FUE: How bad will the post-op swelling be?

How much swelling should one expect and how long will it last?

Doctor Answers 10

It can be really bad

Most patient do not have swelling.  If there is swelling it is minimal.  Some (maybe 1 in 30 or 1 in 50) may get really bad swelling where your eyes close shut and you look like a Klingon from Star Trek.  This will last about a week (if it happens).

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Swelling After Hair Transplant

Generally my patients have very minimal swelling.  However, in some patients they do get minor swelling between day 3-5 which lasts a couple of days.  Applying Ice to the forehead can help as well as sleeping with your head elevated.

Amir Yazdan, MD
Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

FUE swelling

It can vary. Some people get no swelling and others have the eyes swell shut.  It almost never lasts beyond 7 days.  It varies from patient to patient. 

Rashid M. Rashid, PhD, MD
Houston Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Hair Transplant

Swelling can vary from patient to patient depending on how many grafts you have and where the grafts are placed. Swelling is normally gone by day 5 or 6 and does not hurt. 

Baubac Hayatdavoudi, MD
Beverly Hills Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Swelling after a hair transplant

The swelling might be  minimal  and  will passes in few days . It is important to follow up the post op instructions . Applying an ice pack  , taking  anti swelling tablets and sleeping  in the right position will protect you from  possible major swelling .

Ilker Apaydin, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Post op swelling after a hair transplant

We use steroid injections to minimize swelling but it does not always work. If you get swelling, it will occur within the first 3 days and last 1-2 days on average. Extra steroids often help prevent it. Older people are more at risk than younger people.

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Post op swelling

Your doctor should give you some post op regiment to minimize the chances of swelling.  However if you do get swelling, it usually comes around the third day and last for a couple of days. Applying ice packs and elevated head while sitting sometimes helps.

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

How to reduce forehead swelling

It is fairly common to experience some swelling of the forehead 2-3 days after hair transplant, especially if the frontal hairline is reinforced.  It can be very helpful to massage the forehead from the center to the sides to disperse any swelling that begins to occur (lymphatic drainage massage). Also, I encourage my patients to apply cool compresses intermittently for the first three days.

Scott Boden, MD
Hartford Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

FUE: Will there be swelling post op?

In the majority of cases there will be very little swelling in the recipient area, especially if the hair transplant surgeon is delicate and uses anti-inflammatory medication in one form or another. 

In a minority of cases of hair transplant at the front of the scalp there maybe swelling. If severe enough then it can collect on your forehead and possibly around your eyes for a few days

I generally prescribe anti-inflammatory medication after surgery and recommend using ice-packs for a few days to avoid this issue. There should not be much difference with regards to swelling whether your hair transplant was FUE or strip FUT.

Bessam Farjo, MBChB
Manchester Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Post op swelling - how much and how long?

Post op swelling depends on a number of factors - including the number of grafts transplanted, the area transplanted, the use of anti-inflammatory medications during the procedure, post op care and patient skin type. 

In general, swelling is more likely with bigger cases than smaller cases and more likely to be visible with hair transplants on the front of the scalp than the back of the scalp (crown transplants). Post op attention to icing and resting at 45 degrees or flat (rather than upright) might help a bit as well. 

But one of the most important factors in swelling appears to be whether or not your surgeon uses anti-inflammatory medications (steroids) during the procedure. Studies have shown this can greatly reduce swelling. 

But when all is said and done -- it's impossible to predict who gets swelling and who doesn't. Lots of patients have little to no swelling. 

If swelling occurs it usually lasts 2-4 days. 


Gholamali A, Sepideh P, Susan E. Hair Transplantation: Preventing Post-operative Oedema. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2010;3(2):87-89. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.69018.

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Vancouver Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.