Hair Transplant Recovery: Social and Professional Concerns

The recovery time and healing process are one of the biggest concerns for hair transplant patients. It stems from the obvious worry for their recovery after the surgery, and often from fear of people asking them about it, or judging them. Hair loss and hair restoration is a very sensitive issue for some people, and there is still some stigma surrounding it, which they don’t want to face. Most patients want that the fact that they have had the surgery should not be obvious.

Modern methods of hair transplant like FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction, commonly used in cases of Androgenic Alopecia or male pattern baldness are minimally invasive and have a short recovery period. But that is not to say that the patient should expect to have brand new hair the next day, and look completely normal.

The hair from the transplanted follicles first sheds a few weeks from surgery, and eventually regrows within some months; the patient will have full growth in nine to 12 months post-surgery.

Here are some concerns that patients will face post-surgery:

Swelling: The first thing that will make the patients want to stay home after a surgery is swelling. Patients will have some redness and scabbing on both the donor and the recipient areas. There will be swelling around the forehead in the first week after surgery. It usually starts 24 hours post-surgery; it begins at the hairline and moves down to the forehead, and to the nose and eyes.

The swelling usually subsides on its own by the end of the week. But ice packs can be used for relief. Sleeping in a semi upright position can help with the swelling as well. But if the swelling is painful, and there is redness, or if you run a fever, it might be an infection, it is therefore best to call a doctor.

Some patients might also develop small blood clots on the incision sites, but they dissipate by the end of the first week as well.

Scabbing: Post the procedure, there will scab and crusting on the transplant area, which will fall out on its own within a week to 10 days.  It takes about 2 weeks for the area to look somewhat normal. You can wear a hat to cover your head while going out if the scabs showing bothers you.

You can wash your hair with a mild shampoo during this time but don’t wash it too vigorously as it might dislodge the follicles.

There is also some discomfort in the donor area of the scalp, which is used for harvesting grafts. There might be mild pain, which will last 3-4 days. But if the pain gets severe, the doctor can prescribe a painkiller as well. The tightness of the scalp will last a few days, and it might not be comfortable to go out, or go to work in the first week of surgery.

Shock loss: Telogen Effluvium, or shock loss is loss of hair caused by trauma of some kind. It happens in cases when people get severely ill suddenly, causing the hair to go into a shock phase and start shedding.

Telogen Effluvium is a possibility after a hair restoration surgery as well. It isn’t common but possible nevertheless. It can happen in cases of Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or the strip method that involves extracting a strip of scalp from the back or sides of the head and dissecting it into individual grafts, which are then transplanted on the bald spots.

It can happen in the recipient site, if the placement of grafts causes the surrounding hair to be traumatized, and they fall. The good news is – it is temporary.

All of these can cause the patients anxiety about going to work and socializing. For patients that are conscious about these things can take a longer break of two to three weeks for the surgery, and get back to meeting people and working, once they have recovered fully, and there are no telltale signs of a surgery. However, usually the surgery of hair transplant in India takes a progressive time for assured and visible results, but people gets their hairs back soon.

Some of these can be avoided by ensuring that you choose a reputed and experienced surgeon, as any unnecessary complications post-surgery can be avoided.