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How Long Does Manual FUE Hair Transplant Surgery Take and What is the Recovery Time?

Aside from the cost and effectiveness, one of the most common questions about the FUE hair transplant is the recovery time. Understandably, people are itching to get back to work and show off their new hairline.

But surely such a complicated procedure takes days to complete and the recovery process is even longer right? Not at all! As you will see below, an FUE hair transplant is a relatively quick procedure and you could be back at work (depending on your role) within 2-3 days!

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The Surgical Procedure – What to Expect and How Long it Takes

The surgical procedure itself is complex but due to the technologies and skill of the surgeon, a session can typically take between 2-4 hours. Please note that multiple sessions may be required to get the best coverage for your scalp. These sessions usually include the following steps:

Pre-surgery analysis and examination

Before surgery, there is a host of preparation including analysis of your scalp and hairline to determine the number of grafts required and the location of a new frontal hairline if necessary.

The surgeon and their team will also discuss with you where the donor hair is transplanted from and create an extraction plan to ensure that your existing hair is left relatively even.

Local Anaesthesia

You are fully awake during this procedure and it is not invasive so you only need a local anesthetic applied to your scalp to numb the operating area. Local anesthesia is applied with a needle so you may initially feel a little pain as this is applied.

Hair Follicle Collection

Once the local anesthetic is applied and working, the surgeon then works on collecting the hair follicles from the donor sites.

The hairs are taken from an even distribution to make sure that you are not left with any thin patches from the donor sites. Once they are harvested the hairs are placed in a special solution to preserve them until they are ready for transplantation.

Opening of Hair Channels in Your Scalp

The surgeon then creates openings in your scalp called channels and these are where the extracted hairs are transplanted too.

Transplanting the Collected Hairs

Lastly, the hair follicles are inserted into the openings created into the scalp thus completing the FUE hair transplantation. As stated, this entire procedure takes between 2-4 hours but this depends on the number of grafts you are having and it could take multiple sessions across 1-2 days.

Want to explore more hair transplantation techniques? Read these articles next:

The Recovery – Immediate and Long-Term Recovery Times

Recovery times can vary per person and they depend largely on how many hairs you had transplanted. However, there are several things you can expect during the recovery period including redness, swelling, and scabs, and these usually last for specific periods as explained below.

Redness and Swelling

Immediately after the FUE hair transplant, you can expect swelling around the forehead and potentially your nose and this will last for only 2-3 days.

Additionally, there will be redness on your scalp and this can last up to 7 to 10 days. Usually, the donor area (the area of your scalp where the hair was removed from) heals quicker than the recipient area (the area of your scalp where the hair is transplanted).

Scabs and Crusts

Scabs and crusts will also usually form on your scalp around the hair follicles and if you are conscious of these they will typically be gone after 7-8 days.

Expected Full Recovery

The above gives you an overview of the side effects you can expect and how long they take to subside. But what does this translate to in terms of your recovery time and when you can get back to work? To make things easier we have broken this into three simple recovery types based on your work:

  • Working from home: 2-3 days
  • Non-face-to-face work: 4-5 days
  • Face-to-face work: 7-10 days

If you work from home and do not have any face-to-face customer interactions you can typically get back into the swing after just 2-3 days.

The recovery time is a little longer if you work in an office or at a location away from home. If you don’t mind your colleagues seeing your shaven hair and potentially some redness and scabbing then you can comfortably return to work within 4-5 days.

If face-to-face interactions are regular occurrences with your work or you simply don’t want to return until your hair and scalp look normal again, this will take between 7-10 days. The only factor to consider here is that you may still have a short haircut compared to your usual style.

FUE Offers Fantastic Recovery Times and Minimum Disturbance

As you can see, this type of hair transplant is relatively convenient and offers a short recovery time. The procedure itself should take no more than 2 days and after that, the healing process is incredibly quick with no visible scars. You can get back to work with your new head of hair in no time – hopefully within 7-10 days!

Dr. Resul YAMAN

Dr. Resul Yaman is a highly experienced and renowned hair transplant surgeon. With over 13 years of expertise, he has transformed the lives of countless individuals through his innovative “modified low-speed micromotor” technique. Dr. Yaman’s commitment to using the latest methods and providing personalized care has established him as one of Turkey’s leading specialists. He specializes in hair transplantation, including eyebrow, mustache, and beard transplants. Dr. Yaman is dedicated to contributing to the hair transplant community, his work was featured in Hair Transplant Network, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, Hair Restoration Social Network, and other renowned niche publications.


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