Before FUT Transplant
There are several necessary steps before an FUT or strip hair transplant that you will need to take in order to prepare for your hair transplant procedure. These simple steps are outlined below and begin 2 months before your procedure.
Two Months Before Procedure
- Hair length – Do not get a very short hair cut or shave your head. Allow for at least 2 months of hair growth prior to procedure especially in the back of your head. Doing so will assure adequate length of the remaining hair in your donor area above and below the strip to cover the eventual horizontal sutured or stapled wound. Hair within the strip will be trimmed with a clipper to approximately 1cm in length to allow for improved handling during counting and placement of grafts
Two to Four Weeks Before FUT
- Scalp Exercises – During your initial consultation, the laxity of your scalp was evaluated. If you have a tight scalp or have had a previous strip procedure you will be instructed on performing scalp exercises to increase the laxity of your scalp. Performing the exercises for 5 minutes twice a day will allow for better closure of the surgical site, reduce the feeling of tightness and improve your donor scar appearance.
How to perform scalp exercises: The first step is to clasp your hands and interlock your fingers then, position them with palms flat on the back of your head. Once hands are tightly placed, press hands forward toward your forehead and hold in this position for 2 seconds. Maintain hands in the same position and move down and hold for another 2 seconds. Make sure to apply enough pressure against your head so your scalp moves up and down. Once completed, move your hands from the back of your head and place them simultaneously above each ear. Again, move your hands up and down and stretch your scalp. Continuing this same up and down movement will stretch the sides of your scalp in preparation for your strip procedure. Please make sure you perform these up and down motions for 2 minutes each time and repeat at least 10 times a day.
Five to Ten Days Before FUT:
- Medical problems – If you have any ongoing medical conditions, please discuss your upcoming hair transplant procedure with your primary care doctor as soon as possible.
- Medications – Once cleared with your primary care physician, hold off on taking medications that may thin your blood and increase the incidence of bleeding during the procedure. Common medications held for this surgery include:
- Antiplatelet medications (Aspirin, Plavix and Pradaxa) due to increasing the risk of bleeding during and after the procedure
- Anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen aka Motrin or Advil and naproxen aka Aleve)
- Anticoagulation medications (warfarin aka Coumadin) and all of the newer anticoagulation medications such as Xarelto.
- Some over-the-counter products also have an anticoagulation effect and they should be avoided before most surgical procedures (Fish oil, vitamin E, Omega 3, St Johns Wart, Gingko)
- Call us – You need to let your hair transplant doctor know if you have any new medical conditions or you have been taking any new medications since your initial consultation with the doctor. This will help the doctor choose medications during your hair restoration that do not interact with your existing medications. If you are not sure about whether to hold a specific medication, please call the office to inquire.
- Return your medical documents – Our office will email you the necessary paperwork to fill out prior to your procedure including the procedure consent form. Please read, sign and forward via email all pages at your earliest convenience. This will give you a head start on the day of your procedure.
Three Days Before FUT:
- Stop Smoking: In the interest of your newly transplanted grafts and healing after your FUT procedure, it is best to abstain from smoking 3 to 5 day before and after your procedure. Smoking tends to cause blood vessels to constrict and may result in decreased blood flow to the scalp thereby delaying strip wound healing.
- Avoid Alcohol: Please refrain from consuming alcohol the day before or on the actual day of surgery. Alcohol in combination with the medications given during surgery may result in an unintended adverse reaction and should never be mixed.
Day of Procedure:
- Dress comfortably – Your strip procedure may last from 5 to 10 hours depending on the planned number of grafts. Therefore, it is important to dress comfortably. Avoid tight fitting clothes such as sweaters and shirts that require you to remove them over your head. Instead, wear front zip-up or button-down shirts to reduce the likelihood of contacting or dislodging your grafts while you remove clothing over your head.
- Wash your hair – You should shower and wash your hair in the morning prior to arriving at our office. Use your regular shampoo but do not apply hair products such as conditioner, mousse, hairspray or gel on the day of your surgery.
- No breakfast – Do not eat after midnight. You may however have clear liquids such as water or apple juice but avoid tea, coffee or other caffeinated beverages. These products will override the relaxing effect of the sedatives given during your procedure. Our office will provide you with brunch/lunch and snacks.
- Planning for after your surgery – You will most likely receive sedatives at the beginning and also throughout your procedure to help keep you relaxed. You will be unable to drive due to the sedation received during the procedure. Please arrange for post-op transportation with a family member or friend. As a courtesy, our office can help arrange a ride home for you if need be.
FUT hair transplant is an outpatient procedure which involves permanent removal of a strip of scalp followed by the closure of the scalp with either sutures or staples. As with most procedures, it can be an overwhelming endeavor. If you need more information, or are unclear regarding any of the above instructions, please call our office. Our trained staff will personally assist you with your questions or concerns.