FUE: the hair transplantation journey
If you’re considering a FUE hair transplantation procedure, it’s always best to have realistic expectations going in, and the best way to do that is to learn all you can about the journey ahead of you. For example, you may be surprised to learn that your hair won’t be fully restored immediately post-op. Why? Read on for a basic breakdown of the FUE hair transplantation timeline!
- Pre-op prep
Typically, with larger FUE sessions involving 1500+ grafts, the entire back and sides of your scalp will be shaved the morning of your surgery. With smaller sessions, a strip that can be covered by the hair above it may be shaved instead. Regardless, it’s usually best to leave your hair on the longer side to allow for appropriate trimming. Do not shave or cut your hair for at least two weeks prior to your procedure. Additionally, it’s best to avoid alcoholic beverages for at least 3 days before your procedure. Bottom line: follow all instructions given to you by our hair restoration team and you’ll be good to go!
- FUE hair transplantation: the procedure
When planning for your robotic FUE Artas and NeoGraft hair restoration at SpaMedica, it’s realistic to expect an 8-10 hour commitment. We recommend you bring headphones or a good book to keep you occupied.
The FUE hair transplantation procedure is divided into two parts:
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
The first part takes approximately four hours and involves the extraction of 2, 3, and 4-hair follicular units from the back of your scalp. You’ll be comfortably seated in a massage chair recliner. Following harvest, you’ll lay flat on your stomach while the more delicate 1-hair follicular units for your frontal hairline restoration are extracted.
During the second part of your day, we’ll deploy what is known as a “stick-and-place” technique, a method perfected at SpaMedica in Toronto. A small hypodermic needle is used to create a slit between your recipient hairs, or along your frontal hairline, and as the needle is removed, the graft is inserted. This entire process takes 2-4.5 hours, depending on the number of grafts, and results in the densest, most natural-looking hair possible.
- Post-op: aftercare & recovery
In the first 2-3 days post-op, a soft dressing is applied to cover the very tiny donor site extraction holes at the back of your scalp. Patients return on day 2 to have it replaced, and it’s typically removed by day 3, at which point you’ll be shown how to gently wash the area. You can wear a hat if need be by day 3, however it’s important that no fabric touches your transplanted hairs.
From days 3-12, the stubble at the back of your scalp will grow out to the point where the tiny extraction holes are no longer visible. If you have longer hair at the front and sides of your scalp, you won’t need to wear a hat, as your hair will hide the transplanted hairs. If you have shorter hair however, you may need to wait 2 weeks until all the scabs have fallen off to return to work. Most patients return to work within 7-12 days.
- The growth cycle journey
In the 12-14 months following your FUE hair transplantation procedure, you will experience 2 hair growth phases.
The first growth phase: approximately 50% of your transplanted hairs will start growing within 3-4 weeks, while the other 50% often fall out within the first 2 weeks along with your post-op scabs. Not to worry, however, as your hair bulbs have survived and are still inside your scalp.
Second-phase growth: at 4-6 months you can expect to feel a new layer of stubble begin to grow. Your hair will grow longer, thicker, and denser within another 6 months. Bottom line: it’s important to wait until 12-14 months post-op to properly judge the final results of your FUE hair transplantation!
To learn more about the FUE hair transplantation timeline, schedule a consultation at SpaMedica in Toronto today!