On the day of your hair restoration you should plan for six to eight hours to complete the surgery, typically from 7:30 AM to 5 PM. You will be awake throughout the procedure and Dr. Kolstad will prescribe Valium and oral pain medicines for comfort.
Dr. Kolstad will numb the donor area using injectable medicines. Using the Neograft FUE technology the hair follicles will be removed one-at-a-time. The graft extraction process can take 2-4 hours but should be without significant discomfort. The most common feedback we receive is that laying prone (on your stomach) for a long duration can become tiring. You are able to get up, stretch, go to the bathroom and otherwise move around at anytime during the day.
After the grafts are removed a pressure dressing is placed over the back of the scalp. Most patients take a break for lunch while the hair team counts and prepares the grafts for insertion. Only viable, nontransected grafts are counted making sure that you receive exactly (or more) the number of grafts purchased.
In preparation of the graft insertion Dr. Kolstad numbs the recipient site. The hairline is remarked if necessary. For frontal hairline creation Dr. Kolstad ensures that only single hair follicles are placed in front avoiding any risk of pluggy / doll hair appearance. Dr. Kolstad prefers to create a wavy, zigzag pattern (see image) mirroring a natural hairline appearance. One of the tell-tail signs of an artificial hairline is a very symmetric, curvilinear distribution of hairs.
Small needles are used to create insertion points in the scalp. The needle is beveled in the same orientation of the surrounding hairs to ensure parallel hair shaft growth. One-by-one the follicular-unit grafts are then placed into the scalp. A follicular unit consists of the hair follicle, 1-3 hair shafts and the surrounding protective soft tissue. During placement you are seated and able to watch T.V., read or converse with Dr. Kolstad and his hair team. By now the Valium and pain medicine have relaxed our patients and many of them are able to take a nap while the hair team proceeds.
After all of the grafts are placed you are instructed on after-care instructions. The dos and don’ts of the following hours and days are reviewed. All of your questions are answered and most patients leave our office feeling well without complaining of significant discomfort.
The day following the procedure we ask our patients to return for a quick five to ten minute check-up. Dr. Kolstad removes the pressure dressing, inspects the healing and answers all of your questions. Out-of-town patients are recommended to spend at least one day in San Diego following their procedure before departing on a flight home.
Most of our patients take a week off of work to recover from the procedure for cosmetic reasons. If you don’ t mind having visible signs of the procedure you should feel well enough to return to work related activities one to two days after the procedure. We do ask that our patients take it easy at least a week after the surgery to minimize graft “popping”.