From an outside perspective, a hair transplant may seem like a harrowing experience. We’re here to tell you that it is a far less painful and stressful procedure than you may think.
You can read a thousand client testimonials and ask top-tier surgeons in the industry, and they will all tell you first-hand that hair transplants are relatively painless and easy to navigate from a patient’s point of view. Of course, your experience will depend on factors such as your personal comfort level with elective surgery, the prestige of your chosen clinic, and the qualifications of your surgeon.
Let’s walk through the ideal hair transplant journey step by step, and map out what a premier experience will feel like from start to finish.
The hair transplant process isn’t just about the day of the surgery. It includes everything from the consultation to the very last follow-up appointment. Leading clinics around the world understand that communication is vital to a good overall experience, and it directly correlates to client satisfaction.
Therefore, a key part of a hair restoration surgeon’s role is to set the right expectations for their clients. That requires a huge degree of transparency and back-and-forth, with no time restrictions on consultation and no cutting corners.
From the very first email inquiry to the initial face-to-face consultation and beyond, the client should feel they have plenty of insight into the reasoning behind every step in the procedure. If you connect with a clinic known for top-tier surgeons and stellar service, your experience should be pleasant and low-pressure from beginning to end.
We know that some of the images of hair transplant surgery may look a bit intimidating, with various high-tech instruments and super-focused professionals at work. But, from the standpoint of the average client, the experience of the actual surgery rates pretty low on the stress scale.
Aside from a tiny pin-prick sensation of the local anesthetic, the only other sensation is a slight “tugging” feeling in the donor area and some pressure in the recipient site.
Additionally, clients have the opportunity to watch movies or shows on a tablet, enjoy music or talk radio, or simply relax and let their mind wander. Since hair transplants can last many hours at a time, it is common practice for the surgeons and patients to take breaks throughout the day, stretch their legs and recuperate for the next round.
Staying calm and collected is vital for the patient during this time since elevated stress levels can result in a rise in tension and blood pressure, making surgery more difficult. The best surgeons in the field are highly conscientious and empathetic to the state of the patient at every stage of the surgery, which helps the client feel more relaxed and grounded.
Recover and Relax
To call the hair transplant recovery process painful would be inaccurate, but there is a certain level of discomfort that the client should expect when navigating this stage. The most common complaints in this period relate to swelling, irritation, and the urge to scratch, especially around the recipient area where new follicles have been placed. Mild discomfort has also been attributed to the donor area, although often reported as a mild throbbing opposed to burning or itching feeling.
To avoid the unpleasant feeling of a healing linear scar across the back of the scalp, more clients are opting for Follicular Unit Excision procedures, which draws from a broader range of donor locations instead of the traditional horizontal “strip”.
Maximizing patient comfort in the recovery phase is key. Here is a shortlist of tips you should follow for the first week or so to help promote proper healing:
- Keep the head in an elevated position most of the time, including during sleep if possible. Tossing and turning can harm the transplant.
- Avoid strenuous activities like heart-pumping exercise, heavy labor, or intercourse. This can dislodge new grafts and set you back.
- Call out of work if you can, or minimize the amount of stress at home. Staying calm and collected will help your body heal more quickly and fully.
- Sun should be avoided at all costs since even short exposure to UV rays can harm the cuts in the skin and result in the loss of precious grafts.
- Sweating is not prohibited, but patients should immediately wash with warm water to clear out any bacteria buildup on the scalp if they find they’re sweating.
- Showering should be brief and should include no vigorous scrubbing of the new hair.
Top clinics will provide additional details to their clients that reflect other specific needs, such as medication and accurate recovery time based on the scope of the procedure. Once the doctors have done their part during the surgery, it is up to the patient to hold up their end of the deal and follow these instructions to the greatest possible degree.
Complications during this stage are rare, but clients should be aware of warning signs such as excessive crusting, scabbing, and bleeding.
After extensive consultation, the patient should have a good idea of what a normal recovery looks like, and how to respond to anything out of the ordinary. Clients are encouraged to stay in close contact with the clinic during the early phases of recovery, and should not wait to call, email, or text the staff if something unexpected comes up.
Once the majority of scabbing and peeling has taken place over the first two weeks of healing, patient discomfort is basically a non-factor. The urge to itch the recipient area will subside as the incisions close and the newly grafted follicles are firmly entrenched within the skin.
At this point, the client will go back to the clinic to follow up with their doctor in person. This is typically a quick one-on-one meeting meant to assess progress and determine the future course of action if required. While this is usually an uneventful meeting, the patient is expected to give a full account of their recovery experience and voice any concerns that may arise.
If everything has gone according to plan, clients are usually cleared to go back to living life as usual, which means getting back to full-time exercise, work, and play.
Clients should generally stay in touch with the clinic in the months following their return to normal living, ensuring ongoing satisfaction and comfort.
Folks from every corner of the world have undergone hair transplants and have loved the results. The blueprint laid out here is generally what a client should expect for the entire process. However, there is certainly a wide spectrum of service when it comes to the HT industry, and the experience can be dramatically different depending on which clinic is chosen.
It is crucial that first-timers are very selective with their clinics and surgeons, and should not hesitate to shop around, read up on reviews, and take their time browsing.
Remember that a consultation does not equate to commitment, and it’s your duty to make a smart choice based on information and intuition.
If you have followed this game plan from beginning to end, your hair transplant should be a breeze and you will be satisfied with the outcome!
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