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A common postoperative concern that my patients express is, "when can I safely shampoo my hair?" Our patients always return to our office the morning following their procedure. During this visit, we remove the protective bandage and perform the first hairwash. It also allows for any fine adjustment of follicle placement.

 

The answer to "when" often depends on the characteristics of the follicles during graft placement (i.e. if the grafts are "slippery" or if the placement of a neighboring graft alters the depth of a nearby graft). Perhaps one of the most important characteristics is follicle root depth.

 

The mean depth of a scalp hair follicle is 4.16mm. Our patients are generally able to gently wash their own scalp (including the grafts) on postoperative day 3 or 4. When we note particularly long grafts (as seen below), patients may safely perform a gentle shampoo slightly earlier (days 2 or 3).

 

It is important to realize that these determinations are made by the physician performing the surgery as they are based on intraoperative findings. Fortunately, I believe all of the recommended physicians on this network are involved in all three phases of the procedure (pre-op, intra-op, and post-op). So, be sure to get your advice from them after the procedure.

 

This patient had grafts over 5mm in depth. His pattern is seen day one postoperatively. He was able to perform a gentle hairwash on day 3 as a result of his hair characteristics.

 

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Thanks Dr. Wesley, great thread illustrating some of the more subtle variables than can go into successful hair transplantation.

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Thank you for your comments, bismarck. We should emphasize that shampooing of the donor area can be performed on postoperative day 1 for both our FUE and FUT cases. In this particular case, his donor on postoperative day 1 status post FUE can be seen.

 

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