For many men – and women – suffering from hair loss, getting a hair transplant can be a life-changing experience. There is no doubt that filling in your hair where it has been thinning and receding will make you look years younger and boost your confidence.
However, even if it is clear that a hair transplant can do wonders for their appearance, patients often times shy away from going through with it. Or, at the least, they delay their decision for months, losing valuable time for potential hair growth.
Why do people delay undergoing hair transplantation? It’s simple: they don’t want to or can’t deal with a long recovery.
How do we measure recovery time after a hair transplant?
What we mean by recovery is really a combination of two things. The first is your physical recovery, i.e. how long you need to recuperate to get back on your feet. This is time lost that you’ll have to take off from work and during which you won’t be able to engage in your regular activities.
But there is a second aspect to your recovery, which we might call the aesthetic recovery. This is the time it takes for your scalp to heal so that the marks of the transplant are no longer visible. You may be in perfect physical shape after your procedure, but you may be reluctant to show yourself at work if there are any visible signs that you’ve undergone hair restoration. If you’re self-employed or work outdoors or in a casual environment, you might simply don a hat, but for our patients in a corporate environment this poses a challenge.
Recovery time varies with type of hair transplant
Different types of hair transplants vary in both of these recovery times. With the so-called Strip Method your physical recovery is substantially longer than with an FUE transplant such as NeoGraft, because the trauma of surgically removing a strip of scalp needs time to heal. This is why NeoGraft is so popular with professional athletes who can’t afford to stay off the field for weeks at a time. A NeoGraft hair transplant uses simple pneumatic pressure to extract hair follicles for transplantation. It is so minimally-invasive that most patients are perfectly fine to return back to all of their regular activities, even strenuous exercise, within 2 days of their procedure. Many patients return to work the very next day.
This fast recovery after NeoGraft is wonderful news if you have a busy life and don’t want to be told to take it easy for several weeks. But what about your aesthetic recovery? When can you safely go back to the office without people asking what happened to your head?
Recovery after NeoGraft: Not downtime but playtime
In our experience at the Hair Doctor, patients need 7-10 days of time after their NeoGraft hair transplant. This is approximately how long it takes for the small red marks of transplantation to scab over and disappear. Please bear in mind that there won’t be any scarring. But there will be temporary marks from extracting and re-inserting the individual hair follicles. Depending on the number of grafts, entire areas of your head may be covered in those temporary marks that look like small red dots. Again, if you are willing or able to wear a hat, there is no need to miss much or any work at all. You’ll physically be able to return to your job the day after your procedure. Or perhaps you schedule it on a Friday and return to work on Monday.
But if you work in an office environment with a more formal dress code, you’ll probably want to schedule up to ten days off after your hair transplant procedure. The good news is that you won’t be physically impacted at all. This is why we don’t call it downtime. We prefer to call it playtime. Many of our patients use the opportunity to travel – wearing a hat on the beach is totally acceptable! You can be as active as you want. If you want to lounge in a chair and read a book all day, that’s fine too.
We hope we have answered your questions about the downtime and recovery after medical hair restoration. We know that getting back to work and play is important to you, and our consultants are very flexible to accommodate your timing requests. Please contact us if you have any questions.