Most people believe that the success of any surgery, whether medical or cosmetic, is solely determined by where you have it and who performs it. Yes, the location (as in the clinic) and the expertise of your surgeon can also determine the success of the surgery, but the bottom line hinges on what the patient does after the surgery.
A hair transplant is a process that doesn't end the day you walk out of your surgeon's door. The other part of this process, which is recovery, has to be done by the book. This means that as you heal, you have to follow your doctor's advice carefully. Yes, your doctors will give you a to-do list that will help quicken the recovery process at the same time promoting hair growth.
To find out about some of the most common post-operative instructions to expect, continue reading this article.
Generally, a quick google search can reveal millions of results on the effects of smoking on the body. In this case, smoking can affect your newly transplanted hair follicles by disrupting the blood flow to the hair follicles. This will also lengthen the wound healing process.
After the surgery, there is a great need for healthy blood flow so as to promote proper hair growth and healing. Your head just had thousands of tiny incisions, so after coming all that far, you don't want to mess it up by doing something that will disrupt the whole process.
As you may (or may not) know, the carbon monoxide in the smoke will affect your blood vessels by decreasing their ability to carry oxygen. The ability of the body to heal is affected when this happens. Instead of healing swiftly, the healing will drag more than expected.
When the body takes time to heal, the crusts covering your newly transplanted hair follicles will also take longer to fall down —and this means that they won't be sufficient oxygen supply on the hair and this may inhibit any hair growth.
This is the reason why most doctors recommend their patients to avoid smoking two-three weeks prior and after the hair transplant surgery.
Just like smoking, alcohol also has a negative effect on your blood. Alcohol can affect the blood's ability to clot as well as thinning of the blood.
If you are an alcoholic and you have been drinking alcohol days before the surgery, then your doctors might face a challenge on the day of your surgery as tiny incisions made on your head may bleed a lot. When you book a consultation, you must inform your doctor if you have been taking anything that can thin your blood, it could be vitamins or any medications. After the surgery, you may still experience bleeding if you take in alcohol immediately after the surgery.
In some instances, surgeons may prescribe antibiotics to limit the risk of infection after the transplant, so if you mix it with alcohol, the medication will be less effective. Besides, this can cause other unnecessary dangers such as headaches, drowsiness, and fainting.
After the transplant, patients are recommended to have good nutrition and sleep so as to promote a quick and smooth recovery process. But if you take anything alcoholic, your sleeping schedule may be disrupted, and alcohol will prevent your body from taking in some nutrients which are needed during the recovery process.
Most people do not understand why the surgeons instruct them to abstain from sex for a week after having gone through a hair transplant surgery. As cruel as it may sound, it's for the patient's own good.
During sex, it's normal for your blood pressure to increase, and this also translates to a higher chance of bleeding. Although there are no extensive studies pertaining to this, it is believed to be true.
A day after the surgery, your newly transplanted hair grafts will be working on regaining blood supply, so any physical or rather vigorous activity may disrupt the process. So this also means that you will have to stop going to the gym or exercising for at least 14 days. Vigorous bodily movement can also cause your hair grafts to fall out, leading to bleeding.
So while it may be tempting to get steamy with your partner a day or two after the surgery, it's best to follow your surgeon's advice and abstain for a couple of days.
Avoid sun exposure
A few months after the surgery, you will still have to protect your head from your the sun, your surgeon will recommend. This is done to prevent your head from sweating —as sweating can cause a bacteria that may affect your skin resulting in an infection.
Sweating may also cause an uncomfortable sensation on the skin of your head, and chances are you will be tempted to rub or scrub your head. Scrubbing or rubbing your head after a hair surgery is a no-go-area.
If exposed to the sun, a head that literally had thousands of tiny incisions may have its tissues damaged, resulting in prolonged healing time.
To avoid sunburn, you can wear a hat whenever you go out of your home, or use a sunscreen when you are outside.
Don't expect to have the desired hair transplant results if you do not follow the advice of your surgeon. Here are some things to avoid after having hair transplant surgery:
- Having a sauna/steam baths
- Eating spicy and salty foods (garlic and multivitamins)
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in August 2019.