What to Expect After a FUE Transplant

Many patients undergo a FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplant procedure where individual follicular units are extracted from the skin one at a time. The grafts are removed from the donor area and implanted on the balding areas after being processed and counted under a microscope. One of the main questions patients have is what to expect after their hair transplant. On this page, we’ve tried to post the most common conditions you need to be aware of after your FUE hair transplant:

Time What to Expect What You Should Do
1st night
  • Recipient and donor area may look bruised.
  • In donor area, you will see small red holes where the grafts are harvested that will heal within 2-3 days.
  • Pain is very uncommon after FUE procedures. If present, it generally improves with mild painkillers.
  • Do not touch the recipient area the first night. You don’t need to wash it the first night.
  • Cover your head with the hat we provide while outdoors.
  • Sleep with your head elevated to avoid rubbing off or detaching any of the grafts in your sleep. Putting 3 or 4 pillows to raise your upper body while you sleep will help you achieve the proper elevated angle.
  • Avoid Alcohol the night of the procedure. It may interact with the medications you are prescribed or what you took during the procedure.
Day 1
  • We provide a post-op hair wash in our office for day one. After your hair wash, you will be sent home with a special shampoo and sponge that you should use for the next 4 or 5 days.
  • Redness or pinkish discoloration in recipient and donor area starts to fade. You will have some scabbing that should gradually go away after the first 5 days.
  • You need to learn how to wash your hair during your appointment with us.
  • You don’t need to wash your hair at home after your first hair wash with us. You will resume washing with the method that we show you on day two after your procedure.
Days 2-4
  • Mild bruising or pinkish discoloration and scabbing may continue to be seen in transplanted and donor area. This will fade gradually in the first week.
  • Swelling on forehead and around the eyes will start on days 2 and 3 and it usually will reach its peak at day 4 and subsides after that. We usually provide steroids to be taken for the first few days to minimize the swelling.
  • Avoid touching, scratching or rubbing the transplanted area. Grafts will be stronger in their new home until day 4 after the procedure when they won’t be dislodged by accidental touch any more.
  • Avoid sun exposure for a long period of time. Sunburn may affect the pigmentation of skin and can also damage the transplanted hair.
  • Keep your upper body elevated during sleep to help keep the swelling on the forehead reduced.
  • You can run or walk in the gym after the procedure. Don’t wipe your forehead as that may dislodge your grafts in the first 4 days.
Days 5-7
  • Transplanted area: At this point the grafts are taken and cannot be dislodged. If you still have scabbing, you should wash more aggressively until the scabs are all gone.
  • Donor: By day 7, most people don’t show any sign of a procedure in their donor area.
  • Itching: Some itching and mild burning at this point could be a sign of healing.
  • You can leave the shampoo on longer on the transplanted area (10 or 15 minutes) to make the scabs softer and help you wash them off after the first 5 days.
  • Using skin moisturizer on the scalp can help with itching. If itching is not controlled, the doctor can prescribe a mild topical steroid for it.
  • You can resume all your physical activities and sports after the first 5 days.
Weeks 2-4
  • Hair follicles enter resting phase and start losing their hair shafts.
  • You may see some pimple-like lesions on transplanted or donor area. They are called folliculitis. They behave like regular pimples and usually subside with no intervention.
  • Don’t panic if you shed transplanted hair. Continue washing your hair as you normally do. You can cut the rest of your hair and style it as you desire. You can also dye your hair at this point.
  • If you have more than 2-3 pimples, or if they are painful or inflamed, you should contact the doctor who can incise them for you in the office.
  • Avoid sun exposure that may lead to altered pigmentation of transplanted or donor area.
Months 2-3
  • The transplanted hair starts to grow in as thin and fine hair and becomes longer and thicker within the next few months.
  • Some patients may experience thinning of their existing hair in the area which is referred as shock loss.
  • Continue taking finasteride, minoxidil or any other treatment that the doctor recommended to avoid or minimize shock loss.
  • Treat your scalp and hair normally with regular washing as you always do.
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure.
Months 4-6
  • Newly growing hair starts to become more visible as they grow to become longer and thicker
  • All of the new hairs have grown by this time, but they are not to their final thickness or length.
  • Wear a ball cap to cover your head if you have to go outside in the sun. If you cannot use a cap, wear a strong sun block SPF 30 and over when exposed to the sun.
Months 6-12
  • The transplanted hair continues to grow and becomes thicker and longer so you can style them the way you want.
  • You might begin to see textural changes in the hair from fine baby hair to thick and kinky and then normal hair as it continues to grow.
Months 12-18
  • The final appearance of the hair transplant is visible.
  • Congratulations on making a change in your life. Enjoy your new hair!