After Scalp Reduction

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?

There will be a mild to moderate amount of pain and discomfort associated with the surgery. This should be easily controlled with oral medications. Tylenol with codeine (or equivalent if allergy to codeine exists) is generally always sufficient for pain control.

The discomfort and pain should begin to decrease within 48 to 72 hours after surgery.  A significant increase in pain after this period should prompt you to call the office.

Generally most of the discomfort that you will feel will arise from the tightness in your scalp. This tightness will gradually improve over several weeks.

A bulky cotton compression dressing will cover your scalp for 2 to 3 days after your surgery. Your surgeon will tell you whether the dressing may be removed at home or requires a visit to our office.

After the dressing is removed your hair will be matted and somewhat tangled. A shampoo with a good conditioner will quickly get your hair back to it’s normal state.

The area of the incision will be tender to the touch. This will improve significantly within the first week.

It is of utmost importance to tell Dr. Ducic ahead of time if you have ever been on Accutane, received radiation therapy to the head or neck, taken steroids or immunosuppressive agents.

Immunosuppressed patients (HIV positive, chemotherapy, AIDS etc.) and patients with certain autoimmune disorders may not be good candidates for this procedure as the risks of poor healing and infection leading to permanent scarring and poor aesthetic results may be much higher. It is mandatory that you inform Dr. Ducic if you have any of these conditions before surgery.

CALL THE OFFICE PROMPTLY IF YOU NOTICE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • development of a temperature elevation exceeding 100.0 degrees.
  • unusual bleeding or discharge from the incision.
  • a significant progressive increase in pain which is not easily relieved by taking your prescribed medication.
  • the dressing is severely shifted or inadvertently removed.

If any of the above should occur after regular office hours, do not hesitate to reach us through the answering service. For whatever reason, if you notice one of the above changes and cannot reach us at our office or through the answering service, present yourself to the emergency department for evaluation.

HOW DO I CARE FOR MYSELF AFTER SURGERY?

Make arrangements to have someone drive you to, and from, your surgery.

Having someone stay with you on at least the first night after your surgery is highly recommended.

Be sure to fill your prescriptions before your surgery since it means one less thing for you to worry about afterwards.

Arrive for your surgery in loose comfortable clothing. Your top should button or zip rather than pull over your head.

Take the antibiotics and pain medication only as prescribed by the office.

Do not take any aspirin or any anti-inflammatory compounds for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your surgery unless you first discuss it with your surgeon.

If you are a smoker you should not smoke for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery and 2 weeks after surgery. Smoking and chewing tobacco inhibit your circulation and can significantly compromise your surgical outcome.

Sleep with the head elevated for the first week after surgery. After the dressing is removed, gently shampoo the scalp and hair and rinse thoroughly. Be careful when combing your hair to avoid accidentally catching the sutures. Your scalp may be somewhat less sensitive to touch for some weeks or, occasionally, months, after surgery. For this reason, be very careful when using a hairdryer, or curling iron as excess heat from the device may injure your scalp without you being aware of it.

The scalp is closed with either surgical staples or sutures. In either case they need to be removed between 10 to 14 days after your surgery.

You should do no vigorous exercise and should avoid any significant physical exertion, lifting or straining for a minimum of 3 weeks after your surgery, as this activity could disrupt your wound healing. Plan on taking it easy.

Scalp reduction usually provides for a significant reduction in the zone of hair loss. You should realize that more than one procedure is usually required for the best result.

RECOVERY TIMETABLE

Approximate recovery after scalp reduction is as follows:

DAY 1 Return home.

DAY 2-3 Maximum bruising and swelling. Dressing removed.

DAYS 10-14 Stitches or surgical staples removed.

REMEMBER: If you have any concerns or questions, please contact our office any time. Our office should be a source of information and reassurance throughout this entire experience, from the time of your first consultation and continuing after your surgery.