After undergoing FUT or FUE hair transplant surgery, you may be eager to get back to your day-to-day life as soon as possible, but it’s important that you don’t rush into anything that may affect your recovery. Exercise is undoubtedly very important to our overall health, but in the short term, your post-surgical recovery should be your main priority.
Both FUE surgery (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT surgery (Follicular Unit Transplantation) involve hair follicles being taken from a donor area at the back of the scalp and transplanted to areas that have been affected by hair loss. After the surgery, the newly transplanted hair grafts will need to be looked after correctly to ensure that the scalp can heal – so how long should you wait before exercising after a hair transplant?
What are the risks of exercising after a hair transplant?
The reason why it’s recommended that you avoid exercise soon after surgery is to protect your new hair grafts and reduce the risk of infections, to help promote healthy hair growth. Some of the potential issues associated with exercising after a transplant include:
- Sweating – Sweating is unlikely to affect the results of your hair transplant but after surgery, the scalp can be very sensitive, and sweating can cause irritation. It can also potentially lead to infections around the surgical sites.
- Stretching – Some types of exercise, such as sit-ups, can stretch and strain the back of the neck. If you have undergone FUT surgery, this is a particular risk, as the scar on the donor site will still be healing. The stitches may tear, which can lead to bleeding.
- Blood pressure – Strenuous exercise increases your heart rate which, in turn, will raise your blood pressure. Increased blood flow to the scalp can lead to swelling and potentially bleeding.
- Head injury – Contact sports, such as rugby or boxing, put patients at a higher risk of head injury, which can damage the hair follicles and have an adverse effect on the outcome of your hair transplant.
When can I start exercising again after hair transplant surgery?
If you have had FUE surgery, you should be able to resume exercise as normal after two weeks, but it’s better to err on the side of caution and ease yourself back into it gently. For those patients who have undergone FUT surgery, you should generally wait around a month before returning to your normal exercise routine.
In the first 1-3 days after surgery, exercise should be kept to an absolute minimum – if possible, you should even avoid walking anywhere. During those first few days post-transplant, you should allow yourself to take things easy.
After the first week or so, you can start to re-introduce gentle exercise, such as walking. For the time being, avoid any type of exercise that will raise your heart rate or cause sweating.
For contact sports and weight training, four weeks post-surgery will usually be an acceptable time to start participating again. You can also start swimming again around this point, as the scalp will have healed enough for the risk of infection to be reduced.
It’s worth noting that everyone heals at different rates, so although there are general guidelines on when you can start exercising again after your transplant, it’s different for everyone, so make sure to speak to your doctor to discuss what is best for you.