Summer is in full swing here at the Jersey Shore. The July 4th weekend was full of sun, BBQ and relaxing by the pool. A 3-day weekend is like a lifetime of vacation for a self-described work-a-holic like me. Once in a while my wife even forces me to take a full week off from work! I bring up vacation because many patients ask how long the hair transplant recovery time is after undergoing the NeoGraft FUE (follicular unit extraction) procedure.
Hair Transplant Healing Time
I would say that it depends on what the patient means by “recovery.” Medically, recovery would mean that the wounds are healed and the patient is well on their way to resuming normal activity. After the NeoGraft procedure, the wounds on the scalp are mostly healed by day 3-4 after surgery. The hair follicles are safely incorporated under the scalp. The risk of infection by this point is pretty low. Pain is pretty much a non-factor by this point and the patient can resume regular activity including work. Now this can vary by patient, as someone like me (Type-A Surgeon) went to work the next day, but most people take a few days off.
Hair Transplant Results
When speaking about hair transplant recovery time, if the patient considers recovery as meaning how long until there are no signs they had surgery, it would be more like 7-10 days. The most visible signs of the procedure are the scabs from where the grafts were placed and the donor sites on the back of the head. We need to shave the donor site very closely to see the hair we will harvest. The hairs we don’t harvest grow back very quickly. By one week after surgery, the hair has grown back enough to cover the places we took the hair from. The scabs over the grafts will be the last reminder of the surgery. These scabs take about 7-10 days to fall out. It’s very important to let them fall out on their own so the grafts don’t become dislodged.
Some patients don’t want anyone to know that they had surgery and some don’t care if others know. By 9 months after surgery everyone will notice how much more hair you have! If you want to keep your hair transplant procedure to yourself, I would recommend no social interaction or work for 10 days to 2 weeks in order to fully recover from your hair transplant. This should allow for everything to return to normal. If you don’t mind the curious looks and questions, it’s pretty safe to return to work or be social by 2-3 days after surgery. Either way in 9 months you will be happy that you decided to go through with the surgery!