Pre and Post-Op Instructions for Hair Transplant Surgery

Pre-Op Instructions

10 days prior to surgery


– aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve or any medications containing these
– alcohol, green tea, vitamins (vitamin E in particular), steroids or smoking
– cortisone creams, lotions/potions/creams containing green tea, jasmine tea or spices

All of the above will make you bleed more during surgery, cause bleeding and bruising under the skin, and make you have worse results and possibly even make your surgery not successful.

Finally, NO Indian, middle eastern, or Asian foods for 10 days before. Just eat a bland American diet. You can eat whatever you want…as soon as the case is done.

I can’t emphasize this enough…it’s a huge issue. And NO supplements or energy drinks to help workouts!! Almost all have green tea and spices which make you bleed more.

Pick up your prescriptions and bring them to the office with you the day of surgery. You will get a pain medicine, antibiotic, and a couple of Valium pills to relax you the morning of surgery. Don’t take anything until I draw our plan and you approve the plan and I take a picture. I’ll tell you when to take the valium.

1 day before surgery

Relax. Don’t drink alcohol. You would be surprised the number of folks who toast their upcoming procedure. Get a good night sleep.

Day of surgery

SHOWER and wash your scalp completely before you come to the office.

Wear an old t-shirt that we will cut off at the end of the day. Bring a button up shirt to wear home.

Eat a light breakfast, but don’t drink much coffee. You’ll just have to go to the bathroom too much.

Bring your pills with you. Don’t take your valium until AFTER Dr. Lindsey draws the plan on your scalp and you approve it.

Bring something to read. There may be some downtime. Bring anything you want to eat.

Be on time! 7:00 AM means 7:00 AM. If we get going late, it throws the whole schedule off.

Have a ride home. No driving under the influence of valium or pain pills, please.

Post-Op Instructions

Surgery is Day 0

After surgery go home and rest. Keep your head up about 45 degrees, a recliner is great. An airplane pillow is awesome at keeping you from rolling over and pulling out our new hair today! Particularly crown cases….OUR new hair cannot touch the pillows! And you can make your own airplane type pillow with a hand towel. When in bed, prop your head up with several pillows for the first several nights, and swelling will be less—although not eliminated.

Do not do things you read on the internet that “work”….particularly the first night. Those grafts are barely held in place…be uptight til Day 1! That means: No ice, no towels, no sprays, no hats, no bandanas, and no touching your recipient area!!!!
A small amount of bleeding the first night or 2 is normal. We’ve done this for 25 years now…nobody YET has bled from the back…if you bleed tonight…it’ll be from pulling out a graft.

Start your antibiotics when you get home. We have had 1 and only 1 infection in non-smokers in 25 years….It probably won’t get infected…but take your antibiotics. No more valium pills!

And take your pain pills as directed on the bottle…not on an empty stomach or you’ll be more likely to get queasy.

And ADVIL seems to help about 40% of our patients more than the prescription pain medicine. If you don’t have a contraindication to advil type meds…you can take those. I know the preop instructions say not too…but you’re postop now.

And Tylenol is fine too BUT it’s usually in your prescription pain medicine…so you can’t take more Tylenol if you’re taking the prescription pain med. Advil is not in the prescription medicine so it’s generally ok to take alongside the prescription pain medicine. I will discuss all this before you leave too.

We will be glad to see you daily after surgery to help you with all of this. It’s free. This is all “stuff” that we and our patients have figured out in the past 12 years or so. It is not on the internet! Follow my instructions please.

Day 1

Head-wrap off, clean incision line, don’t mess with recipient area.

We place a head-wrap around most patients for the first night. If you’re local…I’d prefer to take that wrap off myself and make sure you are fine…plus we can review your case and the instructions for the next week!

If you are out of town then the next morning, take scissors and just cut the head-wrap and remove it. Don’t pull it off, or you might pull out some grafts. Don’t leave it on more than the first night either, you’ll swell more later on if you do.

