This is a common question we get at the clinic. Below you can read about the different stages of healing and growth after your hair transplant!
Early healing stages- First week after transplant
During the first couple days after a procedure, you will see the grafts scab over. The recipient area has lots of dried blood and scabs for the first week. One week after the transplant, you can wash your hair normally and start to rub the scabs off. Sometimes the grafts will start to fall out at this point as well. Many people will see some amount of swelling, especially if grafts are placed in the hairline. The extraction sites will close up in the first few days post procedure. The donor area will look well healed by about a week out from the procedure.
Later healing stages – 1 week to 1 month after transplant
Sometime between about a week and a month post procedure, the grafts will fall out. This is a normal part of the healing process and the stem cells that signal the body to grow a new hair are already healed in the recipient sites. Any swelling will have come and gone by about a week to a week and half after the procedure. After the first week or two, patients can resume basically all normal activities including exercise. For many patients, this time period is one of visual healing where the redness in the recipient area starts to fade, and the donor area starts to look fully healed. For some patients, there is some lingering slight redness where the grafts were placed, just due to irritation of the skin. It is possible to see some “shock loss” of native hair during this phase. Shock loss refers to the shedding of native hair after a transplant due to the inflammatory healing processes. This hair comes back.
Early growth phases- 1 month to 6 months
Early growth phases usually start around 3 months for patients. For some people, they notice growth as early as a month or two post procedure. Growth usually begins as very thin, wispy hair that thickens as the months go by. Grafts grow in at different rates, so usually the first 6-8 months is a period of seeing most of the grafts begin to emerge out of the tissue. The growth will be thin during this time as the grafts are in very early, immature growth phases. Any shock loss that was experienced after the transplant begins to come back during this time. Many times the grafts, as they begin to emerge, are not only thin but have a slightly different texture or feel compared to the native hair. This will change over time, but for the early stages, there can be a different feel to the grafts for some patients.
Later growth phases- 6 months to 24 months
This is the time period that all the grafts emerge from the skin and get to their most mature growth phases. This means the hair fully thickens up and begins to take on more of the properties of the existing native hair. If there are differences in the texture between the grafts and native hair, those begin to fade away during this time frame. Full growth is slightly different patient to patient, but occurs somewhere between 12-18 months. Growth in the crown is always slower than in the hairline. However, it can take up to 24 months for some patients to see their grafts get into their most mature growth phases, which is when the hair fully settles in.