• 14 December 2023
  • Dr. Ossman Ashraf

Last updated on December 14, 2023

When you decide to undergo a hair transplant, you’re making a significant investment in your appearance and confidence. But, it’s essential to understand that the journey to your new look might include some post-operative challenges, one of them being swelling.

In this blog, we’ll explore what causes swelling after a hair transplant and, more importantly, share some practical tips to reduce swelling after a hair transplant.

What is a Hair Transplant?

Before we explore post-op swelling let’s briefly clarify what a hair transplant is. A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that involves moving hair follicles (hair grafts) from one part of your body (usually the back of your head) to the bald or thinning areas. This technique is used to restore natural hair growth in areas affected by hair loss.

What Causes the Swelling After Hair Transplant Surgery?

Swelling is a common side effect of many surgical procedures, and hair transplantation is no exception. The swelling that occurs after a hair transplant is primarily due to the body’s natural response to surgery.

When surgical instruments are used, they can cause minor trauma to the surrounding tissues. In response, your body sends fluids to the affected area, resulting in swelling. Swelling also stems from injecting the local anaesthetic and fluid with adrenaline to control the bleeding. This combined with the trauma of the surgery is what gives the post operative swelling.

reduce swelling after hair transplant

Tips to reduce swelling after hair transplant – experiencing some swelling after a hair transplant is normal and should not cause concern.

Swelling Phases After a Hair Transplant

After your hair transplant, you may notice some swelling. It is present immediately postoperatively and is usually visible for 3-4 days. To avoid the swelling draining down the forehead and eyes we use a headband. Keeping the headband on for 3 days at least will contain the swelling to the scalp and avoid visible swelling in the face.

For most hair transplant patients, it’s pretty mild, and not too noticeable. But for others, especially right after the surgery, it can be more intense.
Swelling is usually categorised in these stages:

  • Stage 0: No swelling at all
  • Stage 1: A bit of swelling on the upper forehead.
  • Stage 2: Swelling takes over the upper and lower forehead, becoming more noticeable. (Using the headband for 3-4 days will keep the swelling at stage 1 and 2.)
  • Stage 3: Swelling spreads to your eyes and cheeks
  • Stage 4: It feels like a black-eye effect, making it tough to open your eyes and causing discomfort

Remember, this swelling is part of the healing process. It might take some time, but eventually, the hair transplant heals and swelling goes away, and your newly transplanted hair gets its time to shine.
So, don’t worry too much, and soon, you’ll be enjoying your revitalised hair with confidence and style.

reduce swelling after hair transplant

Tips to reduce swelling after hair transplant – swelling differs from patient to patient and in some cases, swelling can affect the forehead, eyes and cheeks area.

How Bad Is Too Bad That I Should Get Medical Help?

While some swelling is expected after a hair transplant, there are instances where it might be a sign of a more serious issue. If the swelling persists for several days, it could indicate a hair transplant infection.

Pay close attention if you experience pain, itchiness, or notice pus. In these cases, it’s important to contact our hair transplant clinic immediately. Prolonged swelling beyond 1-2 weeks could be a red flag, and seeking medical advice is the best course of action.

Tips to reduce swelling after a hair transplant

Now, let’s get to the part you’ve been waiting for: tips to reduce swelling after a hair transplant.

Here are some practical tips to help you manage post-operative swelling:

  • Sleep in an Elevated Position: Elevating your head while sleeping can help reduce swelling. Consider sleeping in a recliner or using extra pillows to keep your head elevated.
  • Take Your Meds: Follow our doctor’s prescribed medication regimen diligently. These medications can help control inflammation and minimise swelling.
  • Hydrate: Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and can aid in reducing swelling. Drink plenty of water to help flush out excess fluids from your body.
  • Enjoy some fresh Pineapple: Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Eating fresh pineapple or bromelain supplements may help reduce swelling.
  • Ice Packs: Applying cold compresses or ice packs to swollen areas can provide relief to blood vessels. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth to prevent direct skin contact.
    Wearing a Headband: Wearing a headband can help prevent fluid from travelling to your eyes and cheeks, reducing the severity of swelling.

Remember that it’s essential to follow our doctor’s post-operative care instructions for the best results.

In conclusion, swelling after a hair transplant is a common but manageable side effect. By following these tips and seeking medical help, if necessary, you can ensure a smoother and more comfortable recovery process.

Why Hair Doctors are the Best Place for a Hair Transplant

At Hair Doctors, we have a wealth of experience and a dedicated team of experts, we’ve successfully transformed the lives of numerous individuals by restoring their hair and confidence.

Our hair transplant doctors possess the precise skills and expertise necessary to perform hair transplant procedures with the utmost precision, ensuring that your results look completely natural and long-lasting.

We also understand the importance of post-operative care, including the management of swelling, to make your recovery as smooth as possible. When you choose Hair Doctors, you’re not just choosing a clinic; you’re choosing a partner on your journey to renewed confidence and a fuller head of hair.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


If you require more information about tips to reduce swelling after a hair transplant, please read our most frequently asked questions:

How do I reduce swelling after a hair transplantation?

To reduce swelling after a hair transplant, it’s best to sleep with your head elevated, take prescribed medications as directed by our hair transplant surgeon, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You can also apply ice packs to the swollen areas, and wear a headband to prevent fluid from pooling around your eyes and cheeks.

How long does hair transplant swelling last?

The swelling after a hair transplant usually starts immediately post operatively after the procedure and can last around 3-4 days. In most cases, it gradually subsides during this time. However, if the swelling persists for more than a week or is accompanied by pain, itchiness, or pus, it’s crucial to contact your doctors , as it could be a sign of infection.

Does ice help with swelling after hair transplants?

Yes, using ice packs can help reduce swelling after a hair transplant. Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the swollen areas for short periods can provide relief. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth to protect your skin from direct contact with the cold.

What can I do to help my hair transplant heal faster?

After a hair transplant, follow your surgeon’s instructions meticulously. Keep the area clean, avoid touching or picking, and steer clear of smoking or alcohol. Maintain a nutritious diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and stay hydrated. Gentle washing with a mild shampoo and avoiding strenuous activity can also promote faster healing.

This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.

Dr. Ossman Ashraf
About The Author

Dr. Ossman Ashraf

In 2009, Dr Oz graduated from the University of Dundee, UK with a qualification in Men’s Health and Aesthetic Medicine. He then furthered his qualifications in medical education and is currently the Medical Advisor/Educator for MOSH, Australia’s leading online Men’s Health platform. He is accredited by the London Hair Restoration Academy and specialises in using the most up-to-date micro FUE extraction and DHI implantation techniques for transplant surgery.

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