Hair grafting is an effective medical procedure required in treating baldness or thinning of the hair. Statistically, men are more predisposed to this medical procedure than their female counterparts since hair loss/ thinning is more associated with the female gender.
Techniques required in the hair graft procedure have transcended from the crude methods of the 1950s to the more advanced and precise procedures of the 21st century. This can be successfully hinged on the advancement of medical procedures. However, the popular modern hair graft technique method remains the Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT) and the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
What is Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)
Follicular Unit Transplant is a procedure that involves the removal of a portion of the hair scalp. This portion is usually found behind the head. The skin is subsequently cut into smaller portions, ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 portions. Each portion may possess a single strand of hair on each follicle, which is subsequently implanted in the bald region.
Follicular Unit Extraction, on the other hand, though a bit similar, involves the extraction of individual hair follicles. The individual hair follicles are extracted from the back of the head and implanted in the holes of the affected area, usually around the hairline.
One major thing to note is that maintaining a hair graft is also as important as getting one. The maintenance of the hair graft will ensure a maximum healing process. The total time required for the hair to grow after the hair graft can range from 4 – 10 months.
Here, the hair post-graft procedure care will be discussed based on a strategic timeline.
At first, the scalp will be numb due to the surgery. Therefore, utmost care is required. A driver is advisable to ferry you home after surgery. In addition, a saline solution should be applied to the scalp during this period. This catalyzes to speed up the healing of the hair follicles and prevent scabs and infection.
While spraying the scalp with the saline solution, a 12-hour interval should be ensured, and maximum rest since it also acts as a sure way of ensuring a speedy recovery. During this period, avoid engaging in risky activities such as alcohol consumption, smoking, high intense exercises, among others.
The hair should be combed only when wet. Maximum care should be taken to avoid direct contact with the scalp, ruining the healing process. In addition, avoid wearing hard hats and helmets during this period. Avoiding these headgears ensures proper aeration, which is needed for the healing process to manifest.
DAY 6 – 10
The scalp is healed enough to require a gentle wash during this period. The post-hair graft numbness and swellings would have decreased significantly. High-intense exercises should still be put on hold, the same as the risky behaviors mentioned in the first five days. Applications of chemicals on the scalp should be avoided. Such energy should rather be channeled into removing scabs and dead skin.
The application of the saline solution should be intensified during the period, as this would ensure that the skin is clean, speed up the healing process, and reduce the itching sensation caused by the formation of scabs and dead skin on the scalp.
DAY 11 -15
This period is characterized by the even formation of scabs on the scalp. The scabs take a tender feel and a pink color. However, this depends on the skin type, as it may last longer, especially on people possessing pale skin.
One doesn’t need to fret during this period, as the scalp undergoes some noticeable changes. The onset of changes is marked with the full healing of the scabs and the scalp by extension. Next is the “shedding off” of hair, paving the way for new and healthy hairs.
Since the hair can be washed thoroughly now, it is important to avoid hair wash with high abrasive properties; the rough nature might compromise the healing process of the hair. When washing the hair, it should be allowed to dry.
Exercises during this period should be mild. This should be done after consulting a dermatologist. However, heavy lifting should be avoided at all costs.
The period is also characterized by a burning desire to touch the scalp. Therefore, the hands must always be in good hygiene. Regular hand washing with sanitizers is highly recommended.
DAY 16 – 20
Frequent visits to the dermatologist is highly recommended during this period. The dermatologist has a close examination of the scalp to check for signs of even healing.
Hair washing remains a delicate process during this period, so also as the quality of shampoo administered to the scalp. When washing the scalp, it must be allowed to dry, and any moisture left can be eradicated with a dry towel.
The administration of saline solution shouldn’t be stopped, even after a uniform healing has been noticed. However, exercises during this period should be minimal, and strenuous activities that may sap the energy required for the healing process of the scalp should be avoided.
If the surgery is a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), the stitches are ready to be removed.
DAY 21 – 3 MONTHS
As usual, visits to the dermatologist are important. In addition, the incisions on the scalp are checked since they must have healed up in an even manner. Proper washing of hands is also important during this period.
Exercises can be carried out, albeit after consultation with the dermatologist. The first set of natural hair starts growing within this period. However, the hair assumes an uneven and patchy outlook. This is due to the uneven nature at which each follicle commences the hair growth.
MONTH 4 – 10
Having a good diet during this period is as important as hair care. Foods rich in vitamins, Omega – 3 Fatty acids, and proteins should be consumed. Such foods include; milk, eggs, fish, chicken, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and avocado. At this point, the new hair must have achieved a thick, natural, and full growth.
The dermatologist is consulted for the final sessions of checkups. However, great care should be taken, especially in combing and shampooing.
In general, these hair care tips vary according to skin type. While some may experience a rapid healing and regrowth, others may experience elongation. One important thing one needs to know is that achieving a definitive hair graft isn’t much of a big deal with the proper medication, diet, and rest.