Today we’d like to make the case for why you shouldn’t expect your hair transplant to deliver an instant head of full hair. This doesn’t mean we are saying it’s not worth it, of course. The benefits of medical hair restoration are incredible, and our Hair Doctor teams in Nashville, Memphis, and Louisville have helped many patients achieve satisfying results. We simply want you to have the right expectations.
We live in a society that values instant gratification. No one likes to wait for anything. But to use a well-worn cliche: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Good things come at a cost, both in terms of dollars and in terms of time. And like a bottle of good wine, good hair needs time to mature.
How much time, you’ll ask? See Stages of Hair Growth After NeoGraft if you can’t wait to find out. Or keep reading, we are getting to that in just a bit.
Hair Transplants are Not Like Other Cosmetic Surgery
Of course, not all cosmetic surgery has such a long delay before results kick in. In fact, that’s the whole idea. You don’t want to wait for whatever diet and exercise regime you’ve been told to enroll in to have an effect (which, let’s face it, might be never). Instead you just bite the bullet, have a procedure, and voila: here you are with your new body!
For instance, you won’t find a procedure resulting in a more complete, near-instant transformation than the tummy tuck. However, don’t think there isn’t a downside. As anyone who’s ever had a tummy tuck can tell you, the recovery is a real pain. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it – the emotional benefits are huge. But it’s a trade-off between results, pain, and time.
If you are indeed after an instant and painless fix to hair loss, I have a great solution for you: put on a wig. What’s that? You don’t like my idea? But it gives you a full head of hair! What’s wrong with a wig?
Ok, so we probably don’t really have to explore all the problems of wig-wearing. However fun an excursion into epic wig fails would be, you wouldn’t be visiting this page if you’d seriously entertained it. The point is, you’re really after more than just a full head of hair. My guess is, what you want is hair that is completely your own, attached to your own head, looks and feels and can be treated just like regular hair, and stays that way permanently. What’s more, you want all of this to look completely natural, so natural that no one will have an inkling that this is not the natural way your hair has always grown to begin with.
Managing Your Hair Transplant Expectations
In other words, what you want is a hair transplant! And here is the really awesome part: Having a hair transplant is not at all like the above mentioned tummy tuck. Your recovery will be a relative breeze. You’ll feel physically fine the next day and be able to resume regular activities a few days later as soon as the risk of swelling has passed.
But there is a price to pay for all that awesomeness, and that is your time. Not time taken away in any way from your regular life, mind you. You can go about and do whatever it is you do to your heart’s content, almost from the moment you return home.
What you need, however, is patience. It’s like baking sourdough bread. It involves very little activity from you. You mix together some flour and water to get started, and after that 98% of its goodness comes from the passage of time.
Well, then, how much time?
Phases of Hair Growth After a Transplant
Bearing in mind that everyone is different and that you can’t predict anyone’s outcome with 100% certainty, here is what you should expect:
First 7-10 Days: Recovery
Your physical recovery will take place. You will get detailed instructions of DO’s and DONT’s. By the end of the week the scabs from your extraction punctures will begin to fall off. The hair in the donor area will grow in nicely. Our Hair Doctor team will check back with you frequently during this time to make sure everything is going as planned.
0-3 Months: Shedding or “Dormant Shock” Phase
This is the hardest part of having a hair transplant. Not only does your new hair not grow in the first 3 months, it will actually fall out. Anywhere from 4-5 days to 3 weeks after the procedure, your transplanted follicles will shed. If you are a Hair Doctor patient, this will be no cause for panic, because we will have prepared you for it.
You can expect dormant shock to last longer or shorter depending on the area. The crown typically stays in dormant shock the longest, whereas the hairline tends to grow in first. If you’ve had restoration done to your hairline, it’s not unusual to see it grow in nicely within just 2 months of your procedure.
3-4 Months: Slow-Growth Phase
This is when it gets exciting. Right around the beginning of Month 4, your hair will finally start growing in. At first, it may come in thin and curly. Your transplant areas might look patchy at this stage, as different follicles will still be at different growth stages in their cycle. Again, if you didn’t expect this, you might be alarmed at such wiry-looking hair. Knowing what to expect makes all the difference.
4-6 Months: Real Growth Phase
This is the most exciting stage for most patients. You can expect to see fast growth from the fourth month onwards. Your hair will fill in nicely and you will see a big difference to before. At the end of this phase we check in with our patients again. It’s a happy day, as many are incredulous to see their new photos compared to before.
6-12 Months: “Hair Busting” and Maturity
Amazingly, these great results generally make up only 50% of the expected hair growth, with full growth complete at the 1-year mark or up to 15 months. What happens in this stage is more subtle. Your hair will grow in thicker, with the transplanted hair finally growing at the rate of normal hair, 1-2 cm per month.
As you can see, you need about 4 months of patience to see any meaningful results from your hair transplant, and give or take 6 months for those results to look good. We hope that we have helped you understand exactly what to expect from a hair transplant. We know we have an excellent team that consistently delivers excellent results. But we also know that setting the wrong expectations can doom any effort. This is why patient education is so important to us, and why the highest praise a reviewer can give us is “it went exactly as expected.”
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