How Does a Hair Transplant Work?

Learn what to expect and how to prepare

So, you have been looking for a hair transplant? One of the first things you probably want to figure out is how does a hair transplant work?

We asked hair transplantation experts from our partners to explain to make sure you are 100% prepared.

Here’s what to expect before, during and after your hair transplantation.

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Hair Transplant Day by Day

You wanted to know how does a hair transplant work? We’ll give you the answer here.

Let’s go through your hair transplant day by day.

Hair Transplant Online Consultation

Find a clinic that suits you and your budget

When you have decided to discuss your hair loss with a hair transplant clinic the first step is an online consultation. This need not be with one clinic but can be with multiple. Here at hairlinetransplantation.com we generally facilitate 3 to 4 calls with prospective clinics in the geographical area you want to go to. 

Steps to follow:

 You fill out our quick questionnaire

Here you answer some questions about the extent of your hair loss, if you had a previous hair extension, your hair colour, etc. 

 Connect with one of our experts

You will be connected with one of our experts through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Telegram. We will ask for pictures of your scalp to share with the clinics, as well as your expectations.

 Scheduling of an online consultation with the clinic

We will introduce you to the clinics of your choice to discuss.

During the online consultation:

An online hair transplant consultation with the clinic’s patient advisor takes about 30 minutes and will be conducted through secure video chat. 

Together you will go through the answers provided in the questionnaire and your pictures to gather further relevant information. The patient advisor will also tell you about the different hair transplant techniques like FUT, FUE, DHI as well as non-surgical hair transplant options. 

Based on the online consultation an obligation free offer from the clinic will be provided. 

Travelling to Your Destination

All-inclusive packages

Hair Transplant Clinics connected to us always offer all-inclusive hair transplant packages. This includes an English-speaking driver picking you up from the airport and bringing you to your hotel. Hair transplantation procedures are generally a 3-day process with an in-house consultation, the actual hair transplant day and a clinical washing the day after.

Precautions And Instructions To Follow 1-2 Weeks Before The Procedure
  • Stop using blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs two weeks before the surgery in consultation with your GP
  • Stop taking any type of vitamin supplements 14 days before the scheduled surgery day
  • Stop smoking and alcohol consumption a week before surgery as they can alter healing time
  • Massage your scalp for 10-30 minutes daily for one week before the surgery to improve blood circulation
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How Does a Hair Transplant Work - Day 1

Consultation in the Clinic

The day before the hair transplantation procedure you visit the clinic and meet the hair transplant surgeon to talk through the procedure. During this consultation the doctor will inspect your hair in person and together with you decide the donor area. Make sure you ask any questions you have so that you feel 100% comfortable.

Precautions To Consider 24 Hours Before A Hair Transplant Surgery
  • Wash hair thoroughly using regular hair shampoo and conditioner
  • It is not advisable to go for a haircut
  • Ensure you get adequate sleep before the surgery
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Hair Transplant Day 2

Hair Transplant Day

The surgery day is finally here and the procedure is due in a few hours. You need to be relaxed as you await instructions from your surgeon. Depending on the procedure that you choose for your surgery, preparation could differ slightly. The below timeline gives a general overview of what to expect.

Preparations To Take On The Day Of The Hair Transplant
  • Ensure the meal you take a few hours before the surgery is light
  • Avoid consumption of coffee or caffeinated beverages to reduce the risk of bleeding
  • Do not apply any commercial hair products. Thoroughly clean your scalp
  • Wide collar clothing is advisable before and after surgery to avoid scalp irritation

What to Expect During the Day of the Surgery

1. Hairline Drawing

On the surgery day, nurses and other surgery support staff will wheel you to the room where the surgery will take place. They will further require you to change into a disinfected gown from their facility. A marking pen filled with alcohol-based ink is used to draw borders of your hairline. You will need to approve the drawn hairline before the hair procedure begins.

2. Shaving

Shaving might not be a very crucial step in most hair transplant procedures. Indeed, it is dependent on your preferred technique. Another determining factor will be the total number of grafts that are needed in your procedure. For instance, if you settle for Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), the medic will shave your donor strip in preparation for the hair extraction. In Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), or its variant techniques such as Direct Hair Implantation (DHI), the surgeon will determine if it is necessary upon scanning. All in all, its a good idea to get shaved before a transplant to reduce risks of infection.

