Prior to having a hair transplant, there are several general precautions that most doctors will take. Further specifics are usually given prior to the transplant procedure. Typical preoperative instructions include the following.

What should I do or not do right before my hair transplant?

  1. Do not get a haircut prior to a transplant because any trimming required will be done by the hair transplant technician. If the hair is cut too close, the doctor may not be able to determine where to put the transplants. Also, shampoo your hair well as close to the hair transplant time as possible. Even though we will place an antiseptic on the ear, it’s nicer to start with a clean scalp.
  2. Eat a good meal during the day, but do not eat or drink anything within one hour prior to scheduled transplant. This is because hungry people are more nervous. The one-hour period not to eat is to prevent nausea during nitrous oxide anesthesia.
  3. Do not exercise twenty-four hours prior to transplant. Exercise tends to raise blood pressure temporarily. This usually increases the chance of bleeding during the procedure.
  4. Wear a shirt which buttons rather than a pullover as your head may have a small dressing. If you have a hairpiece, you will not be able to wear it until the second day.

Can I drink alcohol before a hair transplant?

How much time before my surgery should I stop drinking alcoholic beverages? 48 hours is the rule before all hair transplants. Don’t drink alcohol or take aspirin for forty-eight hours, drinking alcohol thins your blood. This may result in oozing from the transplant sites or donor area after your surgery.

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It is important that no alcoholic consumption takes place within forty-eight hours of transplant surgery. Alcohol interferes with your blood platelets and slows down the clotting process. It may also increase bleeding during the transplant.

Do not take any aspirin or aspirin-containing products for the same reason you shouldn’t drink alcohol.

Other Things to Consider Before Your Hair Transplant

You should not smoke for a week-ten days days before and after hair transplant surgery. Smoking robs the blood of oxygen necessary for healing and growth. Although the scalp has a great blood supply, smoking cessation is still indicated pre and post-op. This precaution is is met with the most noncompliance and is almost expected from vast majority of patients who smoke because most smokers will not experience any problems in healing or hair growth. Nevertheless it is still contraindicated.

Don’t forget to write down your questions for the doctor before the procedure. This is because nervousness may make you forget to have your concerns answered at the time. Write the answers down so you will remember them.

Brian Johnson MD

Brian Johnson MD

Dr. Brian Johnson is a professor of dermatology. He has conducted numerous research studies about hair loss and it's effects on the human psyche. Dr. Johnson has written for Maclean's, Motherboard, the National Post, and the Huffington Post.

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