DAY # 0 The night of surgery:
SLEEP: Sleep on your back for 4-6 consecutive nights using a pillow. It is best to sleep at about a 45 degree angle with 1 or 2, or more pillows to elevate your head. You may sleep on the donor area. You may want to use a rolled towel for neck support. I recommended that you put a blue pad or black towel on your pillow to prevent the pillow from being stained.
ICE: Start by applying ice packs on the lower forehead just above the forehead. Crushed ice in a bag, a cold blue gel pad, frozen peas or frozen corn all work well the day after surgery. Apply the ice for about 5 minutes at a time. You can start icing the night of your surgery and continue to ice 4 or 5 times a day for the first 5 days or so after surgery.
Do not touch the grafts in the recipient site using any ice pack. Ensure that the ice pack remains on skin around transplanted grafts not directly on graft recipient sites.
Excessive swelling is to be expected. It May occur 2-3 days after surgery and will pass. DO NOT BE ALARMED. When swelling occurs, it usually lasts for 3-4 days. Swelling may start in the front of the forehead and possibly occur around the eyes. Swelling may also occur in your cheeks or lower face. Depending on the patient, the amount of swelling and discomfort varies. No matter how much swelling you get or how it affects your appearance, IT IS NOT DANGEROUS!
Days #1 and #2:
Do not touch the recipient area: Remove the bandage if one was applied from the donor area on Day2. Clean the donor area with water, pat dry.
DAY#3 and Day #4:
You can start spraying the top of the head (recipient area) with water or saline.
On the third morning after surgery you can take your first shower from the neck down. NO WATER PRESSURE IS TO HIT THE NEWLY IMPLANTED GRAFTS (RECIPIENT SITE, LOCATED AT THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD) FOR THE FIRST 10 DAYS.
Instead, fill a cup with water. Pour the water all over your head. It’s ok to get everything wet. You can shampoo the donor area only as per usual. You do not have to worry about getting the back of the head wet . It will be tender but you can get a good lather going gently. Don’t dig in your nails, use your fingertips.
Rinse thoroughly by pouring lots of water all over your head with a cup. On the transplanted area (area with the red dots) you can clean using a water only.
DO NOT SUBMERSE YOUR RECIPIENT AREA UNDER WATER. You can rinse the entire donor area and allow it to soak it for a few minutes.
Day #5 and Day #6:
Pour soapy solution all over your head several times (Recipient and Donor). Then dab gently with slight vertical pressure to create a bit of lather. Do not rub across. Rinse with clean water several times using a cup to pour water over the recipient site.
You may towel dry the donor area but it will be tender so be gentle. In the transplanted area gently pat dry, do not rub. You may notice some oozing or discharge from the transplanted area. This is considered normal.
You can pour the soapy solution all over your head including the recipient site several times with the use of a cup and then rinse with clear water using the cup to pour, do not allow direct water pressure on the recipient area. This can be done daily.
Day #7 ONE WEEK AFTER SURGERY & BEYOND
You can stand under the shower and let light water pressure hit the top of your scalp including recipient site. Gently shampoo the top of your head with your fingertips but DO NOT DIG IN with your finger nails. USE THE PALM OF YOUR HANDS TO WASH. To gently expedite removal of crusts, apply hair conditioner first. Let the conditioner sit on top of your head for two or three minutes, then wash it out. After you rinse out the conditioner, you can then use shampoo. The crusts should start to fall off and feel like break crumbs, allow them to fall off in their own time do not pick at them. You may see a hair in the crust, do not worry the root/graft is firmly in place.
Some numbness on the top of your head may be felt for a few days, up to a few weeks. This is normal. This change in sensations means you must be careful not to hit your head. You will want to be extra careful when getting in and out of cars. To avoid occidentally hitting your head, put your hand on the frame of the car and use your hand as a reference to enable you to fully duck when entering the car.
When you bend down to pick up something, make sure you keep your head up and bend at the knees, as opposed to your waist. When combing your hair, make sure you look in mirror and keep the comb from scratching across the grafts. If you put on a hat make sure you look in the mirror and keep the hat from rubbing the transplant.
The donor area (back of your head), usually feels tender or tight for a few days after surgery. There will also be a numb or tender feeling for a couple of months. Regular sensation will return within a few months. A pulling sensation will be evident especially around the sides of the head. Every patient’s level of sensitivity is different.
Some of the non-transplanted hair may fall out, referred to as shock loss. This can happen in the recipient area or donor area. If it happens, don’t worry as the hair will grow back. Shock loss, if it happens, starts about two to four weeks after the transplant.
In order to prevent infection, try to avoid exposure to dirty environments for one to two weeks after the procedure. Try to leave the transplanted area open to the air as much as possible. Try to avoid using a hat or hairpiece as much as possible.
Crusts will begin to fall off 7-10 days following the procedure. Do not pick the crusts off, let them come off naturally. It is normal to get pimples in the recipient area a few weeks after transplant. This is NOT an infection. Pimples are created when the hair graft pushes through the skin.
You can soften the pimple with a warm compress for a few days. Then, you may gently squeeze out any discharge which will be yellow or white. This is normal.
For the first four weeks after the procedure avoid strenuous exercises, heavy lifting and significant alcohol. Failure to follow these instructions could affect the results of your surgery.
You can go for a walk a day after surgery. You can start sweating, running and jogging two weeks after surgery. You can lift weights 4 weeks after surgery but should avoid flat heavy bench press exercises for one month after the surgery. Try to avoid excessive tension on the donor area for at least one month after surgery.