Hair Transplant Timeline: The Tips and Essentials
Hair transplant timeline is a necessary tool for patients to have an idea of how things are going to be like in the, well, next year. From the moment you have made your decision, you will try to get pieces of information together to have a rough idea about estimates.
We believe if you can grasp the timeline efficiently, things will be easier. Therefore, we prepared this guide and explained every detail you should be aware.
Determining The Technique: FUE or FUT?
If you believe you are ready to permanently fix your hair loss problem, this will be the first question to answer. Each technique has advantages and it is better the more you know about each.
In our article “Best Hair Restoration Method: FUE vs FUT“, we have discussed each method in detail. Here is an infographic for you to see the comparison.
Briefly, FUE type of hair transplants leaves no linear scar at the back of your head. Furthermore, this technique delivers a more natural look. Compared to the FUT, FUE is more expensive. Also, it requires the surgeon to work more carefully.
On the other hand, the FUT technique is cheaper. The surgeon gets a linear strip from the back of your head and then prepare grafts for planting.
Every person has different needs and wants, therefore you choose the method according to yours. So, your journey begins with this decision.
Choosing A Clinic
After choosing the method, based on your budget, you pick a clinic. We believe this is the most important part of your journey. Everything happens from now on to the next decades depends on your clinic choice.
Therefore, spending more time researching and making the comparison between different options increase the outcome of your journey.
Our article “Choosing Your Hair Transplant Surgeon” explains our strategy on how to choose your doctor. However, that is only a blueprint and you should build your own strategy.
As you do that, that guide can help you construct your own strategy more efficiently. Here is a simple visual to explain what we explain there briefly.
Before The Operation
In this stage, you have already chosen a clinic and booked a date. In most cases, your clinic provides you with the necessary information.
We respect each clinics methods and therefore recommend following their instructions strictly.
The best thing you can do is relaxing. It is vital to stay away from reading more information prior to your procedure. Because the more you need, the more you get confused.
The worst thing is feeling panicked and start thinking if you have made a mistake. As long as there is a crucial problem with the clinic, you should only concentrate on making the surgery go excellent and prepare for post-surgery.
We believe if you don’t feel comfortable with your decision, it might be due to insufficient research. When you make extensive research and know the entire journey, you realize that it is not very confusing after all.
Once you visualize the whole process means you are very close to success.
Therefore, you will see that even before the surgery, you must be planning post-surgery to increase the efficiency of your procedure.
The Day Of The Surgery
The anesthetics will help you feel less pain. We see a lot of advertising claiming it is painless. That is untrue. This procedure takes at least 5-6 hours and there will be times you will feel stressed and pressure on your scalp.
In most clinics, they provide pills to make you feel relaxed. That really helps.
If you feel pain, and can’t take it anymore talk to your doctor. In most cases, the actual pain combines with stress. As a result, you feel more pain than there actually is.
It is vital to let your doctor know and stop if necessary. Your surgeon might be too focused on the task. They might not be aware of your pain or, they might want to avoid stopping.
No matter why, you are in that position, communicate with the team.
In most cases, the patient remains silent. He doesn’t speak for the sake of the operation. That stress causes the outcome to be poor and you are hurt for no reason. It reduces the natural look in the end and your healing time gets longer.
Moreover, it gets more difficult to tend to your wounds after the surgery.
But, if your doctor stops when there is too much pain and you rest, your stress dissolves. You feel stronger in a short amount of time and the procedure becomes less painful and easy.
After The Surgery
Your doctor will explain to you which medications to take, what to do and when to take shower. You will be tired, but the most difficult part will be over. From this point on, you can start focusing on healing.
If you had a FUT surgery, the aftermath is a little different. Since the procedure requires extracting a linear strip, you will have a bigger wound.
Sleeping might be uncomfortable first few days because the scar is on the back of your head. It just takes a week or so for your scar to heal enough that you can return to your normal sleeping ways.
The planted area will be bleeding time to time depending on the surgery. The first few days, the anesthetics might be leaking from the micro scars. That is normal. After the bleeding and leaking stops, your healing process will be less discomforting.
Also, just a quick reminder; every person is different and your experience might be different than our timeline. However, for everyone, we recommend taking the first week easy.
That doesn’t mean sleeping all day, but when the pain is not there, you might forget and do something you’d normally do.
And that might cause bleeding. To prevent that, doing everything slowly is essential.
