A hair transplant surgery is a life-changing and exciting event and can be a source of confidence and pride for the recipient after years of undesirable baldness. The procedure takes a few hours, but the aftercare regimen can take several weeks.
Apart from an injection of youthful exuberance from a full head of hair, the process can have some unpleasant side effects. Patients should take precautions for better chances at a speedy recovery, fast hair regrowth, and fewer complications.
Pre-operative measures are essential before hair transplant surgery to prevent adverse outcomes. These measures include:
- Checking for drug interactions
- Cessation of smoking at least a few weeks before e the procedure
- Checking for blood clotting complications
- Checking for the intake of drugs like Aspirin and anticoagulants
- Controlling alcohol intake before and after the hair transplant
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Normal Post-Transplant Outcomes
Although a hair transplant surgery is generally painless due to the application of a local anesthetic and quick healing, it is possible to experience some unpleasant but short-lived outcomes including:
- Numb sensation-The scalp area may feel numb and uncomfortable from a few days to weeks after the operation.
- Swelling-The skin on the scalp and around the face may swell to varying degrees in different patients. Sometimes the swelling occurs a few days after the surgery and can last up to three weeks before resolving.
- Bruising-Some parts of the scalp may experience discoloration which clears up on its own within two weeks after the procedure.
- Itching-As the scar heals, itching is normal and may persist for several days.
Possible Complications of Hair Transplant Surgery
Surgical procedures carry varying degrees of risky outcomes, regardless of the surgeon’s expertise. While these outcomes will only affect a small percentage of patients, they can be unpleasant and they include:
- Bacterial infection of the scalp
- Failure of transplanted hair to grow
- Drug reactions to anesthesia
- Growth of Keloids
- Discoloration of the hair recipient area
- A raised scar on the donor area
- Post-surgical oedema
Steps to Quick Recovery
After the operation, patients can take some measures to promote quick healing and prevent complications. Here are a few measures to have a seamless recovery.
Exercise is discouraged after a hair transplant as the body requires adequate time for rest and rejuvenation. Exercising soon after the operation puts unnecessary strain on the operated area, which may compromise the success of the procedure. There is also a heightened risk of irritation caused by sweat coming into contact with the scar.
Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that slow down the healing of the operated area of the scalp. Smokers are encouraged to avoid smoking two weeks before the hair transplant surgery and two weeks after.
Alcohol should not be consumed before and after the hair transplant procedure for about two weeks. Alcohol causes blood thinning which makes the clotting process difficult, prolonging bleeding from the scar.
Take Prescribed Medication
A patient is likely to be put on painkillers to manage the post-operative pain and antibiotics to prevent bacterial infection of the scar. Take the medication as prescribed to ensure it is effective
Keep Your Head Elevated
It is important to keep your head in a raised position while resting or sleeping to relieve any pressure that may lead to swelling.
Avoid Wetting Your Scalp
Patients should avoid falling into the temptation of shampooing their hair soon after a hair transplant. Wetting your hair too soon might lead to infection of the scar.
Limit Exposure to the Sun
Exposing the scar zone to the sun can irritate the scar and cause redness. It can cause drying on the scar and prolong the healing process.
Do not Dye Your Hair
Hair dye contains strong chemicals that can easily penetrate the scar tissue and cause irritation and infection.
Healthy food plays a vital role in the growth of strong, attractive hair. Nutrition that favors hair growth such as Vitamin B7, Iron, Zinc, and Vitamin A ensures the growth of quality, healthy hair.
A hair transplant is a generally safe and successful procedure depending on the skills of the surgeon, the technique used, and the efforts of the patient to ensure that they observe all the post-operative guidelines in detail. It can take between several weeks to a year to see the full benefits of the procedure. However, a full head of hair is a great reward for patience.