As one of the most important advances in hair restoration techniques, follicular unit extraction (FUE) requires a highly skilled surgeon to remove individual hair units and transplant them to other areas of the scalp. This surgical hair transplant creates many tiny sites where healing will occur. It is important to know what to expect during your FUE recovery so that you can get the absolute best results from your procedure.
Donor sites and the Extraction Process
The donor site is prepared by closely trimming or shaving the hair so that Dr. Varona can extract follicular units from an area where your hair grows more densely. Once the area is numbed, donor follicular units are removed using a hand punch. The grafts are removed with a small forceps and collected in a storage chamber. Each graft is inspected under a microscope to make sure it is healthy and intact and counted. This allows your surgeon to place the units in a natural-looking way, with single hairs placed at the hairline and multiple-hair units placed behind the hairline.
In order to create the hair density you are seeking, Dr. Varona will remove an appropriate amount of grafts relative to the thinning area to address each patients goals. This process will create many small punch holes in the donor area that will require some time to heal. While the sites will be visible initially, your hair will grow, and your skin will close up over the next few days, and your donor site will be barely noticeable within 5-7 days. Dr. Varona may ask you to apply a cream or ointment for the first few days of healing. Because your head is highly vascularized, these donor sites will heal naturally and quickly, first forming scabs that will be later sloughed off.
Transplant Sites and the Process of Transplantation
There are two ways the grafts can be placed into the recipient area. Either using a small blade to make incisions that the grafts later are placed. Or using an implanting tool that allows Dr. Varona to implant the graft at the same time as making the initial site. Either way, the grafts are gently placed in the openings using great precision and care. After surgery, the transplanted hair units must be cared for delicately, as the number one cause of graft loss following transplant is direct trauma. Even moderate pressure, bumping, or rubbing on these sites in the first days following surgery can cause graft loss. For some time, you will need to moisten the recipient area regularly using a special spray.
Healing and beyond
Dr. Varona will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your donor and recipient sites prior to your surgery. It is important to closely follow his instruction to minimize the chance of graft loss and maximize the appearance of your results.
In general, you will be asked to keep the area clean, free from pressure or contact with clothing or hats, and you will apply certain solutions to the sites. For the first few nights, you may sleep with several pillows behind you to keep your head above your heart to minimize swelling. It is also important to know what to look for after surgery, and you should follow up in the clinic if you should develop excess bleeding, sudden swelling, or a fever.
After 7-10 days, your scabs should be gone, and you can return to using your regular hair care products. The grafts will go into a dormancy phase for 3-4 months after surgery. At this point, you will notice fine hairs start to sprout and continue to thicken and lengthen over time, ultimately achieving full density about 12 months after surgery. You are now ready to enjoy your new, thicker hair and greater confidence!
Get the absolute best care and post-operative direction from a highly-skilled and expertly trained hair transplant surgeon to know that you will end up with stunning results! Call 949.631.4247 today to schedule your personalized consultation with Dr. Varona.