Every patient who has subjected him/herself to a hair restoration procedure would really look forward to the results even before the actual surgery happens. On the other hand, the following is an ideal hair transplant timeline:
Day 1 to 7 Days Post-Hair Transplant
The day after the hair transplant procedure and a week after it, the patient will experience pain and swelling on the forehead. The pain starts immediately after the effects of anesthesia have waned down. Taking the analgesics that the surgeon has prescribed can relieve this pain. Mild swelling occurs a few days after the surgery. Again, this is relieved by taking anti-inflammatory drugs.
Aside from pain and swelling, the development of small blood clots in the incision sites is most likely to occur. There is nothing to worry about this as it is a normal response of the body, eventually, these blood clots will just fall off like scalp flakes in five to seven days.
Signs of redness over the area will last for about a week, it will subside to being pinkish in the succeeding weeks. Patients during this time may need to set their hair transplant expectations on a minimum level since the results of the transplanted hairs, if ever they will grow or not, is still obscure.
From Day 7 up to Day 14
Approximately two weeks after the transplant, the staples can already be removed if this is the technique that the doctor used in closing the incision over the donor site. During these times, the pain, redness and swelling must have already subsided.
On the other hand, three weeks after the procedure, there might be some shedding of the transplanted hairs, which is commonly termed as “shock loss.” This occurrence is greatly normal as part of the dormant phase of the hair grafts. Shock loss is temporary; the transplanted hair grafts will grow new hair soon.
1 to 3 Months Post-Op
This is the stage where everything gets exciting for the patient since new hair sprouts are beginning to grow. Although this growth spurt may differ from one patient to another, generally, the average time frame for the new transplanted hairs to begin growing is three months. The growing hair may be thin and very fine at first, but this will eventually become thick.
In addition, patients may notice small bumps or acne-like formations on the recipient area. This is normal, and the bulge is due to the upward push of new hair in the scalp. Sometimes, these bumps may look like ingrown hair, but patients must not be worried as this will just pass, and is even a positive sign that the hair is indeed growing.
5 – 6 Months Post-Op
During these times the hair should have grown to a 2-3 inch length and the hair shafts should have thickened. These hair transplant results are absolutely normal, and what every patient must do is to protect his or her growing hair, preventing it from too much sun exposure and avoiding any strong chemicals such as dyes to the hair as of the mean time is advised.
Patients during this time usually compare this hair growth result to their hair transplant expectations, therefore gaining a picture of whether the hair transplant is most likely a success of not.
8 – 10 Months Post-Op
About close to one year after the surgery, the patient would already be able to tell a huge difference between his/her hair condition before the surgery and after. The hair’s density would be much thicker and longer than the months before.
One-Year Post Hair Transplant Timeline
Although as mentioned, hair growth may very from one patient to another, it is in this time (one year) after the surgery that the results are best seen and evaluated. The transplanted hairs on the patient’s scalp should have grown healthily by this time. Otherwise, the hair transplant timeline is considered a failure and the procedure must be repeated.
On the other hand, the hairs that are growing will continue to grow across the lifespan of the patient. However, there are some cases wherein the hair of a patient may begin to grow thinner, especially when he/she is aging. The thinning of hair years after the hair transplant surgery may be attributed to various other external and internal factors, which are not related to the hair transplant itself such as, aging, use of chemotherapeutic drugs, and other medical conditions that may lead to hair loss.
The transplanted hairs should be cared for like any normal, natural hair. Using styling hair shampoos, other hair enhancing products, and having it cut or styled is absolutely allowed. Usually, if the surgeon has skillfully transplanted the hairs, it will look so natural not even the hair stylist could notice the difference.