Day 0: Day of hair transplant.
Days 1 – 5: The first 2 weeks following a hair transplant are the most critical. Dr. Gabel provides his patients with detailed instruction booklets on exactly how to care for the newly transplanted grafts. During the first 5 days, patients will experience swelling of the forehead and at the back of the head, which is the donor area. The skin may also look red at the areas where all the tiny incisions were made for the newly transplanted hairs. This redness usually resolves after the first week or 2. After only a few days, the donor area is no longer tender.
Days 6 – 10: At this point, patients no longer experience any swelling and the redness should only be faint or completely gone. For each follicular unit transplanted, a “crust” will form which is the attached skin layer drying out. During this time, Dr. Gabel will have his patients gently remove the crusts by thoroughly soaking the grafts, and then gently rubbing them with a finger. By day 10, all the crusting should be gone and the transplanted hairs will appear like a “crew-cut” haircut. Lastly, around day 10, the sutures or staples will be removed.
Week 2 – 3: The transplanted hairs will start to shed at this point, and by the end of the 3rd/4th week, most will be gone. This is a normal part of the healing process and is totally expected. The newly transplanted hairs go through a shedding process as the actual hair shaft is released, but the actual follicular unit and bulb are totally intact starting to grow a new hair shaft. This is part of the normal hair cycle.
End of Month 1 – Month 2: The hair follicles have entered into the resting phase of their cycle. The length of the resting phase can vary before they start to grow again. At this stage, patients will appear exactly as they did prior to surgery with regards to the amount of hair present. At this time, patients are able to style and color their hair as they desire.
Months 2 – 4: The new hairs should start coming out. For some patients, their transplanted hairs start growing early in the timeline; for others, they start growing later. Patients will see the new transplants, but they will be thin at this stage as they begin to emerge from the scalp. Most of the native hair will be growing back at this time. The donor area is healing and any redness at the donor site will resolve.
Months 5 – 9: Patients will start to see a considerable amount of hair emerging from the scalp. The hairs are thinner; many of the transplanted hairs will be over 3 inches or longer and is able to be groomed. Toward the end of this period, the hair will show textural changes and start to thicken up. At 6 months, Dr. Gabel will see the patient in follow up. The donor area will be completely healed at this point. The original donor laxity is restored by month 9.
1 Year: Patients have achieved about 80% of the growth of the transplanted hairs. Most of the hairs will have emerged from the scalp. Patients may notice that the hairs have a little “curvature” to them. This is from the micro-scarring that is at the recipient sites. This resolves and the hair takes on its native appearance over the next year.
2 Years: The final appearance from the hair transplant is appreciated at this point. For some patients, they achieve the full appearance by 1 year; others will take longer for the hairs to emerge and increase their density and thickness. Additionally, as the hair grows longer, that provides a fuller appearance since the volume of hair is increased at the transplanted area.
Learn more about Hair Restoration Surgery
If you would like more information about hair restoration surgery or specifics about hair growth after a hair transplant, contact the Gabel Hair Restoration Center today. Our Team at the Gabel Hair Restoration Center is ready to help you look the very best.