“Should I cut my hair before my hair transplant?”
“When can I cut my hair after my transplant?”
“What length should I leave my hair for my transplant?”
These are questions patients frequently ask before their hair transplant; and for good reason. Patients want their hair to be the right length for surgery; they want a normal appearance in the post-operative period; and they want to plan when and how to cut their hair for the first time post-transplant.
So should patients cut their hair before the transplant?
Most clinics require some trimming or shaving of the hair for surgery. This means patients with long hair will likely leave the clinic with certain areas buzzed down (and filled with new transplants). Because of this, many patients want to completely “buzz” their head before surgery. They figure this will make it easier and provide a more normal appearance in the post-operative period.
I do not recommend this for several reasons:
- Leaving some length allows the doctor to get a better sense of your hair loss and work more effectively within the scalp. Creating a plan for your evolving hair loss is more efficient with the hair left slightly longer.
- Leaving the hair long allows patients to cover stitches/staples in the donor area (for patients having FUT or mFUE) immediately after surgery. This makes camouflaging surgery easier, especially when wearing hats.
- Leaving the hair long allows patients to cover the transplants and “camouflage” after the transplant. Patients who leave their hair a little longer can usually comb their hair over the transplants or style it “messy” and cover up the work. Patients with a buzz cut don’t have this luxury, and many wish they had more concealing options in the post-op.
Some clinics shave the entire head before FUE procedures. This is a different situation because it is the clinic’s decision to shave beforehand. Patients undergoing FUE should check how clinics handle this situation.
When can patients cut their hair after a transplant?
I recommend waiting 10 days before cutting the hair. This allows the grafts time to fully “anchor” and become permanent — so there is no risk of dislodging or damaging them during a haircut. It also usually allows enough time to get the stitches or staples removed in the case of an FUT or mFUE procedure. The stitches or staples should be removed before the hair is cut. This avoids any issues with the clippers or scissors hitting the staples/stitches or the healing wound, and it allows the barber to clearly see the entire area and properly trim the hair.
So what length should patients leave their hair for the transplant?
Patients frequently call a few weeks before their procedure, telling me they are due for a scheduled hair cut and asking how much they should trim. My answer? Leave it long. As previously stated, longer hair usually creates a better situation for both the doctor and the patient. The doctor can see how the hairs are miniaturizing (falling out) and create the best “plan of attack,” and the patient has the most options for concealing the work in the post-op. If you need to trim it a little, that’s okay. But the longer you can leave it, the better!
Hope this helps any patients wondering what they should do with their hair before and after a transplant!
Dr. Blake Bloxham and Dr. Alan Feller
Feller & Bloxham Medical, PC