Pre & Post Op Hair Transplant Care Instructions

hair transplant aftercare guide

In order to provide our patients with a complete picture of exactly what they can expect after receiving their new Smartgraft™ hair transplant we are providing the after care instruction document. These instructions are what you will be expected to adhere to after the procedure in order to get the best results from your hair transplant.  Each step will be reviewed thoroughly with you so you understand what is expected from you in terms of maintenance and care. 

About Your Hair Transplant

Congratulations on booking your hair restoration with us. Hair transplantation using SmartGraft™ FUE is an extremely safe procedure with very little discomfort and very low risk of complications.  To make sure that you have the best possible experience and the best possible outcome, here are a few important things you should know prior to the procedure. Please make sure to carefully read through the instructions so you are fully prepared for your surgery day.

Start here 

Important Information about your Hair Transplant:

  • Your hair transplant will be done in our clinic under local anesthetic.
  • You will be allowed to drink and have snacks at certain times during the course the procedure.
  • You will be allowed to get up and move around at certain times during the procedure, and will be able to use the washroom if you need to.
  • The procedure will last between 4 and 8 hours depending on how many grafts are used.
  • You will be able to speak to the doctor and medical staff who are working with you throughout the procedure.
  • You will be able to ask the doctor and the staff any questions you have that are related to the procedure before starting.
  • You may use personal audio device (iPod or Smartphone) to listen to music or watch videos using in-ear, earbud-type earphones. You cannot use full-size, over-the-ear headphones as they will interfere with the surgery.
  • You have to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home at the end of the procedure. You should not drive, walk or take a taxi, Uber or bus home by yourself.
  • Please remember that almost all of the grafted hairs will fall out starting about 1 or 2 weeks after surgery – this is normal.
  • It takes 3 months for the new hair grafts to start growing again, and the new hair will be fine, thin and light.
  • It will take a year for full hair growth to be complete.
  • For best results, if you are a smoker we strongly advise that you quit smoking at least 3 months before the procedure.
  • For best results, we recommend you use Minoxidil (Rogaine) on your scalp and Finasteride (Propecia) starting at least 3 months before the procedure. We recommend that you continue taking these medications on a permanent basis after your transplant as well.


(Please read and follow all the instructions below)

2 Weeks before your hair transplant:

  • Stop taking Aspirin or Aspirin-containing medications, including pain relievers and head-ache pills.
  • Men should get as short a haircut as possible (we recommend a size 1 or 2 clipper).

1 week before your hair transplant:

  • Stop taking vitamins or supplements containing Vitamin A, B complex, C and E.
  • Stop using Minoxidil on your scalp.
  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory medications that don’t contain Aspirin, such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Naproxen, Aleve, and Motrin. (Tylenol/Acetominophenis safe to take.)
  • After speaking to your family doctor, stop taking blood thinners such as Warfarin, Coumadin, Heparin, Aggrenox, Plavix:
    • You must inform us ahead of time if you are taking these medications.
    • You must speak to your family doctor/cardiologist before stopping any of these medications.
  • Buy baby shampoo and a tub of Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly.
  • Do NOT shave your scalp.
  • If you are having a beard transplant, stop shaving your beard at this time and let it grow. Do NOT shave for the surgery.

On the day of your hair transplant:

  • The night before your procedure shower and wash your hair with baby shampoo without conditioner, and make sure to get a good night’s sleep.
  • In the morning have a shower again and wash your hair thoroughly with baby shampoo and no conditioner, and make sure to fully dry your hair.
  • Have a normal breakfast at home but avoid heavy, greasy or fast-food.
  • Take ALL your normal medications (except ones listed above such as Aspirin, Anti-inflammatories and blood thinners).
  • Patients who have DIABETES should have a normal breakfast, and take their normal doses of medications, including insulin. If you have a glucometer, please bring it with you to the clinic.
  • Dress in comfortable, loose clothing. Wear a button or zipper shirt or top that doesn’t have to be pulled over your head.
  • Wear socks, comfortable shoes or crocs.
  • Bring a light lunch, a few snacks and something to drink throughout the day (no alcohol please).
  • Patients who DIABETES should bring their regular food, as well as their glucometer if they have one.
  • You may bring a personal audio device or tablet so you can listen to music or watch videos. You can only use in-ear, earbud-type earphones.
  • Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the procedure. You cannot drive, walk or use taxi, Uber or public transportation to get home on your own.

