One the most common questions that we receive from prospective patients is “how soon can I return to work after a hair transplant?”
It’s an extremely important question for all patients and, historically, there has been a false perception that one will require 2-3 weeks of recovery before returning to work. Though completely false, that lingering unfounded perception has been a barrier for many prospective patients.
In actuality, one could return to work one day after a hair transplant, assuming (of course) that a hair transplant recipient is able to work from home using a laptop with minimal effort, exertion, and concentration.
In all cases of recovery and returning to work, please consult with your doctor to determine the right plan for you.
Relatedly, we have seen countless examples of men smartly scheduling a “work from home week” immediately following a hair transplant, and therefore not losing any time at all, other than the day of the surgery itself.
If you work from home, an extremely quick return to action is possible because the recovery process of a hair transplant is actually quite simple. Yes – you will experience some post-operative pain for several days that most patients describe as mild or (at worst) moderate. However, this is mitigated with the use of painkillers which are prescribed by your doctor after the surgery.
Interestingly, for many patients the side effects of the painkillers themselves such as lethargy, sleepiness, “fog brain”, etc., are the actually most detrimental hurdles to immediately returning to work, although the apex of those side effects typically subside within 48-72 hours. If you do intend to begin working from home immediately after surgery, we also recommend rescheduling all meetings for at least 48-72 hours for that same reason.
For men who cannot work from home immediately after a hair transplant, the answer is more complex. In these cases, we typically recommend returning to work roughly 7 days after surgery, although please consult with your doctor. That gives your body enough time to move past the first few days of recovery when you’ll be relying on painkillers (and experiencing their side effects) more frequently.
One additional complicating factor is whether or not you received the FUE or FUT surgery. The more modern FUE surgery allows for a quicker and less painful recovery time, with patients nearly always returning to work faster. However, the FUT “strip” method is typically described as more painful for the recipient and also requires a mandatory return trip to the doctor to remove the sutures from the “strip” donor area. Meanwhile, FUE does not require a mandatory follow-up appointment, and has no sutures or stitches. If you opt for the FUT “strip” procedure, you may need to schedule several additional days off on top of what is discussed above.
To summarize, if you work from home, you can begin working again as soon as you return home and feel compelled to open your laptop. If you cannot work from home, we recommend waiting roughly one week, although you should consult with your doctor to formulate the best possible plan for you!