What is the healing process?

Please provide information about the healing process after hair transplant, please provide details about the stages.

Category: General Hair Transplant FAQs

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Post-operative healing from a hair transplant depends on the procedure type. Older hair transplant methods require long durations of convalescence. More recent hair transplant methods like FUT and FUE are not nearly as demanding in the post-op process. However, there are still major differences.

A FUT hair transplant involves extracting a large swath of follicle-dense tissue, typically from the back of the head. Patients must take major considerations to care for and treat the extraction site, which requires three months or more to heal. Care, maintenance, and paying overall attention to the extraction site are challenging, as it typically is at the back of the head and requires some mirror work, or help from a friend or loved one, to remain aware of its state.  

FUE, meanwhile, involves a myriad of small extractions. Such a small extraction size enables far quicker healing. Additionally, Dr. Cole's namesake FUE variant, Cole Isolation Technique (CIT®), is among the least invasive forms of FUE available. CIT® is in fact so minimally invasive that it is the only FUE type that leaves follicular stem cell remnants; 30% to 40% of which regenerate with the addition of ACell, a post-operative healing aid, an unparalleled increase in a transplant's average yield. CIT® extractions also leave less scars and, typically, require less time to heal in comparison with generic FUE.

Patients must still be cautious, however. The first few days after the procedure are critical and may require some serious adjustments in the patient day-to-day: think sleeping at an upright angle for half a week, avoiding direct sunlight, and abstaining from strenuous activity. Adhering to any and all post-op instructions is critical for a good result: FUE follicle transplants do not fully anchor into the scalp until 10 days to two weeks; when patients may start lightly rubbing away at any scabs with a moisturizing lotion.   

That mentioned, most people after a FUE procedure can complete near all work-related tasks the very next day. Within two weeks they can safely pursue whatever activities they choose without risk of dislodging grafts. Some complications may develop in a small portion of patients, especially swelling or shock loss. Swelling varies in severity but can effect the scalp, forehead, eyes, and cheeks, and almost always subsides within 72 hours of rest. Shock loss, or the temporary loss of non-transplant hair, happens within a minority of patients but experts such as Dr. Cole take precautions to limit this side-effect.

Within two to three weeks the transplanted hair will begin to shed. This happens to all patients and is not shock loss. In most instances, transplanted hair starts to grow between two and five months after a procedure. The transplanted hair will thicken, and grow at a faster rate, six to nine months after the procedure.

Dr. Cole's unique variant of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) with five to eight times the growth factors, Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP), is dramatically hastening recovery times. Most transplant patients who receive CRP show follicular activity within a few months and 99% activity in four and a half months, five and a half months faster than patients recovering without CRP.

Click on the links to learn more about the CIT® healing process, the effects of CRP, or to contact us with your unique questions.  


Scabs from the procedure will normally fall off the donor area within three to five days and the recipient area in seven to ten days. Dr. Cole has numerous products that can speed this process.

You may still have some red or pink spots that look like a rash or mosquito bites for another week or so. Most patients do not have the redness past one week. A small amount of patients may deal with redness for a month or more, but patients say most people don't even notice it. Makeup seems to help alleviate such discoloration if it bothers you.

Far as the healing process is concerned, within three to four months post-op you will begin to see the first stages of growth.

Eight to ten months post-op is a good time to schedule a follow-up consultation to assess the growth, when around 80% of your hair should be growing.

Nine months to one-year post-op is typically when the full benefits of your procedure are evident.

Learn more about the healing process by visiting our Procedure Overview page, including the hair transplant timeline.


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