Recovering from hair transplant

New York City

By Dr. Benjamin Paul

Recovery from hair transplant is easier than most patients anticipate. The goal of recovery is to help ensure that every hair and follicle transplanted survives and that donor site heals beautifully.

At the conclusion of the transplant, a long-acting numbing agent is injected in the back of the scalp. This makes for a tension and pain free start to your recovery at home. Overall, the recovery has minimal pain. Patients may take a narcotic for pain in the first 48-72 hours, but over half of patients navigate their recovery with only Tylenol.

In our office, most patients leave the office with a gauze wrap around the head. Patients are accompanied by a friend or family member to their home or a local hotel where they recover. The wrap is removed the next morning. The donor site (the back of the head) is kept clean with the application of twice daily bacitracin. The recipient site is kept moist with normal saline mist spray hourly to prevent drying and itching. Patients are able to bathe gently within 48 hours in most cases. The follicle is held in the recipient site with only a scab, and thus is sutureless. The scab falls off between day 5-14 for the vast majority. When donor site sutures are placed, patients return for suture removal after the first week.

Most transplanted hairs shed after a few weeks. This is followed by a period of rest, and then new, permanent hair growth. Most patients begin to see the result at 5 months and continue to see improvement through months 12-18. Overall, the recovery is very well tolerated and the result can be thrilling.

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