This question was posed by a hair loss sufferer seeking hair loss help on our hair restoration forum and answered by Dr. Michael Beehner of Saratoga Springs, NY. Dr. Beehner is one of our recommended hair restoration physicians. His professional answer is below.
How long after hair transplant surgery can you wear a hairpiece over the recipient area? Also what system: tape or clips?
In my own hair restoration practice, and in those of several highly respected hair surgeons I have spoken with, we insist on the hairpiece staying off for a minimum of one week after a hair transplant procedure, and then, after that week is up, to wear it only as necessary for work or social engagements. This almost always means using a clip attachment for the back and sides and being able to peel back the front for cleaning purposes and then use two-sided tape to hold it to the forehead. It’s important that the clips be moved from place to place, so that the same clump of hairs is not being tugged on all the time, or else traction alopecia can occur and a small bald circle of permanent baldness can develop in those spots.
Of course, the best course of action, if the patient is brave enough to do it, is to get rid of the hairpiece for good after the first transplant, but only around 10-15% of hairpiece wearers follow this course.
The reason for the above is that a certain percentage of hairpiece wearers that are transplanted, probably 20 % of them at least, get somewhat poorer hair growth than the typical non-hairpiece wearing patient does. The reason or reasons for this are not known for sure. Several theories are thrown out. A “shuffling” effect of the hairpiece over the new hair stubs is probably the most likely one, in somehow hurting the follicle’s getting established in the scalp. Increased temperature or presence of bacteria have also been proposed but seem unlikely to me. The other visual problem in evaluating hair regrowth when a hairpiece wearer returns for a visit is that the hair is matted down from the hairpiece and appears less than it is on that score alone.
Mike Beehner, M.D.