I am planning to have a hair transplant in November this year. Unfortunately, I can only take a week off of work post-surgery. In fact, my surgery is on a Tuesday and I return to work the following Monday. Roughly, how long does it take for the recipient area to heal and assume its natural look? By a natural look I mean one can go safely about doing his work without anyone having the slightest clue about the HT. The nature of my work does not allow me to wear a hat to the office. Any pointers on that would be great
There’s a big difference between how a patient looks one or two days after a hair transplant versus how he looks at 7-9 days. However, there are a number of factors to consider when deciding if one week is enough time before returning to work and having every person you bump into stare at your head and start asking questions about what happened.
Most follicular unit scabs have fallen off within the first week but there can be persistent, short stubby hairs just sitting in place. As has been already mentioned, there may also be a slight “pinkness” to both the recipient and donor sites. The issue of recipient sites looking pink is a very individual thing and varies from one patient to another. I find that the vast majority of men don’t have this after a couple of weeks but some of the fair-skinned men do keep it for a few months before it eventually fades.
A major factor in effectively concealing a hair transplant is the patient’s degree of hair loss. Some pre-existing native hair on top can be swept sideways or forward to help camouflage things and a little hair spray helps to hold it in position during the day. If a person has a job in which a hat can be worn, then they can return to work in a couple of days, as long as they are not required to wear a hard hat (I wait a week on those and helmets). The Graftcyte kit can work wonders for many men and have them looking “office-worthy” 7-9 days later. I mention the 9 day interim, because the ideal is to have the hair restoration procedure on Friday and then return a week from that coming Monday, which gives you two extra days.
The most important thing to consider in the above question is how private and paranoid the patient is that another human being on earth will discover that they had a hair transplant procedure. At 9 days I find that the average person looks fine and can return to work. Certainly, someone with a very discerning eye may notice that something has happened but it is not an appearance that will scare women and children. Rather, it’s a subtle thing at the hairline edge mostly. If a man is a shiny bald Norwood VI, then certainly he’s standing out in the middle of the field naked and probably does need two weeks to heal up enough that things aren’t that noticeable.
Mike Beehner, M.D.
David – aka TakingThePlunge
Assistant Publisher and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum
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