3. Local Anaesthetic
It’s important to note that before your hair transplant starts, local anaesthesia could be administered. The surgeon will decide on the areas they need to inject the anaesthesia around donor regions. Additionally, the local anaesthesia could be administered in the regions around the area where some incisions will be done.
4. Graft Extraction

By now you are aware that hair will probably be extracted from your body or scalp. This entirely depends on the hair density of the donor regions on your head. Extraction here is mainly done via a mechanical punch. For the FUT procedure, the donor region will be surgically excised from your scalp.

In some other FUE variants, a mechanical punch is usually used in isolating the hairs that will be extracted. After the isolation, the extracted grafts are individually extracted using sterile medical forceps. Notably, the hair follicles to be harvested depends on the size of your bald regions.

If your bald area is large, the surgeon may remove more hair from a donor site. Immediately after the extraction, the hair will be held in a petri dish filled with a HypoThermosol solution. This could last to a maximum of 3 hours depending on the transplant procedure you chose.

5. Seperating Follicular Units
Separating the follicular units refers to the process by which singular hairs within a follicular unit are separated. Next, they are positioned in a HypoThermosol solution. The surgeon will mainly implant grafts that contain either one or two hairs. This is meant to give a more authentic look. They, therefore, may require to be separated from other grafts. Usually, grafts made of three or more strands per unit area are planted in the back and middle parts of your scalp.
6. Opening Channels
A gauge needle or a steel micro-sized scalpel blade is used to make punctures on the scalp’s surface. This is crucial for opening channels in which the implanting will be done. A pen is however used to combine the implantation and incision steps in the DHI Choi procedure. This process takes a maximum of three hours, depending on the number of incisions and open channels required.
7. Implanting Follicular Units
A gauge needle or a steel micro-sized scalpel blade is used to make punctures on the scalp’s surface. This is crucial for opening channels in which the implanting will be done. A pen is however used to combine the implantation and incision steps in the DHI Choi procedure. This process takes a maximum of three hours, depending on the number of incisions and open channels required.
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Hair Transplant Day 1 Post Operation

Clinic washing in the clinic

The day after surgery, patients should visit the clinic for scalp washing. Nurses will begin by gently rinsing your scalp with warm water. This is followed by the application of a special solution on the blood clots to ease the process of rinsing them off. The nurses practice a protocol that does not inflict damage on the recipient’s site.

Hair Transplant Recovery

Most patients will return to their normal work between 2 to 5 days after an operation. Notably, within the first 3 weeks of the surgery, the transplanted hair could fall out. You will start experiencing new growth in a few months. Most people report new growth in the first six months.

Post Operation Hair Transplant Care

  • Refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking, consuming caffeinated beverages or using anti-inflammatory medicines for the first 7 days after a hair transplant surgery
  • You may need to sleep at an inclined angle of 45 degrees for a week after surgery to reduce the risks of swelling
  • Patients are advised to abstain from taking both cold or very hot showers during the first 2 days after a hair transplant
  • Avoid applying pressure using your fingers or soap on the scalp while showering during the first few weeks after surgery
  • Do not apply water directly to the scalp with force to avoid bruising the incisions and potential swellings as well
  • Patients recovering from a hair transplant should gently pour water from a cup on the scalp to prevent damaging the implanted follicles
  • Patients should request sterile saline spray to apply daily on the scalp using gauze for around 3-4 days after a hair transplant
  • Avoid using a blow drier or application of heat on the scalp, in the first few weeks after the operation
  • Avoid direct sun rays for a week after hair transplant. Be sure to use a cloth or a cap when in direct sunlight

How Long Does a Hair Transplant Take?

From Surgery to Results

Usually, after your hair transplant surgery, your scalp may get some swellings or slight inflammation around the incisions. These swellings are as a result of infections. They will disappear in a few days. This is usually within the first two to three weeks after the procedure.

You will then start seeing some new hairs growing on the recipient sites. We hope that you have learnt some important tips and got answers to the question of how does a hair transplant work? Feel free to reach out to us if you have any more questions!
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