Excess hair loss is one of the most concerning conditions for which both males and females are seeking medical attention. If it exceeds severe hair loss then hair transplant surgery is offered by a doctor. Follicular Unit Transplant (F.U.T) and Follicular Unit Extraction (F.U.E), types of hair transplant procedures, both procedures use grafts to be implanted at recipient site (affected/bald area). During hair restoration surgery minor trauma is implicated in the recipient site as a result of which shedding of some transplanted hair occurred. Losing transplanted hair is a normal finding and is a body’s natural response to trauma made during surgery.
Cycles of hair growth
It is important to have an idea about hair growth phases to know phase in which losing transplanted hair is seen
There are three phases of hair growth
- Anagen phase is the active phase of hair growth. There is 1 cm growth of hair after 28 days during this phase
- Catagen phase is also known as transitional phase, 3.0 % of all the hairs are present in this phase at a particular time. Duration of this phase is 2-3 weeks
- Telogen phase is the resting phase of hair growth and accounts for 6-8% of all hairs, remaining for about 100 days. It is the shedding phase because during this phase an average of 50 to 100 hairs is shed.
Hair shedding is seen during the telogen phase that is the resting phase. As the hair follicles are implanted at the recipient site they remain dormant and enter into resting phase, that is the phase where shedding of new follicles occurred.
Hair transplant shock loss causes
Reduce blood supply to grafts after the procedure leads to losing transplanted hair.
Traumatic reaction of surgery that include
- Trauma occurring during cutting or extracting follicles and implanting them back.
- Incisional trauma and anesthesia affecting surrounding follicles
It is not noted in every individual undergoing hair restoration surgery procedure, some may experience it while others may not. It is visible after one week of surgery up to six weeks post transplant procedure.
Following options are available for preventing hair shedding
- Medications: Minoxidil, for both women and men, is available in liquid form and Finasteride is taken by men only, in pill form reversing the shedding of hair
- Hair restoration procedure should be done at time when there is enough grafts available so that implanted follicles remain strong and not easily shed away
- Using camouflage for thinning after procedure. Discontinue its use when transplanted hair starts to grow
A temporary process
Losing transplanted hair is not an alarming situation rather it is a normal part of restoration procedure commonly named as Shedding of hair or ‘Shock Loss’ despite of its name it is not a shocking situation. Doctors should counsel about it to every patient undergoing hair transplant procedure. It is a temporary process. The native hair shaft shed off and dermal papilla remains intact in its place and is enabled to grow back new hair, thus it is not a permanent condition.
Time required to grow back new hair
New hair growth occurs at different rates and requires patience of patients. At first very thin and delicate hair grows then with passage of time they turn into thicker hair. It takes an estimated period of four to eight months when new hair starts to grow after shock loss. After one year to eighteen months they became thicker and stronger
It is considered by many individuals that it is a rejection response which is a false assumption. It is not limited to recipient sites but can be found in donor sites too. An experienced and skilled practitioner can minimize its risk of occurring by placing grafts at the right place and knowing appropriate angle of graft placement. Losing transplanted hair or not losing them is not a predictor of outcome of transplant procedure. Strictly following the care of post transplant procedure is important to reduce hair shedding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can transplanted hair fall out?
Yes almost 85 % to 90% hair fall out after the procedure between 2 to 4 weeks. It is a temporary phase and no need to worry as these will start growth three months after the procedure.
How can I prevent hair shedding after the procedure?
There are different options where we can minimize shock loss like platelet rich plasma in combination with procedure, Minoxidil spray or foam and various cosmetic products to camouflage it.
How long does shedding last?
Normally after the first week, hair fall starts and the process is completed in 2 to 4 weeks. There is new hair growth after 12 weeks.
Can we avoid hair transplant shock loss?
No, we cannot avoid it as there is minor trauma of the procedure, less blood supply due to adrenaline in the local anesthesia to prevent bleeding and less oxygen while grafts are outside the body. All these factors impact on the shock loss or hair shedding after the procedure.
Is there any specialist who can minimize losing transplant hair in Lahore Pakistan?
Yes, Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry can guide and give you tips on how to prevent or minimize hair fall. To contact with him you may call or WhatsApp +92-333-430-9999