How long does it take to see results from a hair transplant? What is the healing process like? How soon can I get back to my normal routine?
These are questions we get a lot. So, what better way to explain the hair transplant journey than by sharing a real-life example?
William, 27, had his hair transplant at Gro Clinics Manchester back in September 2021. Nine months later, it’s time to check in with William to see how he’s doing!
The full results of his hair transplant will take around a year to come in, but by nine months we can already see them to a significant extent.
We’ll keep checking in with William until the final results have come through.
William first noticed he was losing hair when he was only 20 years old. He knew the hair loss would only continue to go on and felt an impending sense of doom.
So, he decided to do something and booked his hair transplant surgery with Gro.
William’s hair transplant procedure took 11 hours of total operating time. 6335 hairs were transplanted, which, at the time, was a record at the Gro Manchester clinic.
Our team filled in both his hairline and crown, ensuring a consistent result from front to back.
On the first day after his procedure, William experienced a bit of redness in the treatment area. However, he was excited to see where his new hairline would soon grow.
In the week after a hair transplant, patients must follow post-operative care instructions closely.
On the first day, that included William spraying the treatment area with a saline solution every 30 minutes to an hour.
Before bedtime, he was able to take off the bandage covering the donor area.
William experienced some head swelling, redness and itchiness in the scalp area, which is completely normal.
On day three, he was able to do a gentle hair wash on the sides, and on day four, wash the top.
His new hairline had him reflecting on what makes cosmetic surgery results look natural.
“I spend most of the day trying to visualise how my new hairline will look, whilst battling my own perfectionism and wondering would it have been better like this or that,” William explained.
“Something I’ve had to realise with hair transplants, and maybe just cosmetic surgery in general, is that it’s usually the subtle, “just about enough” improvements that tend to stand the test of time and look the most natural.”
“Whenever I see people over-correct, whether it’s lips, tan, boobs, weight loss, bums, it never looks right and I always think if they had just been a little more subtle that probably would have looked loads better.”
“I can see how people fall into that trap, but I’m happy I just sat and listened to the guidance from the doctors at Gro to get an objective perspective of what would work best.”
“Today is the first day I’ve really felt as though the follicles have set into my head properly,” William said.
“Before they were kind of in raised lumps that didn’t sit quite as deep as a normal follicle would, but today feels as though they’ve sunk into the head slightly to give me reassurance that they’re not going to randomly fall out!”
William also started to see some scabbing on day five. Redness and swelling were beginning to diminish.
On day six, he could stop wearing button-ups and put on a t-shirt. The reason patients are asked to wear button-ups post-surgery is to protect the follicles from any unnecessary impact.
“Last night was probably the first full night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks. Even before the surgery, I had a couple of weeks of what, in hindsight, probably seemed like anxiety due to the oncoming change,” William said.
“My head feels to be really settling now and starting to feel normal again both physically and mentally. It definitely feels like a solid marker point to get through the first week with no real issues.”
Although still deep into the scabbing stage, day eight had William excited about his new, younger look.
“When I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror I felt like the new grafts had taken that slight step further towards being more deeply settled into my head. My anxiety around jeopardising the new follicles is reducing by the day,” he said.
“Starting to feel like I look much closer to my actual age now. It’s no fun feeling like you’re ageing twice as fast as all your friends!”
After two weeks, the scabbing stage was wrapping up, and William was happy to have made it through the most intense part of post-operative care.
“Feeling pretty happy to have gotten through the first two weeks where everything feels super high risk,” he said.
“I knew I just needed to get through the medication, swelling, and then scabbing to the point where I’m at now where I can go back to my normal shower routine, feel like I have some semblance of normality in how I look and can start getting excited about being able to train again!”
The shedding phase is a normal part of the hair transplant process. However, it can be hard to deal with, triggering the emotional turmoil of losing hair.
Rest assured, it’s only temporary! As the hair follicles kick back into the natural growth cycle, new hairs start growing, which William already knew.
“As much as hair falling out seems counterproductive, this is exactly what I was expecting and a completely natural part of the process,” he said.
He planned to keep his hair short during this stage to avoid the infamous “ugly duckling phase” being too obvious.
One month post-procedure, William’s donor area at the back of his head had healed extremely well, being barely noticeable now.
In the implanted areas, there was still some redness as the hairs carry on shedding, which is all normal and expected.
Many patients find this the hardest stage of the hair transplant process. The shedding makes the treatment area look sparse and some redness may still be present, too.
That was the case with William, who admitted he was “pretty much at the worst of the shedding stage” at this point.
Luckily this was also the timing of his first PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) session. Every Gro hair transplant comes with PRP sessions included to help the new hair growth along.
“Still looking a little red but I’ve noticed the shedding has stopped now meaning hopefully in the next few weeks we should start seeing new growth coming through,” William said.
The more uncomfortable physical symptoms such as sensitivity and itchiness are by now gone, which gave William the chance to get excited about the aesthetic developments to come.
In month three, William came to the clinic for his second PRP session, feeling excited about the hair growth he was starting to see and making plans to grow his hair out soon.
“It really feels like this is the beginning of the turning point for my hair now,” he said.
“I feel like I am seeing the beginnings of the fun part of this journey. Noticeable hair growth! I am definitely going to start leaving it to grow out at the end of January, and I feel confident that in a few weeks it will be ready to do so.”
“Had my 3rd and final post-transplant PRP session yesterday and I’m now ready to begin growing out the hair,” William told us at the four-month mark.
“It was definitely worth waiting a few months before leaving it to grow as now the hair is starting to look more evenly spread and improving steadily week by week.”
“I’ve only just started to leave the hair to grow out from being completely shaved. Realistically it will take a few months of undisturbed growth to allow for the hair to develop volume and coverage but I’ve just got to stick with it, especially with the crown as that takes longer to develop due to less blood flow to the area,” William told us.
Six months in, things are looking up and William is stoked about the change in his life.
“I’ve started going out without hats and not feeling conscious at all about my hair,“ he explained.
“The hardest bit of the journey is well and truly over and I’m glad I stuck with it.”
Moreover, William was looking forward to seeing his crown catch up with his hairline. The crown notoriously takes a few months longer, especially if it has already had significant hair loss.
“It’s starting to feel like the length is enabling me to style it somewhat,” William described his hair after growing it out for four months.
“It’s weird actually having a purposeful hairstyle again but I am feeling more like myself again than I have in about 5 years!”
At this point, William’s results are looking great already, but the thickness will continue to come through over the next three months.
“Feels like the results are almost fully in but just waiting for the hairs to mature a bit more which will give them a more natural look. It feels like everything that will come through already has done so, but hoping for it to fall a little more naturally over the next few months,” he said.
We can’t wait to see the final months of William’s journey!
Wondering how a hair transplant would work for you? Our Hair Growth Specialists are here to help! Whether you want to know about pricing, timelines, recovery or results, they’ve got the answers.
Book your personalised consultation today to get started on your hair journey. In 12 months, your hair (and your life) could look completely different.