Instructions for AFTER your hair transplant: 

Immediately after your hair transplant:

  • Go straight home. Do not go out to dinner or out with friends.
  • Leave the bandages on.
  • You must be careful to protect the grafts from accidental damage or from pulling out.
  • Do NOT wear a hat.
  • Do NOT wrap anything on your scalp that may put pressure on the grafts.
  • Do NOT rub or scratch the areas that have been grafted – you could pull your grafts out.
  • Do NOT wash your hair or scalp.
  • Do NOT do any heavy lifting or physical exertion.
  • You may have a normal meal, drink lots of fluids, but avoid alcohol.
  • You may sleep in a normal bed, but make sure your head is elevated on a pillow to reduce swelling.
  • Place a towel on your pillow.
  • Do NOT sleep on your stomach.

The first day after your hair transplant:

  • You will have an appointment to see us in the clinic for a check-up. You may come on your own if you feel up to it.
  • Leave the bandages on until you see us in clinic.
  • Eat a normal breakfast and take all your normal medications.
  • You may start using Aspirin products, anti-inflammatory medications and blood thinners if you need to.
  • You may drive if you are not taking any pain pills.
  • We will take your bandages off in the clinic and take photographs. You do not need bandages after this point.
  • Do NOT wash your hair today.
  • You may wash your face and have a shower, but you must not let the water stream hit your scalp! You can wear a loose shower cap in the shower.
  • You can go about your normal activities but avoid heavy lifting and heavy exertion.

When can I shower and wash my hair?

  • Do NOT wash your hair in the first 48 hours after your transplant.
  • If you shower during the first 48 hours, you must make sure the stream of water does not directly hit your scalp.
  • Starting on the 2nd day you need to shower and wash your hair and scalp every day using baby shampoo and the plastic cup technique:
    • In the shower, fill a plastic cup (don’t use glass or ceramic – it may break) with warm water,
    • Wet the hair and scalp by gently pouring the water from the cup on your hair and on the grafts,
    • You can wash the hair on the back and sides of your scalp with baby shampoo applied with your fingers. You may use conditioner only in these areas,
    • You can pour warm water mixed with some baby shampoo on the grafts, but do not rub with your fingers or a brush, and do not use conditioner in these areas.Using the cup rinse several times with plain, warm water.
  • Do NOT use a towel to dry your hair.
  • Do NOT use a hot hair-dryer to dry your hair.
  • After your hair is dry gently apply a thin layer of Vaseline or petroleum Jelly with your fingers to the donor sites and to the grafts.We recommend you do not use Polysporin or Bacitracin.
  • Do NOT apply any lotions, gels or other products to your hair and scalp.

Starting one week after your transplant:

  • Wash and shampoo ALL areas of your scalp, including the grafts, every day with baby shampoo and water.
  • Use your fingers to apply the shampoo to all areas, including the graft areas, but be gentle and don’t use your finger nails.
  • Do NOT dry the grafts with a towel or hot hair-dryer.
  • If there is no crusting and flaking around the hair follicles, you can stop using Vaseline.
  • If there is still crusting and flaking around the follicles, continue applying Vaseline every day.
  • You may gently use a brush or comb on the back of your scalp, but not the grafted areas.

