A hair transplant is a long-term investment, and it takes time for the results to appear. Learn to track your progress and prepare for your final results with a helpful hair growth chart.
The first stage of hair growth after your transplant is known as anagen. During this phase, new hairs will appear fine and wiry.
Donor Site Healing
A hair transplant is a medical procedure that involves transferring hair follicles from the back and sides of the scalp to bald or thinning areas. The grafts are collected through two primary techniques: follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction/excision (FUE). Once the follicles have been implanted in the target area, they will begin to grow natural hair as they would normally.
As a result, new hair growth tends to take a while to appear in the transplanted areas. This can be frustrating for patients who are eager to see results. To help manage these concerns, a hair transplant growth chart can be used to track monthly progress.
New hair growth is fragile during the first month following a hair transplant. This is because the follicles have been in the process of shock shedding. Patients must understand that this will subside, and the hair follicles should settle into their regular growth pattern during the next several months. By this time, the follicles will have thickened and matured to create fuller and more natural-looking hair. In addition, the donor site will continue to heal during this time.
After a hair transplant procedure, it takes time for the new hair to begin growing. During this time, patients should diligently follow their surgeon’s post-operation care instructions and avoid certain activities or medications that may cause the scalp to heal incorrectly.
When the patient comes into the office for their 3-month check-up, shock loss should have subsided, and redness around the operated area should be reduced considerably. At this point, scabs from the initial healing process should start to fall off naturally, and any additional aftercare instructions will be provided to help ensure optimal results.
During months 4 through 9, the new hair will grow and gradually become thicker each month. This is known as the “maturation period.” It may take longer for some areas of the scalp to mature, particularly the crown region, so it’s important to remember that full results will not be achieved until well after the 12-month mark.
Patients will have experienced considerable growth in the transplanted follicles by this time and can see their final cosmetic results in the mirror. Ideally, the hair will be dense enough, styled, and cut as desired. For some individuals, however, it may take up to 18 months for the hair to fully mature and appear full.
New Hair Growth
Once the initial healing phase is complete, your hair follicles will grow new hairs. Initially, these new growths will be thin and wispy, but they will gradually thicken over the next few months. This is known as the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. The transplanted hairs will blend in with your existing natural hair during this time.
The anagen phase may take several years to complete for some patients. This is why keeping a record of your progress through the different phases is essential. Using a hair transplant growth chart will help you see your progress throughout the various stages of hair growth.
At this point, some of the transplanted hairs will begin to shed, a normal part of the process. Once the shock shedding is completed, the hairs will grow again. This is when the transplanted hairs will look fuller and more natural-looking.
The final appearance from a hair transplant will not be fully appreciated until about the year after surgery. This is because it can take up to a year for the hairs to mature in terms of thickness and density. This is why it is essential to track the progress of your hair transplant through a growth chart. With patience, your transplanted hair will eventually look completely natural.
At this point, many patients feel that their hair transplant looks normal and is starting to look like their natural hair. This is an excellent time to schedule a review with your doctor.
By the 3-month mark, new hair growth begins to become visible, but it is essential to remember that this is not a “finish line.”
It can take a year for all newly transplanted hairs to grow fully, but the results will be permanent. During this phase, the transplanted hairs will mature and thicken to appear as dense, healthy, and natural-looking as your hair.
There may still be shock loss during this phase, but this is a necessary part of the growth process. The hair follicles must lose this shock to fall out and make room for the new, mature, thicker hairs.
The best way to track your progress is by using a tool that allows you to visualize your results every month. The tool should also allow you to set daily goals to help you achieve your desired outcome. For example, I use RescueTime to track the time I write each day and then get alerted when I have completed my goal. I highly recommend this free tool for anyone who wants to keep up with their progress.