Hair shedding after hair transplant surgery can come as a shock to many. If the implanted hairs fall out again after a few weeks one might think that the hair restoration procedure was a failure. Temporary hair loss is completely normal, however.
Nowadays, hair transplantation is no longer an abnormal cosmetic surgery procedure. Because beautiful, full, and healthy hair still stands for success and youthfulness even in today’s enlightened society. This is not the case with thinning hair or bald patches on the head.
After a few weeks, however, many patients are shocked when the freshly transplanted hair suddenly falls out. However, this is no reason to panic, but a completely normal process.
Shock Hair Loss After Hair Transplant
Nobody loves a bald scalp, so hair transplant surgery is amazingly well known among people of all age groups and popular among both genders- male and female. And almost all the patients with baldness prefer hair transplant treatment. But one of the most stressing issues after getting a hair transplant is losing the remained natural hair around the operational area. Although this is not always the case, this is a typical situation known as shock hair loss.
Why Shock Loss Occurs ?
Shock loss may occur for different reasons. The patient may feel irritated in the wake of seeing their regular hair falling, mainly because the target of the hair transplant surgery is to stop the falling. But remember, shock loss is a temporary phase of hair shedding that happens after the transplant treatment, and often, this is considered a condition that will fade soon. After some time, the hairs begin to grow again, so nothing is to worry about.
What Is Shedding?
Shedding, whereby the transplanted hair falls out for over 90 per cent of the grafts after two weeks, is needed for the follicle to regenerate and create new hair.
When the hairs are shed, there may be a crust at the top of the hair and a bulb at the bottom. Scabs fall off with hairs in them but this does not mean that the follicle is removed; follicles will remain underneath the scalp.
The scabs will begin to fall off in 5 to 7 days from the donor area and 7 to 10 days from the recipient area. This process can be accelerated by using Vitamin E oil or water-based moisturising cream, such as Aqueous cream, on the scabs overnight, starting on Day 3.
Great care should be taken post-surgery to minimise pain and eliminate the chances of infection.
Is Shock Loss Associated With Any Particular Surgical Technique?
Our professionals at Martinick Hair Restoration are often asked if there is less incidence of shock loss with Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) rather than Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).
There is no proven link between shock loss and any type of surgery.
Shock loss can occasionally occur around the stitches, but this too is temporary and the use of Hair-A-Gain (Minoxidil) will assist regrowth.
The application of Hair A-Gain (Minoxidil) after day three following a procedure will decrease the likelihood of shock loss as well as encourage faster regrowth of any shed hairs.
Be mindful though that bad techniques and inappropriate handling will maximise shock loss.
Hence, hair transplant surgery must be performed by a skilled and experienced physician.
Hair Shedding Of Non-transplanted Hair
Some patients may notice that hairs that haven’t been transplanted can shed after a hair transplant. The risk of shedding non-transplanted hairs is increased if someone has a large number of thin or miniaturised hairs that sit in-between newly implanted hairs. Like transplanted hairs, these native non-transplanted hairs shed because their follicles also move into a resting phase following the trauma of surgery.
Shock loss of non-transplanted hair can occur from 2 weeks following surgery but can also occur months later. This process, although rare, self-resolves. And all hair that has shed should regrow.
Hair goes through a cycle of growth and shedding made up of the anagen, catagen and telogen stages. This cycle, unlike the hair growth cycles of other mammals, is completely random, and a varying number of hairs can be in any one of these phases at any given time.
The anagen phase is otherwise known as the active phase of hair, and lasts for about 2-6 years. During this phase, hair grows about 1cm every 28 days. The catagen phase is referred to as the “transitional phase”, and lasts for 2-3 weeks. At any given time, about 3% of all hairs are in this phase. The telogen phase, otherwise known as the “resting” phase, is where most shedding occurs. About 6-8% of all hairs can be in the telogen phase, and can last for about 100 days. During this time, as much as 50-100 hairs are shed.
Post-Operative Shedding of Transplanted Hair Grafts and Existing Hair
Patients often report continued hair shedding after undergoing a hair transplant procedure. It is important to note that hair shedding after a hair transplant is a normal occurrence and is the body’s way of responding to the trauma it received during the hair transplant procedure.
A hair transplant procedure is the movement and individual placement of genetically resistant hairs from the donor area (located at the back of the head) to the areas where the scalp is losing hair. Tiny openings are created—otherwise referred to as “stab incisions”—wherein the individual grafts are placed. Regardless of whether FUT or FUE is performed, the procedure can be quite traumatic on the scalp and the surrounding hairs, and as a result, the hair grafts and the existing hairs can temporarily shed. This occurrence is called “effluvium”, and is sometimes referred to as “shock loss”
Shedding of hair grafts after a hair transplant can be noticed anywhere between 1-5 weeks after the hair transplant procedure. Patients are often alarmed by the continued loss of hair, however, a few months after the procedure; they can be assured that new hairs will eventually grow back again. Keep in mind that “shock loss” is a normal part of the hair restoration process and is not indicative of any permanent damage on the hair – though it is unavoidable, it is also temporary. New hairs will take time to mature and will grow at different rates.
How To Prevent Shock Loss After Hair Transplant ?
Shock loss isn’t something that always happens or is expected after the hair transplant treatment, and if it happens, it will fade soon because it is always temporary (in almost 90% of cases), and hair starts growing again in a couple of months or weeks. In addition, numerous patients can stay away from this risk by taking some medicines or by taking some precautions; that is:
- Don’t touch after treatment: After hair transplant surgery, it is necessary not to touch or contact your hair grafts until at least one week.
- Keep your scalp moisturised with medicated sprays: You can secure your new hair grafts and prevent them from getting excessive dryness with some special sprinkles. These should be used typically, especially in the initial days after your hair treatment.
- Sleep with a soft pillow or try a neck pillow: When your hair grafts are new, it’s prudent to lay down with a soft neck pillow to diminish the danger of caress on your scalp against a pillow during your sleep.