Starting 2 weeks after your hair transplant: 

  • Wash every day using your regular shampoo and conditioner.
  • You can dry your hair with a towel – your grafts will not pull out at this point.
  • You may use a hair-dryer on a cool or warm setting to dry your hair.
  • You may use a comb or a brush to brush all areas of your hair.
  • You may use hair gel and other products on your hair, but not bleaching or coloring agents.
  • You can wear a hat, head-gear or a helmet as long as it doesn’t irritate the scalp.
  • We recommend that you start to use Minoxidil lotion (Rogaine) or foam to get the best results from your hair transplant.
  • We also recommend start to take Finasteride (Propecia) 1mg pill daily at this time to get the best result from the hair transplant, and to slow down further hair loss.

Starting 4 weeks after your hair transplant:

  • You can treat your hair like normal hair.
  • Continue to shampoo every day.
  • You may get your hair cut, colored, or styled as you wish.
  • You may cut your hair as short as you want, but we recommend you permanently avoid shaving your head.
  • Frequent use of very hot curling irons, very hot hair-dryers and harsh coloring agents are very hard on your hair and will damage the hair shafts. We recommend you avoid these.
  • You may wear any type of hat, head-gear or helmet, as long as it doesn’t irritate your scalp.

When can I start to exercise again?

  • You can resume most normal activities the day after your hair transplant.
  • You can start to exercise the day after your transplant, but
    • Avoid heavy lifting and heavy exertion,
    • Avoid heavy, repetitive impact such as aerobics and running,
    • Avoid contact sports, ball sports and team sports to prevent injury to the grafts,
    • Avoid activities that will cause very heavy sweating,
    • Be careful not to rub or wipe your scalp with a towel or the back of your hand.
  • After 1 week you can go back to your normal exercise routine, including heavy weight lifting, impact and aerobic exercises.
    • Be careful to not rub the graft area with a towel or your hand,
    • Do not wear a hat or headband that contacts, puts pressure on, or rubs the grafts.
  • After 2 weeks you can also return to all sports without restrictions. Avoid prolonged direct sun-exposure to the scalp.

When can I return to work?

  • How quickly you return to work depends on what type of work you do:
  • If you have an office, administrative or desk job and you don’t mind some mild swelling and redness then you may go back to work on the first or second day after the procedure.
  • If your job involves being in front of a lot of people, then you may want to take 2 or 3 days off to allow the swelling and redness time to go away.
  • If you have a heavy job that requires heavy lifting, heavy exertion or exposure to dust, dirt or liquids, you should wait at least one week before going back.
  • If your job requires wearing a protective helmet or head gear, you should wait at least 2 weeks before going back to regular duties.

Other things to avoid after a hair transplant:

  • Avoid direct sun-exposure to the scalp for at least 4 weeks after the procedure.
  • Avoid swimming or bathing for 2 weeks (showers are fine, but see instructions above). After 2 weeks swimming is fine.
  • Avoid rubbing your scalp with a towel, your hand, or anything else for 2 weeks.
  • You may gently use a brush or a comb on the donor sites only after 1 week.
  • You may gently use a brush or a comb on the graft sites after 2 weeks.
  • Avoid getting your hair cut, styled, curled or colored for 4 weeks.
  • Avoid wearing hats, head-gear or helmets that can contact, put pressure on, or rub the graft sites for 2 weeks.
  • You may cover your scalp or head with a loose hat or cover, as long as it does not contact, put pressure on or rub the graft sites, in the first 2 weeks.
  • Do not apply any lotions, gels, or cleansers to your scalp for 2 weeks, unless directed by your surgeon.

When to call the clinic?

  • Call us if you are experiencing a lot of pain. There should be very little pain after the procedure.
  • Call us if you have a lot of swelling, bruising or discoloration around the eyelids.
  • Call us if there is bleeding after the first day (a little bit of spotting is normal).
  • Call us if you develop a fever within 2 weeks of the procedure.
  • Call us if you are developing a lot crusting, bleeding or swelling around the hair follicles.
  • Call us if after reading ALL the instructions you are still not sure about what activities are permitted, or how to look after the grafts.