There are some minor preparations before your hair transplant procedure. The following instructions are organized according to the days and weeks before your procedure. Your doctor may adjust these instructions based on your individual situation, in which case, please follow your direct instructions from your doctor.
If you are taking any blood thinners, please let the doctor know immediately, as they may represent a contra-indication to surgery. These medications include Plavix, Coumadin and Heparin.
If you are taking broad beta-blockers such as Inderal (Propranolol), please contact your doctor as this medication may need to be changed to a select beta-blocker in advance of the surgery.
Avoid taking anti-depressants and blood thinning drugs two weeks before surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of what medications you can and cannot take beforehand.
Do not cut your hair within two weeks of your procedure. Please leave your hair at least 1/2” in length in the back and on the sides to cover the sutures/staples after your procedure. Keep it around 1-2 inches long for best results. If there is any question regarding length, it is better to leave your hair on the long side as we can trim it to the appropriate length the morning of surgery.
Massage your scalp about two weeks to a month before your surgery. Do this for 10 to 30 minutes per day if possible. This will help to soften the skin and improve the skin tone. It will also get the blood flowing in that area.
Stop taking any medications or vitamin supplements that contain aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) (e.g. Motrin, Aleve, Advil, Empirin, Nu-Prin, etc.), herbs (Echinacea, Gingko Biloba, Garlic), or vitamins E or B (including any multivitamins that contain these vitamins) for 2 weeks before the procedure. They can be resumed three days following surgery. These medications increase your risk for bleeding making it very difficult for your newly transplanted grafts “to take.” Bleeding during the procedure also adds hours to the amount of time necessary to complete the procedure. Many over the counter medications such as Alka-Seltzer, Bufferin, Excedrin, etc., contain aspirin. Pain, cold, flu, and allergy medications often contain aspirin or ibuprofen. Tylenol is OK.
Other prescription medications (including heart and blood pressure medication) should be taken as prescribed right up to, and including, the day of your procedure. However, please discuss your medications with your doctor.
Please refrain from any form of casual exercise 3-7 days prior to surgery. If you weight train, body build or do strenuous cardio exercise, please refrain from this type of activity for at least 1 week prior to surgery. If you take any type of supplements for weight training/body building please refrain from taking these products for one week.
Smoking: Smoking causes constriction of blood vessels and decreased blood flow to the scalp, predominantly due to its nicotine content. The carbon monoxide in smoke decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. These factors may contribute to poor wound healing after a hair transplant and can increase the chance of a wound infection and scarring. Smoking may also contribute to poor hair growth. The deleterious effects of smoking wear off slowly when one abstains, particularly in chronic smokers, so that smoking puts one at risk to poor healing even after smoking is stopped for weeks or even months. Although it is not known exactly how long one should avoid smoking before and after a hair transplant a common recommendation is to abstain from one week prior to surgery until two weeks after the procedure.
Do not have alcohol in the three days before your surgery. It is better if you have your last alcoholic drink a week before your surgery. Alcohol makes you more likely to bleed during a surgical procedure.
For those who routinely dye their hair to hide “graying”, please dye your hair approximately three (3) days prior to your procedure. This will make white hair more visible. Be sure to scrub your scalp thoroughly each day prior to the surgery to be certain the scalp itself is free from dye.
Shower the morning of your procedure and wash your hair very thoroughly using your regular shampoo. Check with your doctor about any special shampoos you need to use. Do not apply sprays, gels, or any other styling products to your hair. If you wear a hair system (wig or toupee), please remove it prior to shampooing and do not wear it before your procedure.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing which does not need to be pulled on over your head. This will prevent dislodging your bandage or damaging your grafts immediately after surgery. A button down or zippered shirt is easiest and some patients like to wear sweatpants for comfort. Valuables should be left at home.
Do not wear any cologne or perfume the day of your procedure.
The surgery is usually carried out early in the morning and finishes late afternoon/early evening. This is a relatively minor operation which is carried out under a local anesthetic so you will be fully aware of what is going on. You can chat with the surgeon and staff if you want to.
You are not having a general anesthetic so are allowed to eat before your operation. Eat breakfast the morning of your procedure. If your surgery is scheduled for the afternoon, have a light lunch before you arrive.
If you’re diabetic, discuss with your surgeon how to handle your diet and insulin management on the day of surgery.
Do not drink coffee or any caffeinated beverages on the day of your procedure. These substances may increase bleeding and your sensitivity to medications used during the procedure.
You may be receiving medications during the procedure that can make you drowsy. As a result of this, you may not be able to drive yourself home following your procedure. Our guides will hail a taxi and accompany you on your taxi ride home. If you wish to bring your car, please arrange to have a responsible person drive you from your surgery.
Please do not bring reading material or computers with you since you will be in a reclining position for the majority of the day and unable to use them.
You will be given a local anesthetic which is injected into the skin underneath the donor hair. You may also be given a mild sedative which is usually in tablet form. Adrenaline may also be injected to reduce any bleeding. The surgeon may also inject a saline solution into the donor area which helps to ‘raise’ the skin slightly and makes it easier to remove the donor hairs.
Whichever method you have will involve the removal of donor hairs from the fringe around your head. The recipient area on your head will be numbed with a local anesthetic before the donor hairs are inserted. The duration of this procedure will depend upon the extent of your hair loss and the number of grafts required.
The only pain you may feel is that of the initial injection to numb your scalp but there is unlikely to be any during the surgery. You may experience a tugging or pulling sensation throughout the procedure.
This procedure will take a full day. Please plan on being at the doctor's office all day. The length of the procedure is determined by the amount of grafts, how well the procedure is going, blood pressure, if there is unusual bleeding or graft popping, etc. This is why it is important to follow pre-operation instructions.
You may be going home with a headband-type bandage covered by a bandanna, so it will not be visible. The bandages should be removed just before showering the next morning. After the first shower, no more bandages are need.
If you are suffering from slow or rapid hair loss and your hair thinning is becoming noticeable, or if you have balding that you wish to cover with new hair growth, we invite you to contact our hair restoration service today. You can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions here. Your doctors in Korea will provide a comprehensive medical and hair loss history, and scalp and hair analysis that will allow them to provide each patient with an accurate diagnosis so that a patient-specific treatment plan can be put into action. Contact us now.
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