The following instructions should be carefully followed before and after a hair transplant or scalp procedure. If you are unclear about any of the instructions, please contact our clinic. This procedure will take a full day. Please plan on being here all day. The length of the procedure is determined by the amount of grafts, how well the procedure is going, blood pressure, if there is unusual bleeding or graft popping, etc. This is why it is important to follow pre-op instructions.
- Smoking (cigarettes or e-cigarette with nicotine) – you should avoid or significantly reduce the amount you smoke. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to close up and this effect lasts for 45 – 60 minutes following inhalation. It is one of the most important requirements to lower the risk of postoperative infection and other healing complications. Ideally we would suggest to avoid smoking for a minimum of one month before and after surgery.
- Stop taking any medications or vitamin supplements that contain aspirin, ibuprofen, herbs that increase blood flow or thin the blood for 2 weeks before the procedure. These medications increase your risk for bleeding making it very difficult for your newly transplanted grafts “to take.” Bleeding during the procedure also adds hours to the amount of time necessary to complete the procedure.
- If you have symptoms of a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches, please contact the clinic for instructions regarding your procedure.
- Stop using any topical hair treatment products that increase blood flow to the scalp.
- We provide you with E45 or Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. It’s always a good idea to have a spare in your cupboard.
- Please arrange transport home with a family member or friend. Public transport can be used but it is recommended to have someone accompanying you.
- Wear comfortable clothing that does not need to be pulled over your head. A button down or zippered shirt is easiest and some patients like to wear sweatpants for comfort.
- Valuables should be left at home. You will be given a patient belongings bag to store your clothing and personal items in for the day.
- You will require regular pain relief for the first few days and can require it for longer. You will be given paracetamol and ibuprofen to take home but please make sure you have some available at home also.
- Please take Arnica tablets (one tablet three times a day) for 10 days before and 3 days after your surgery. This will reduce your risk of bruising.
- We will provide cold compresses, sterile gauze, a pillow protector and painkillers for you to take home on the day of surgery.
- Mobile phones need to remain off during your procedure unless being used to listen to music or podcasts.
- Please do not bring reading material or computers with you since you will be in a reclining position for the majority of the day and may be unable to use them.
- Family members or friends may not visit over the course of the day. Phone updates are available through the practice.
- YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE A RIDE HOME BY A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND. This is due to the sedation and/or pain medication as well as the length of your day here at our clinic.
- A hair team member will call your ride when you are ready to be picked up.
- You will be given printed instructions to share with your ride or whomever will be at home with you that evening.
- If you do not have a ride on the day of your procedure, your case may be cancelled. This is a very important safety measure for you.
- Enjoy a light breakfast (nothing fatty, fried or greasy). Avoid caffeine on the day of the procedure.
- We will provide you with lunch. Please inform the staff of any food allergies or restrictions.
- You will be given light oral sedation during the procedure. Due to the length of the procedure, light sedation will allow you to relax helping to pass the time quickly.
- Shower on the morning of surgery, washing your hair.
- Arrange your transport home. We advise you not to drive after the surgery and have someone help to take you home.
- We will provide you with a hot/cold drink and biscuits after surgery. One of our patient coordinators will go through the aftercare and give you instructions on what to expect in the next few days (please always refer to this document).
- We will arrange your follow up appointments.
- This will consist of: 1-2 weeks follow up with our nurse and wound care specialist; 2-3 months follow up with PRP session; 8-10 months follow up with PRP session
- If you have any concerns our door is always open and more follow up appointments can be scheduled.
- Sleep in an upright position for the first 10 days post-procedure to allow any residual swelling to decrease.
- Avoid pulling tight clothing over your head as the newly transplanted grafts are sensitive. Ideally, wear a button down shirt.
- Do not scratch, rub, brush or comb the newly transplanted hair as this can pull out the transplanted grafts.
- Apply baby oil overnight and in the shower use the brush side of the sponge to gently loosen the crusts.
- DO NOT PICK OR FORCE OFF CRUSTS. They will generally be gone in 7 – 10 days.
- Ensure good hand hygiene.
- Avoid physical exercise that includes over bending or heavy lifting for one week post procedure.
- Drink plenty of water and eat well during your post-operative recovery.
- You may return to work the day after your procedure providing your work does not involve hard physical labour.
