Hair transplantation, or follicular unit transplant (FUT), is a cosmetic procedure used to restore hair growth in those experiencing hair loss. Although this type of surgery has become relatively common in recent years due to its high success rate, it’s important that you understand the recovery process before undergoing any treatments. Here, we’ll look at everything about FUT hair transplant recovery — what happens after surgery, how long each stage lasts, and tips for maximizing healing speed and minimizing the risk of complications.
What Is a Follicular Hair Transplant?
A follicular unit transplantation (FUT), often called a follicular hair transplant, is a hair restoration procedure used to treat hair loss. It involves the transplantation of hair from a donor area (typically the back or sides of the head, where hair is more resistant to balding) to the area experiencing hair loss.
One of the main advantages of FUT is that it allows for transplanting many grafts in a single session, which can benefit patients with significant hair loss. However, it does leave a linear scar in the donor area, which can be concealed with longer hair. In contrast, another popular method, follicular unit extraction (FUE), involves removing individual follicular units directly from the scalp, resulting in smaller, dot-like scars rather than linear ones.
What Is the Recovery Process After FUT Hair Transplantation?
The recovery process after a FUT hair transplant is a crucial period where patients need to follow post-operative care instructions closely to ensure optimal results and minimize the risk of complications. Here is an overview of what you might expect during the recovery process:
Immediate Post-Procedure Care
The initial hours and days following a FUT hair transplant are pivotal for healing. Patients are provided with detailed aftercare instructions, including how to care for the surgical sites, medications to aid recovery and reduce the risk of infection, and any activity restrictions. The donor area, where the strip of skin was removed, is typically sutured or stapled closed, and it is crucial to keep this area clean and dry to promote proper healing. Patients may experience some discomfort, swelling, and redness in both the donor and recipient areas, which is normal and can be managed with prescribed pain medications and cold compresses.
First Week of Recovery
Patients must take special care during the first week of recovery to protect the newly transplanted hair grafts. It is recommended to sleep with the head elevated to reduce swelling, and direct contact with the scalp should be avoided to prevent dislodging the grafts. The recipient area may scab over, and it is vital not to pick at these scabs as they protect the grafts while they heal. The sutures or staples in the donor area are typically removed seven to 10 days post-procedure, and by this time, patients can gently wash their hair with a mild shampoo, following post-transplant instructions.
Two Weeks to One Month
By the two-week mark, the transplanted hairs will begin to fall out — a normal part of the process known as “shock loss.” This occurs as the hairs enter a resting phase before new growth begins, and patients need to understand that this is an expected part of the recovery and not a sign of the transplant failing. The donor area should be mostly healed, with residual redness and swelling subsiding. Patients can generally return to their normal activities and hair care routines, though it is advisable to continue avoiding any harsh treatments or styling products.
One to Three Months
Patients will notice new hair growth in the transplanted areas during the one to three months post-FUT. This new growth may be fine and sparse initially, but it will gradually thicken and become more robust over time. Being patient during this stage is essential, as hair growth varies from person to person, and the full results may take several months to become apparent. The donor area should be fully healed, with any scarring fading and becoming less noticeable.
Three to Six Months
Patients will see a more significant improvement in hair growth at three to six months, with the transplanted hairs becoming longer and thicker. The hair may still appear somewhat uneven, but this will improve as the growth continues. The donor area’s scarring should be minimal, though it may still be visible depending on the patient’s hair length and the practitioner’s skill.
Six Months to One Year
By six months to one year post-FUT, most patients will experience substantial hair growth in the transplanted areas, with the final results typically visible around the one-year mark. The new hairs should be fully integrated with existing ones, providing a natural-looking result. The donor area’s scarring should be well-healed, and it may be barely noticeable for many patients.
Long-Term Care and Considerations
After the one-year mark, the results of the FUT hair transplant should be stable, with the transplanted hairs continuing to grow naturally. Long-term care of the scalp and hair is essential to maintain the results, and patients are advised to follow a healthy hair care routine, including gentle washing and conditioning and avoiding harsh chemical treatments. Regular follow-up appointments with the surgeon may also be recommended to monitor the results and address any concerns.
Achieve Your Desired Hair Restoration Results With Hair Transplants in Nashville, TN
At Global Center for Hair Restoration in Nashville, TN, we specialize in hair transplants for both men and women using ARTAS. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality hair transplant procedure to achieve the desired results for our patients. Whether you are experiencing hair loss due to genetics, age, or other factors, we offer a personalized consultation to understand your needs and create a customized plan for restoration. Our state-of-the-art facility and advanced techniques ensure a safe and effective procedure, resulting in a natural-looking, full head of hair. Contact us online or call (615) 383-2400 to schedule your consultation with us today.