The First Three Months
First and most important tip: Don’t get discouraged in the first three months after seeing the results. Concentrate on only healing in that period. Your implants will start healing and adapting to the recipient area.
Your hair will fall and that is very normal.
Because the idea is not transferring the follicles, but rather their roots. Therefore, since adapting to the new area takes a few weeks, your roots won’t be sensitive immediately. As a result, your hair follicles will fall because of insufficient nutrition.
You might experience swelling and shedding in this period. As it can be bothersome sometimes, it is just the part of the process. After a while, you have less swelling.
It is crucial to spot uncommon scars or problems in the area. Your surgeon has a better chance of fixing it the sooner you tell him.
Now, since your hair follicles are transferred in an unnatural way, they will experience a shock. That is a natural part of the process where the implants cause a shock in the area. That will be followed by the adaptation of new hair roots.
This happens usually in the first two or three weeks.
Starting the third week usually, you will experience shedding. As we explained earlier, the nutrient flow will be insufficient and the new hair will be rejected by the scalp.
Consequently, your hair follicles will fall. From that period to the 4. and 5. month, your surgery area will remain bald.
In the fourth month, you will start seeing very thin, baby hair follicles. If the recipient area was your crown, it takes a little longer. So, it is safe to say you can expect your first follicles in 4-6 months.
You will have complex feelings. If you feel discouraged by the look of the new follicles, try ignoring it. That is only the first round. From the shedding until seeing first follicles, your hair goes into the telogen phase.
Telogen phase is the resting stage of the hair cycle.
Let’s quickly remember the anagen and telogen phases. The anagen phase is basically when you have the hair. From 2 to 6 years, your hair constantly grows. You usually get many haircuts to shape the same group of hair follicles.
When this phase is longer, you get longer hair. If you can’t have long hair, that is probably because your anagen phase is short and you can’t grow the same follicle long enough.
This phase follows the shedding. Your hair root adapts its new place and starts making the connections to produce healthy hair follicles. Meanwhile, your hair root is in resting phase.
Telogen phase takes approximately 100 days, a little more than three months. That is the reason why your hair starts to appear after four months.
After the telogen phase, the anagen phase begins. So, before the telogen phase is complete, hair can’t grow. Therefore, you have to wait until the telogen phase to finish for the hair to begin the anagen phase.
With the beginning of the anagen phase, thin hair follicles also begin to appear.
The Maturation Period
After the 8. month, you should start seeing thicker hair follicles. Now, the thin follicles become thick, natural looking hair follicles. Additionally, they are ready to be styled by you.
If your hair follicles are curved, don’t worry about it. As the scars heal, that curve will become its original self. It is just a transformation phase.
You still can’t see the full outcome of the surgery. There is still 20-25% of hair follicles to grow. Therefore, it is crucial to wait just a few months to finally have a decent idea about the hair.
After A Year
After a very long journey, you have come to the very end of the timeline. By now, you should be able to grow your hair with full potential and the result you see is permanently there. Your hair is back to its normal cycle and hopefully looks great.
If there is a problem and you are concerned about the result, you should immediately talk to your surgeon. It is a natural part of the surgeries that sometimes things don’t go as planned. Or, sometimes you need or want more. Either case, there are things you can do.
Depending on the problem, you might start using Finasteride or Minoxidil as a first solution. They help to prevent hair loss and make the area look denser.
However, if they can’t help you or, you want another surgery, you can talk to your doctor to see what else can be done. We sincerely hope that you don’t need to consider these steps and everything went perfectly.
A Final Reminder
We have shared our ideas in many of our articles about hair loss. We believe hair loss is both controllable and uncontrollable. We recommend you shouldn’t worry about things like genetics too much. If it falls, eventually, it falls.
Nonetheless, for the things you have control on, you might want to be aware and active.
Hair transplants are permanent, however, your original hair is not. When your hair loss continues, it might cause a need for a new surgery or, treatments.
Therefore, the more you prevent hair loss, the less you have to worry about them. Changing your lifestyle and reducing stress can be very effective to stop hair loss.
The right balance of them combining with other factors form a healthy hormone structure, and you keep your hair loss under control.
Ultimately, you have gone all this trouble and got the ending you wanted. We believe it’s worth doing something about it rather than letting it happen again. After all, this is a very long journey.
If you make the right decisions and protect the outcome, you will have the most out of your journey. Otherwise, you might have to restart and that never feels good.