You can expect to feel completely normal immediately following the procedure, due to the advances in local anaesthesia techniques. You might feel that your scalp is tight or swollen due to the fluid that has been placed under the scalp.
A light dressing (bandage) will be placed over the donor area (where the hair was taken from) of your head. Recipient hair (the hair that is transplanted into the new location) transplant area will be left uncovered. Do not let anything touch the recipient hair transplant areas during the first 24 hours after surgery.
It is normal to bleed slightly overnight. To protect your linens, you will be provided with a disposable towel to use the first evening, and may want to put a towel over your pillow for the first few nights after the procedure.
On the first night, it is critically important that the recipient areas do not touch anything and that the head is slightly elevated to prevent an edema (swelling) around the eyes. The best sleeping position would be to lie on your back, the donor back areas of your head propped up by a couple of pillows.
You may find another position preferable. However, please remember that any sleeping position you choose that first night should elevate your head and prevent the recipient areas from coming in contact with anything.
The light dressing over the donor area will be removed on the day following the intervention (Day 1). No extra care or treatment will be necessary for the donor back areas of the scalp. The tiny holes on your scalp will have already closed when we remove the bandage that day.
On Days 1, 2 and later – we advise to avoid wearing a cap or hat that will be in direct contact with the transplanted hair. We will provide any required prescriptions and/or drugs you may need during the post operative recovery.
Should you experience any discomfort, you may take a mild painkiller pills 3 times a day. If you are taking any medications prior to the surgery, you can continue to take them following the surgery. You may experience a slight oedema (swelling) around the eyes following the surgery. This will improve over the next 3-7 days.
You will be able to resume your normal daily activities the day after but might find the area uncomfortable and if so we recommend you using painkillers regularly as advised.
Please avoid any sexual activity during the first week following surgery. Ideally if this can be avoided for 2 weeks.
Rigorous physical exercise or sports activities in general may be started or resumed 14 days after the hair transplantation intervention.
You will be given a small spray bottle and some saline. You should use this as often as possible to keep your scalp from drying out and becoming itchy.
after the surgery
Avoid any activity that may result in hitting your head, such as contact sports, piggy back rides for kids, etc. Be careful getting in and out of cars.
WEIGHT LIFTING: After first 10 days, weight lifting can be resumed. Cut back 25% and work up to normal weights.
EXERCISE: Jogging, running, golfing, tennis, etc. is OK AFTER 10 DAYS.
SWIMMING: In pool after 10 days or ocean/lake after 14 days.
AVOID SUNBURN: Use hat or sun block outdoors for 30 days.
SWELLING: Swelling is no longer common following procedures. All you need to do is sleep elevated for three nights.
PINKNESS OR REDNESS: Fair skin types may have persistent pinkness of transplanted skin for several weeks following transplant. This is temporary.
ITCHING: Antihistamine tablets by mouth at bedtime will relieve itching, which may occur after a few days. Available over the counter at most pharmacies.
NUMBNESS OR TINGLING is temporary and will disappear in a few months. It is the result of cutting small nerve endings during the course of the surgery.
THE FIRST NEW HAIRS APPEAR IN 6-9 MONTHS. Hair in the grafts will disappear 2 – 3 weeks after the procedure. The follicle, which is responsible for growth, remains. By 3 months you will begin to notice more hair growing back and the overall time frame to reach a definitive result is by 18 – 24 months.
You will be given a shampoo to use following your hair transplant.
Week 1, you will only be allowed to form lather in your hands and press this gently over the scalp.
Week 2, you can form the lather in your hands and press onto your scalp softly as directed.
Week 3, you will be able to resume your normal hair washing regime.
Surgical hair restoration actually results in less operative discomfort than many other surgical procedures. Most patients, after surgery, state the pain was less than a visit to the dentist.
We use local anaesthetic to numb the areas where the surgery will be performed and this anaesthetic will last anything up to 6 hours, typically any post-operative discomfort following the hair transplantation procedure will last no more than a day or two.
We advise taking paracetamol and Ibuprofen during this time as required, providing you are not allergic to either of these medications. Please ensure you take the correct dose according to the packet instructions.
Call our clinic if you develop any of the following: fever, pain not relieved with pain medication, redness at the incision site, unexpected swelling (some forehead swelling is not unusual), heavy bleeding, persistent nausea and vomiting or any other concerns.