The following is a list of general instructions for your care following your surgery. Please read them carefully several times as most of your questions should be answered here. Instructions for your care will also be reviewed the morning after surgery. Carefully following these instructions should help you get the best results from your surgery.
You will need to obtain a spray bottle for after surgery. Following your surgery you will be sent home wearing a light dressing. You will need to keep this on the first night. The night following surgery it is important for you to have someone with you—this is a must! You should plan on remaining within thirty miles from the location of your surgery for this first night. It is also important for you to keep your head elevated the evening after surgery as well as for the first week following surgery. This will help any swelling that you do develop dissipate quickly.
This care will be reviewed the morning following your surgery:
- Go over transplanted areas four times daily with either saline or water in a spray bottle. Taking a shower may count as one of your sessions. The goal is to gently go over these areas to remove crusting over time. Do not scrub or pick at the scabbing.
- You may shower the third day after surgery. It is important to use gentle, alcohol free (Suave) shampoo and avoid vigorous scrubbing. Do not let the shower water spray directly on your head for one week. You may take a cup of soapy water or just plain water and pour it over this area. You may comb your hair after seven days, but be careful not to dislodge any grafts.
- Be sure to report immediately any signs of bleeding that persist after ten minutes of direct pressure, infection, redness, fever, unusual drainage, or pain.
- Stitches will be removed in seven to ten days.
What to expect
Swelling will vary both patient-to-patient as well as side-to-side. Swelling may actually increase the first three to four days before subsiding. Most of your swelling should resolve over the first two to three weeks.
Bruising will vary like swelling from person to person as well as side-to-side. Most bruising and discoloration should resolve over the first two weeks.
Parts of your scalp may feel numb following surgery. This is normal and will subside over the coming weeks to months. Unusual sensations, pins and needles, and occasionally mild discomfort may occur as these nerves regenerate over time.
- No strenuous exercise for at least two weeks
- No heavy lifting for three weeks.
- Hair coloring should be delayed for four weeks after surgery.
Patience is important with hair transplantation. A final result should not be expected for six months. It is not uncommon to experience a disturbing period of hair follicle shock somewhere between six and twelve weeks after surgery. It may seem like all the transplanted hairs have gone. Even during this stage, however, the hair follicle remains viable and new hairs will soon be visible.
Please do not hesitate to ever contact our office.
Mark M. Hamilton, M.D., F.A.C.S.