation?

Recovery is faster after hair transplantation with the DHI technique. While a slight numbness and pain may be expected for several days following surgery, most patients feel good within a day or two after the operation. At the bottom of the recipient site where the hair grafts are transplanted, dotted red scars will appear for approximately 7 – 10 days and thin scabs will be formed in these regions. Within 10 days, the density of these thin scabs will decrease significantly. Usually, the patient recovers his/her normal image after 7 – 15 days. After this time, mild rashes may occur.

  • Do any rashes occur after hair transplantation?

In the old bald area where hair grafts are transferred, very slight redness may occur initially. Often, in small-scale hair transplantation, this redness disappears spontaneously over a 3-week period. In some cases, the redness caused by hair transplants involving more grafts may remain for up to 3 months. In the donor area, such symptoms are not so obvious, because the hair strands in this area help to hide the scars. As the hair grows, it continues to close rapidly.

  • Do scabs occur after hair transplantation?

Do not expose the planted hair grafts or small dot-shaped scabs in the donor area to any mechanical stress condition (eg, by scrubbing with towels) for the next 10 days after the operation. Even if this part of the scalp is itching, you should definitely avoid contact. In addition, when all of the small scabs formed are shed, rubbing the donor area with a towel is useful for removing the inwardly directed hair strands.

  • What are the processes of shock shedding and re-growing?

Usually, shock shedding begins within the first 3 weeks after transplantation. After the 3rd or 4th month, the shed grafts slowly start to grow again. At the end of the 4th month, the rate of re-growth should be around 30%, and the same number in the sixth month should be around 60%. The best results occur exactly 12 months after the operation.

  • What should be considered in the washing process after hair transplantation?

After hair transplantation, you should wash your hair very carefully for the first 10 days. Care should be taken to ensure that the transplanted hair grafts do not come into contact with water for a long time. The donor and the transplanted areas are washed with special medical shampoos. To do this, foam a little shampoo between your hands and apply the whole scalp very carefully. All washing steps should be carried out smoothly and without applying pressure as well as using the fingertips. Dry your hair with a paper towel after washing. Shampooing should be done daily to clean the scabs. After about 7 to 10 days, there should be no trace of dried blood or scabs on your scalp. You can start washing your hair normally after 14 days. Do not wash your hair more than once a day. Continue to use special shampoo until the bottle is empty.

  • How long after the hair transplantation can you begin to exercise and doing sports?

Immediately after hair transplantation, you can start short walks or do physical exercises that do not sweat too much. Do not participate in heavy and long sports activities (eg bodybuilding, football, basketball, etc.) for three weeks after hair transplantation. You should also avoid swimming for 3 weeks. Because salt in seawater or chlorine in pool water can damage your hair follicles. Entering extremely hot environments, such as a hammam or a sauna, can also damage the hair cells that are planted. You should also avoid direct exposure to sunlight or go to a solarium.

  • You should stay away from smoking and alcohol

Smoking and alcohol cause prolongation of the healing process after hair transplantation. You should take care not to consume those for 2 weeks, eat well and sleep regularly. A healthy lifestyle will help you to improve your pace of recovery. Some of the chemicals that the cigars or alcoholic beverages contain are quite harmful to cell growth. That is why they will extend the growth duration and development of new hair follicles, and thus your recovery process will be longer. They also fill your body with free radicals, ie agents which create oxidative stress and are associated with human diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others. 

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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