When researching hair restoration procedures, it’s important to understand how the SmartGraft procedure works, what to plan for ahead of time, what to expect during the procedure, and when you will see results.
The first step is an initial consultation with a trained hair restoration physician. The physician will ask about your medical history and perform a scalp evaluation before outlining a recommended strategic plan. He or she will explain the procedure in detail and determine the number of grafts needed for an effective and natural-looking result specific to your goals.
Instructions on what to do to get prepared for the day of the procedure will be given to you. Typically, most physicians will start the procedure early in the morning. You will want to wear comfortable clothes and bring your favorite music and/or videos to keep you occupied (with small ear buds). Your shirt or blouse will be replaced with a surgical gown. Most offices will provide you with lunch; however, ask your physician about bringing your own snacks.
Upon arrival you will be escorted to a private room where the procedure will take place. Once you are seated and comfortable, your physician will explain each step of the procedure once more and get your approval before starting.
In most cases a mild sedative can be given to help you relax. You will need to consult with your physician to see if this is an option and make arrangements for transportation home. Next, a tech will shave a small area at the back of your head. You do not have to get a buzz cut. Depending on the length of your hair, an area can be shaved in small sections to allow you to hide the donor area after the procedure.
The area where the hair is to be implanted will be prepped and local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area. While your scalp is anesthetized, the physician will use the SmartGraft device to gently remove the grafts from the donor area. SmartGraft allows the physician to immediately collect, sort, count and store each graft in a sterile, temperature controlled and hydrated environment prior to implantation. This promotes graft survival and improves their ability to regrow for better results.
After all grafts have been collected, the implantation site is prepped and local anesthetic is applied. The physician will carefully and strategically create tiny openings for the grafts to be implanted. This part of the procedure is very important as the angle, density and placement of each graft will determine how natural-looking the results will be.
After the Procedure
The average SmartGraft hair transplant procedure may take five or more hours from start to finish, while some procedures may take less. This depends, in part, on the number of grafts required to achieve desired results. All patients are advised to make arrangements for someone to take them home safely, but this is required if a mild sedative is used during the procedure.
Your physician will give you comprehensive instructions on what to expect in the coming weeks and how to care for your newly transplanted hair. Most physicians recommend that you shampoo the day after the procedure using a “cup wash” method which will be explained to you.
Most patients can return to work the following day and resume full activity, including their fitness and sports regimen, within a few short days. In most cases, evidence of the transplant goes undetected by others until months later when they notice your fuller, natural looking head of hair.
Newly transplanted hair grows naturally in several phases. During the first several weeks your hair will take root and then begin to shed. This is perfectly normal. You will see new hair in about three months, followed by a noticeable improvement in six months and full growth at 9 to 12 months. Once your new hair has grown in, you will be able to care for it just like when you had it the first time!