How many months is it best/safest to wait between two hair transplant strip surgeries? I mean both for the donor area and the recipient area (so as, in the latter case, to not hamper or kill growth, or cause shock loss and the like). Explanations along with the specific numbers would be greatly appreciated.
I encourage people to wait 1 year between follicular unit hair transplants (FUT). Part of this is for healing to be complete but any quick review of most textbooks discussing wound healing will show a chart that says something to the effect that, by 6 months, most wounds are back to about 85% of their pre-injury strength. If you read further, it usually says they only get to about 90% no matter how long you wait. So, for most hair restoration cases that aren’t unusually tight, I personally feel that it’s not likely to cause any additional significant healing problems in the strip area even were you to proceed with a similar closure at 6 months. That obviously requires good surgical technique and reasonable scalp laxity.
I personally have done a handful of cases at exactly 6 months; always on people who were moving permanently back to the Far East and who had agreed with me this plan prior to their first case. Unfortunately, only 2 or 3 of those people ever stayed in contact with me despite promises to the contrary. But, I can tell you that in those guys there were no surprises. They healed fine, maybe had a “B” scar rather than a “B+ or A”, but no infections etc.
More practically from my standpoint is that I want them to wait so that; A: they know that the surgery “works” prior to handing over more money on faith; B: as a direct result of that, they are way less nervous and the case proceeds more easily; and C: I can see where we need to start and stop the second case. Plus, if there are a couple of areas along the hairline that are a bit thin, I can place a few singles there as needed.
That is my reasoning. Doesn’t mean it works for all hair transplant surgeons, but it never hurts to wait that full year. In fact, I just saw a man Friday who, at 6 months, 2 weeks, has a huge amount of hair growth from 2800 grafts we did earlier this year. He’s already pushing for a crown case. We together agreed to revisit this next May. I told him not to be in a rush to spend that donor hair. Wait and see if one case will be enough. You can always do more later if indicated.
Dr. William Lindsey – McLean, VA
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