The following thorough response to a question from the Hair Restoration Social Community and Discussion Forums, was written by forum member “Gillenator”.
I’m three days post-op and just now starting to scab up. I know scabbing is a common part of the hair transplant process, however I’m unsure if scabbing around the transplanted hairs in the recipient area will harm the outcome and/or health of said hairs.
Should I try to avoid scabbing by misting the recipient area with saline water, as this might ensure a better outcome for future hair growth, or is scabbing merely a cosmetic nuisance, in that people dislike scabbing because it is makes the recipient area ‘ugly’ and stand out? Or does scabbing have no impact on the outcome of the procedure, so long as you perform all the post-op instructions ordered by hair restoration physician? Thanks so much, this website was so helpful in picking out a surgeon!
Scabbing is a normal aspect of the healing process and really cannot be avoided but can at times be managed successfully. What I mean by that is many hair loss doctors/clinics will advise their patients to keep their grafts or the recipient area moist by spraying the area with saline or some other form of post-op healing spray such as Graftcyte to facilitate the healing process. The idea is that “the more the healing process is facilitated”, the sooner the scabbing and crusts can be removed. Water in itself can help facilitate the healing. Saline is often recommended because of its sterile solution and can be purchased at very little cost.
A few doctors are not of the opinion that spraying the area with saline will keep the grafts moist but if the application is done frequently enough throughout the day, they can. I know this firsthand from my own experience having 4 separate hair transplant procedures. Solution spaying is usually recommended for at least 3 days following the procedure. Pouring a diluted shampoo mixture over the area will also be of benefit and is also frequently recommended in most post-op care instructions.
Scabs and crusts are two different things. Scabs are dried blood and crusts are dead graft tissue from the tips of the grafts above the scalp line. Most post-op instructions will advise their patients to allow the crusts to remain for at least one week or so post-op (7-10) days depending how the healing manifests.
The recipient incisions for the most part are micro in size and heal rather quickly for most individuals and why after one week, the crusts are ready to be removed. Scabbing usually comes off sooner than the crusts. Crusts can be removed by getting in the shower and getting the recipient area covered with shampoo suds with room temp water for five minutes or so to soften the crusts. They can be removed more easily that way by simply using your fingertips to rub them off and rinsing.