At Natural Restorations Hair Center, we know how important post-op care treatment is to our patients. Deciding to undergo a FUE hair transplant procedure is a big step, but one that allows our patients to look good, and feel very excited about having their hairline restored with healthy new hair.
It is something you do for yourself, because you deserve to feel good about your appearance again. But we also know that with any invasive clinical procedure also comes with a little apprehension. The anxiety is understandable. But also understandable is the concern about taking the appropriate steps to support the strong growth of their newly transplanted hair.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what happens to your scalp during the FUE procedure, and also about common healing responses and post-treatment care that will improve your results. It’s important to follow all the steps outlined in your post FUE care plan, and to contact our team at Natural Restorations Hair Center with any questions you have during the post-operative healing process.
We share some best-practice clinical steps you can take at home to protect, and care for, your new hair. And what you can expect the day after your FUE session.
Time Off Is Not Required (But You May Want to Book a Vacation Day or Two)
Individual pain tolerances and skin reactions to FUE can vary. The FUE procedure using ARTAS® is by far the least invasive clinical option for hair transplant. And one of the reasons why it is so popular is that the recovery time after the transplant is minimal. Again, this all depends on scalp condition, general health, the potential for allergic response and inflammation in the donor and transplant areas.
If you have never had an outpatient procedure before, it can be hard to estimate how you will feel the day after your FUE hair transplant procedure. The majority of patients report minimal discomfort that is easily addressed with over-the-counter pain medications. Others may experience more tenderness and require a prescription to help ameliorate the pain symptoms for the first few days.
We recommend that patients consider taking one day off (at home) following the FUE procedure. But it is not required or necessary depending upon the activity level of your job.
Treating Swelling in the Transplant and Donor Areas
Some swelling may occur for 2-3 days post-transplant. This can occur in the donor area and/or the recipient areas, but is usually most noticeable around the forehead and the eyes. This is a very normal response and not painful. Swelling can gradually increase from day one to about day three post-transplant before dissipating.
To help swelling subside, we recommend the gentle application of ice packs on the forehead and around the eyes the night of or morning after the procedure. Patients should avoid any kind of contact or friction with either the donor area or the transplanted hair regions. Do not place your hands or an ice pack on the newly transplanted areas.
Patients can gently ice the forehead and eye region for 10 minutes and up to 3-4 intervals per day to help minimize and relieve swelling. It’s also recommended to avoid bending over or lifting heavy objects. And you should try to maintain an elevated head position for the first 7 days after the hair transplant procedure.
Avoid Touching the Donor or Transplant Areas
While the scalp is healing in the first 7 days following the FUE hair transplant procedure, it is important to protect the donor and transplant areas to ensure the highest rate of success, while new hair follicles are “bedding” in the scalp.
This is the hard part. It’s human nature to want to touch where we feel any degree of discomfort. But remember to use the aftercare spray provided for post-care treatment until your spray bottle is empty. And “hands off” the area until at least day 7, when the grafts will be secure (or accepted by the scalp tissue where they have been implanted).
The after-care spray will help to keep the scalp moist, to reduce or eliminate itching during the healing process.
What you will notice after the first couple weeks however, is that the transplanted hairs that are visible above the surface of the scalp, will begin to fall out at this point. This is normal, and also a sign that the root of the follicle has been successfully accepted by the scalp tissue. And you’re on your way to healthy new regrowth!
Sleeping is a Little Tricky: Important Tips
There are two important at-home steps to help the patient achieve the optimal level of regrowth success, and both of them involve how you sleep. We mentioned that swelling can be an issue (to varying degrees depending on the patient), so sleeping with your head elevated at night for at least the first three days after your surgery, can help minimize swelling.
You may have to buy a special pillow for back sleepers, a neck pillow or form and use a rolled-up towel for additional support. The areas of the newly transplanted hair should not come in contact with the pillow or any other friction.
You will have to remember that the newly transplanted hairs require a grace period to become rooted in the scalp, during which time the transplants are officially a “do not touch” area. A neck roll (similar to the one used on airplanes) can be helpful if worn low on the neck/upper shoulders for additional support.
Washing Your Hair Post FUE Procedure
Patients should avoid washing their hair for the first night following the FUE procedure (that’s another reason you might consider taking a day or two off work). After the minimum waiting period has passed (ask our physician for more information), you can gently wash your hair with a mild baby shampoo. Very gently, and rinse only with a cup. If it’s convenient, try to come by our office the day after your transplant for your first hair wash.
Remember to avoid exposing your scalp to pressurized water from a shower for the first week. This all helps to ensure that the follicles are not disturbed during the important rooting process.
Skip the Gym and Don’t Swim for a Few Weeks
To give transplanted hair follicles the best survivorship rate, it’s important to ‘go gentle’ for the first three weeks after your FUE treatment at Natural Restorations Hair Center. Regular exercising can usually resume after the first 7 days post-transplant, but don’t lift weights for 2 weeks and swimming should be avoided for at least three weeks after your procedure.
Using hot tubs or steam baths is not recommended until after the first 2 weeks of healing is complete. By exposing the scalp to intense heat, pores may open on the scalp and compromise the development of the new follicle root and loosen them at the root, causing loss.
Remember that after every FUE hair transplant procedure at Natural Restorations Hair Center in Madison, we provide a full after-care checklist for our patients and expert clinical support. While many individuals experience minimal discomfort, Dr. Jamie McCollum can at his discretion offer prescription medications (topical and oral) to help alleviate any pain during the post-procedural healing process.