Hair transplant surgery involves the pinpoint and meticulous extraction of follicles from the donor area of the scalp followed by an equally detailed and careful process of transplanting those follicles to parts of the scalp where they can grow and flourish. As with any other surgical procedure, there is the potential for minor complications to arise. In relatively rare instances, the very process of restoring a full head of hair can actually lead to the loss of some healthy hair in the days or weeks after surgery. Known as “shock loss,” this phenomenon involves the loss of some follicles in and around the donor and transplant areas but is no cause for alarm. Effecting less than 5% of all hair transplant patients, shock loss is temporary and any lost hair should reappear in short order.
What is “Shock Loss”?
No matter how skilled your hair transplant surgeon is, no matter how gentle he or she is in extracting and transplanting your hair follicles, a hair transplant involves a lot of disruption of the donor and recipient areas of your scalp. This stress on the scalp can interfere with normal hair growth and result in the loss of otherwise healthy hairs from either the donor site or the site of the transplant.
For example, during a follicular unit extraction (FUE) transplant, we remove follicular units one-by-one. Donor hairs are removed with a one-millimeter punch device and the procedure is abetted with a head positioning device to minimize movement. As precise and advanced as this process is, the removal of donor hairs can impact nearby follicles and this trauma can cause them to fall out after the procedure.
Shock loss can also occur in the recipient area where the hair grafts are being transplanted. The incision process (making the places for the grafts) can implicate neighboring follicles and cause them to go into a resting phase and ultimately fall out.
No Cause for Alarm
Obviously, seeing healthy hair fall out after you have gone through the effort and expense of hair transplant surgery can be disconcerting. But shock loss is a temporary phenomenon. Most healthy hair that falls out due to shock loss will regrow in a matter of months after your procedure, appearing as it did before.
While not “shock loss,” transplanted hairs (as opposed to neighboring, healthy hair) may also “fall out” in the first few weeks after surgery. This is normal. The hairs will recycle and begin growing in about three to four months.
As noted, shock loss after hair transplant surgery is very much the exception and not the rule. Nevertheless, you should be aware of the potential for this minor side effect when you consult with your hair transplant surgeon prior to undergoing your procedure.
Schedule an Appointment for a Hair Loss Evaluation Today
If you have questions about hair transplant surgery and want to find out whether it may be the right solution for your hair loss concerns, we invite you to schedule an evaluation at the Hair Institute of Miami. Drs. Nusbaum and Rose are internationally acclaimed hair restoration surgeons with more than 40 years combined experience. To receive a personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call or office directly at 305-925-0222