Day 2

Shower your body, clean your donor area, and pour some water over recipient area.
On day 2, take a plastic cup in the shower with you, fill it with water, and pour it over your recipient area a bunch of times—maybe 10-12. It’s ok if shower water gets on our new hair but don’t towel off and don’t get soap in your eyes and then wipe across our new hair yet.

Days 3 Thru 7

Wash your recipient area twice a day…conditioner first for 15 minutes or so, then rinse it out and shampoo gently….a bit harder every day. We’re trying to get rid of crust. I have 20 videos on YouTube going over MY cleaning regimen and show good jobs and bad jobs too….if you need to see them as well.

On days 3-7, do this, PLUS gently use your fingers to loosen any dried blood around the grafts. As long as you are gentle you won’t pull out grafts. Some loose hairs may come out, and dead skin may shed, but only with any bleeding present will grafts have actually been dislodged. You can probably be a LITTLE bit more vigorous than you think you can. Taking 2 showers a day on day 3-7 makes the recipient site look a lot better at day 7; but even if you don’t do this or aren’t aggressive enough, Dr. Lindsey will give you instructions again on day 7 when you get your sutures out. We’ve also found that a little baby oil applied to the grafts after the cleaning really helps get rid of crusting. Crusts are our enemy…too much crusting and the crusts will actually pull out OUR hairs! It is fine to clean the sutures with peroxide and maybe apply a little bit of Vaseline. Do NOT use Neosporin.

Pain ought to be getting better daily. EVERY year, 2 guys take zero pain meds, 3 take all and want a refill, and most guys take 5-7 pills total. Do not drink alcohol and take pain meds. If you aren’t taking pain meds, I don’t have a problem with you drinking in moderation. In fact, nicotine is really my only big worry as far as inhalants.

Don’t exert yourself until your sutures are out! This means, even though you’ll feel pretty good on day 3-7, don’t do things that will raise your blood pressure, or stretch our scar line.

Don’t wear any hat on your head until your sutures are out! I worry that you’ll dislodge grafts with a hat as some people have done before so don’t wear a hat.

What to Worry About?

  1. A lot of bleeding. Almost never happens but if it does, call Dr. Lindsey.
  2. Pain. Most guys take 2 pain pills the night of the procedure, and 2 the next night. Rarely are refills needed. AFTER the surgery, motrin/advil/Tylenol are all ok to use as directed on the box. See above for details.
  3. Infection. Almost never happens in non-smokers. But, if you get a high fever, or start having more pain after day 2, call.
  4. Just worrying. Don’t worry too much. But, I (Dr. Lindsey) am an expert at worrying. I would rather hear from you than have you stress all week. Call the office during office hours or my cell phone if you think you have a problem. Or come every day and I’ll worry for you!

Removing of The Sutures

Get your stitches out between day 6 and 8. If you don’t remember your appointment time, call the office. Suture removal should not be painful, so don’t worry. Remember, there are dissolvable sutures below the skin to help the scar stay thin.

As you were told preop, 1 person in 10 has one or a few of these sutures work their way out in the first 2 or 3 months. It will feel like a sore splinter. Come in and we’ll remove it in about a minute. It won’t alter your result.

After Care

Apply vitamin E oil or mederma to the scarline twice a day (or at least at bedtime if you won’t do it before work) for 6 weeks. If you tend to have bad scars, MAKE sure Dr. Lindsey reviews scar care with you. And follow-up at 4 weeks for a FREE scar check, mainly to remind you that all scars get worse for 6 weeks, but to make sure everything is proceeding normally.

Remember almost all of the hair we place will shed around 3-4 weeks. Then most people don’t see much happen for 4 months. Dr. Lindsey likes to see you around 6 months and then at a year. These are free visits so please make them and come to the office.

What Not To Do

– Don’t spend a lot of money on supplements or things you might hear to make your hair grow.  Be patient.

– Don’t bang your head around.  Dr. Lindsey is sure that trauma to the recipient area can alter growth.

– Don’t panic about the numbness.  It is normal for it to take 4 months to start to resolve.

– Don’t get your answers from the internet.  Get them from us.

If you have a problem, call, email, or come in for a check.  It is our pleasure to help you out after the procedure.