Shock loss from hair transplant: should I worry?
Before you decide to undergo a hair transplant, you need to inform yourself about the possible consequences and be prepared for them. As in any surgical intervention, hair transplantation has its side effects, however, most of them are simply a normal reaction to the treatment and can be managed easily.
One of such adverse reactions that may worry the patient is called shock loss from a hair transplant. We would like to discuss the reasons why this phenomenon occurs and why it should not disturb you.
- What is a shock loss from a hair transplant ?
- The mechanism behind a shock loss from hair transplant
- How to minimise a shock loss from hair transplant ?
- Conclusion : shock loss from a hair transplant, a normal side effect
What is a shock loss from a hair transplant?
Hair restoration surgery normally entails certain side-effects, such as scalp tenderness, swelling or some degree of pain, that can either be alleviated with medications or will subside on their own. Such side effects are experienced at least to some extent by every patient and usually disappear within 1-2 weeks following the surgery.
In most cases, the patients notice that the strands start to fall out shortly after the procedure. Here, we need to distinguish between post-surgery fall of the transplanted hair and the loss of normal hair from the whole scalp area after a transplant.
In case of a shock hair loss, the healthy transplanted strands shed some time after the surgery, normally within the first two months. This can be both temporary and permanent.
Temporary shock loss
Temporary shock loss is a normal reaction of the body to the trauma inflicted by the surgery. This happens because the process of implantation may temporarily cut off the blood supply to the hair. However, the hair follicle will still be intact and the new hair will be visible 3-4 months after.
The hair fall does not mean that the hair transplant has failed. The follicles themselves are still healthy and will produce new hair when they enter the active growth (anagen) phase. Besides, the original non-transplanted hair can also shed from the recipient area.
This does not mean that the original hair has been permanently damaged. It is rather a result of ‘shock’ from the surgery, since the transplanted hairs may push out the natural ones as they set in a new place.
Permanent shock loss
Sometimes shock loss occurs because of the poor job of the surgeon. A FUE procedure is extremely sophisticated and precise. It is very easy to damage the grafts while removing them. Hence, the specialist must possess exceptional skills and expertise for a transplant to be successful.
It is also possible to cause damage to the hair follicles to the point that they will not be able to produce new hair anymore. This is known as permanent shock loss. Be assured, that if a hair transplant is carried out by a professional team, you will not suffer such complications.
Does hair always shed after transplant?
Only a very small percentage of patients will not notice an excessive hair fall after a transplant has been performed. In those lucky individuals, the transplanted hair stays on the head for a few months and only shed by being pushed out of the follicle by the new hair.
The mechanism behind a shock loss from hair transplant
Shock loss normally takes place 2-10 weeks after the surgery, i.e. when the hair enters the resting phase. There are 3 stages of a normal hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen and telogen. Understanding the growth and the lifespan of hair can help to properly address the problem of shock loss from a hair transplant.
The anagen phase is the period of active hair growth. Here the hair cells multiply swiftly making the strands grow. In a healthy person, 80-90 per cent of hair is in the anagen phase. Interestingly, the duration of the anagen phase differs from person to person.
Genetics, nutritional habits and lifestyle are the factors that influence its duration. This explains why some people can grow their hair very long while others can only reach a certain limit of length.
The catagen phase, or the transition period, follows next. It lasts only about 2-3 weeks, during which the hair follicle shrinks, the hair growth ceases and the hair itself gets disconnected from the blood supply. Here the term ‘club hair’ is used, i.e. the hair that has stopped growing.
The telogen phase takes from 1 to 4 months. It means that the hair follicles become dormant and the club hairs detach and shed. It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs in the telogen phase every day.
Hair thinning and shedding result from the disruption of the normal hair growth cycle. The ‘shock’ from the surgery can shorten the anagen phase and cause hair fall. Keep in mind that this should not alert you and the problem will resolve itself within a few months.
How long does the shedding phase last after the surgery?
The point of time when the shock loss begins will vary from patient to patient and depend on which phase of the growth cycle the hair is in. It can take around 4 months before you can notice new hair growth.
How to minimise a shock loss from hair transplant?
The doctor can recommend you pre- and post-surgical treatment options with medications to reduce hair loss after the procedure. Some patients may go for pre-surgical treatment about a month before the procedure itself.
Minoxidil is sold under the brand name Rogaine and aims at stimulating hair growth. Generally, minoxidil is well-tolerated by the body. Possible side effects include unwanted hair growth in other body parts, itching and redness of the skin.
Finasteride, also called Propecia, does not boost the formation of new hair cells per se. However, it blocks DHT, the hormone responsible for hair loss, and slows down the progress of male pattern baldness.
Daily hair care
You might also need to complement your hair care routine with the right cosmetic products as well as natural homemade remedies. For example, an aloe vera mask can effectively remove a sebum buildup on the scalp, which, in its turn, prevents the hair from shedding.
Mass-produced hair products contain a lot of chemical components that aggressively impact our hair. You can try out the hair care line by Dr Balwi, designed to gently cleanse the scalp and promote hair growth. It contains a complex of natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals that can damage the hair shaft.
Conclusion : shock loss from a hair transplant, a normal side effect
Shock loss from a hair transplant can be upsetting for the patient. Such shedding can be triggered by a number of reasons, such as disrupted blood supply, the setting of the new hair in the recipient area and the general growth cycle of the hair. Nevertheless, it is a normal side effect that will subside over time. When it comes to baldness treatment, patience is key.
By opting for a hair loss clinic with years of experience, you can be sure that the chance of any possible complications will be minimised. If you still have any questions regarding hair transplants feel free to contact our specialists and receive a free consultation!