What to Expect After Hair Restoration
DIET- If the procedure is done with only local anesthesia, a normal diet can be resumed immediately. If intravenous sedation or general anesthesia is employed, it is best to start with liquids (soup, juices, etc.) immediately after surgery. Once the anesthesia has worn off and your appetite returns, regular food is allowed. Some patients will experience some mild nausea the evening after hair transplantation even if only local anesthesia is used; slow introduction of one's normal diet over a 1- 2 day period is best.
DRESSINGS/SUTURES- A gauze dressing is placed over the head in the operating room. This is removed the day after surgery. The head dressing can be removed on the day after surgery, and a bandana worn over the transplanted area.
Dissolvable sutures are used in the back of the head where the hair was harvested. These typically dissolve in 10- 14 days on their own. Hair grafts are placed in pockets so precise that sutures are not needed.
ACTIVITY AFTER SURGERY- In order to allow your tissues to heal properly, we ask that you refrain from brisk physical activity for two weeks. Walking and non-physical activities are allowed, but it is best not to exercise for the first 2 weeks. After the first 2 weeks, aerobics, running, stair climbing, exercise bicycling and treadmills are permitted, but weight lifting (free weights or machines) should not be done until after the end of the third week after surgery. However, once the effects of the anesthetics have worn off, it is not necessary to remain in bed or at home. You may shower as soon as the bandages have been replaced by the elastic headband. This band should immediately be replaced after each shower.
SWELLING/BRUISING- Forehead and upper eyelid swelling is expected but is usually mild. Sleeping with your head elevated and sitting upright during the day for several days following surgery will help minimize swelling. Most swelling will gradually resolve in 4-5 days. Bruising, too, is normal. The bruises on your forehead may "fall" into your upper eyelids before disappearing. Most bruising will resolve in the first 7 days after surgery and may be concealed with makeup one week after surgery. . Also, homeopathic medications Arnica Montana and Bromelain may limit bruising and swelling. This is best started at least 2 weeks before surgery and continued for 3 weeks; check with your doctor before using these.
BLEEDING- Minimal oozing of blood and tissue fluid along the suture/staple lines can occur for a few days following surgery. Bleeding that is severe or does not stop with 10 minutes of continuous pressure is rare and should be reported to our office.
ITCHING/NUMBNESS- Itching along suture lines and in areas adjacent to the face (scalp, forehead) is common and temporary. A feeling of numbness also occurs. Normal sensation usually returns within a few weeks.
PAIN/DISCOMFORT- Most patients experience little pain afterwards; most describe the discomfort as "soreness" rather than "pain", easily controlled with acetaminophen or acetaminophen with codeine.