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Cheat Sheet

Hair Loss and Replacement For Dummies

From Hair Loss and Replacement For Dummies by William R. Rassman, MD, Robert M. Bernstein, MD [with Jae Pak, MD, Eric S. Schweiger, MD]

Dealing with hair loss is a whole lot easier since hair replacement techniques have become widely available. Before you embark on hair transplant surgery, interview some doctors and review their answers to choose the best surgeon for you. Be sure you know what you should and should not do before your hair transplant surgery as well as what to do afterward.

Questions to Ask Your Potential Hair Transplant Surgeon

If you’re losing hair and thinking about replacing it, hair transplant is one of your options.As you explore this option, start by asking each potential hair transplant surgeon the questions in the following list:

  • Will I be meeting with a consultant or a doctor?

  • How many years of experience do you have?

  • Did you have residency training in dermatology or surgery?

  • Where did you get your training?

  • Are you an MD or a DO (osteopathic physician)?

  • Are you board certified? If so, with what board?

  • Is your facility accredited? If so, with what organization?

  • What percent of your practice is solely dedicated to hair transplantation?

  • Do you perform follicular unit transplantation?

  • Do you charge by the procedure, by the follicular unit, or by the follicle?

  • What type of anesthesia will you use?

  • Do you have a dedicated team of medical technicians who were trained by you?

  • Do you have a photo library of patients you’ve done the procedure on so that I can see the results of your work? Can I meet with patients to see their results?

Questions to Ask Yourself after a Hair Loss Consultation

If you’re consulting professionals about hair replacement surgery and other options, hair loss is not something you’re going to accept willingly. After each consultation, review the following questions; the answers can help you choose the best doctor to continue with.

  • Did your doctor examine you carefully, spend time with you, and listen to what you had to say?

  • Did your doctor measure your hair density and tell you what it is?

  • Did your doctor measure the degree of miniaturization on your scalp hair?

  • Did your doctor assess your scalp laxity?

  • Did your doctor tell you that you were a “great candidate” for a hair transplant without any reservations?

  • Did you feel you were being rushed toward surgery with deals or discounts?

  • Did your doctor create a master plan for your future hair loss with you?

  • Did you like the doctor on a personal level?

Do’s and Don’ts before Hair Transplant Surgery

You’ve gone through hair loss, and now you’re scheduled for a hair replacement procedure — hair transplant surgery. The following list of do’s and don’ts can help you prepare for the big day, although you should follow your doctor’s instructions if they differ from these:

  • Do wash your hair thoroughly on the evening and morning of the surgery. Check with your doctor about any special shampoos you need to use.

  • Do wear comfortable clothing — but nothing that has to be pulled over your head after surgery.

  • Do arrange for proper transportation to and from the surgery center.

  • If you’re diabetic, do discuss with your surgeon how to handle your diet and insulin management on the day of surgery.

  • Don’t take aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory medications for seven days prior to your procedure.

  • Don’t drink alcohol or take multivitamins, vitamin B, or vitamin E supplements for seven days prior to your surgery.

  • Don’t smoke three days prior to surgery, and especially not on the day of the surgery, because it reduces blood flow to the scalp.

  • Don’t take medications the day before surgery without asking your surgeon if it’s okay.

  • Don’t drink coffee the day of your surgery.

  • Don’t cut or color your hair. Leave your hair long in the back and on the sides to cover the sutures or staples after your procedure.

What to Do after a Hair Transplant Procedure

You’ve decided to cope with your hair loss by having hair transplant surgery — a decision many thousands of people are happy they made. After the surgery itself, the advice in the following list can help you resume everyday life with your new head of hair!

  • If you were taking Propecia, Proscar, or finasteride prior to your surgery, continue taking them as directed.

  • Thoroughly clean surgical sites of blood and crusts on the first day.

  • If there’s bleeding, apply direct pressure with a dry towel for ten-minute intervals until the bleeding stops.

  • Shampoo twice daily for the first three days, and then resume your normal shampooing routine. If the scalp becomes too dry, switch to baby shampoo.

  • Don’t use hair spray for a week, don’t use hair coloring products for two weeks, and don’t resume exercise for three weeks.

  • Don’t smoke for seven to ten days after the procedure, when healing is most critical.

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