Many hair transplant patients may be surprised to experience what’s commonly referred to as “shock hair loss” following their procedure. While this isn’t a common side effect or phenomenon, it does still occur in some patients. For the most part, shock hair loss after a hair transplant is temporary, but there are some cases in which it can be permanent depending on the circumstances of the procedure.
Before you even consider undergoing a hair transplant procedure, it’s absolutely crucial that you find out as much about the practice as possible and learn about how it might affect you. The first step is to schedule multiple consultations with different hair loss clinics in your area. Experienced hair transplant specialists should be able to explain all of your options and reassure you of your chances of going through shock hair loss.
What Is Shock Hair Loss?
When you undergo hair transplant treatment, the standard procedure constitutes the physician to remove small grafts of hair follicles from a donor area on your scalp and then re-implant those grafts into the recipient area(s) of your scalp. Unless you’re completely bald and the hair grafts were extracted from other parts of your body, the recipient area typically has some healthy growing hairs surrounding it.
Due to the initial trauma or “shock” of performing such an invasive procedure, some of those healthy hairs in the surrounding areas might fall out after a few days. This is what’s referred to as shock hair loss in the hair transplant industry, and it’s perfectly normal.
Understandably, some patients are troubled by this occurrence if they haven’t been properly prepared for its possibility. It’s the responsibility of your hair transplant surgeon to explain the possibility of shock hair loss during your initial consultation. In fact, they should be preparing you for any other risk factors that might affect you as well.
When Does Hair Transplant Shock Loss Occur?
Natural hair loss usually occurs due to environmental or hereditary reasons. If your body produces too much dihydrotestosterone (DHT), this can cause your hair to fall out prematurely. Hair transplant shock loss usually occurs during or after the procedure takes place for a number of reasons:
- It could be you’re body’s natural predisposition for hair loss
- Surrounding healthy hair follicles sometimes go into a state of shock during or after the procedure and tend to fall out—this is usually temporary
- Inexperienced surgeons can sometimes damage the surrounding hair follicles during the procedure
- If your hair is in the resting phase, telogen effluvium, during the time of the transplant, then it might seem like it’s falling out or not growing.
Hair shock loss usually affects the recipient area more often than the donor area, although it’s possible to experience it in both parts of the scalp if something goes wrong during the surgery.
When Does Hair Start Growing Back After Shock Loss?
As mentioned, hair transplant shock loss is usually temporary and the recovery period can begin in as little as two weeks following the procedure. Within that timeframe, you should notice at least one to two inches of hair growing in the recipient area, given that everything went accordingly during the procedure. Of course, in some cases, it can be very difficult to determine how long the shock loss will last after the hair transplant because everyone’s hair grows at varying rates and thickness levels. Some patients might experience a much slower regeneration process than others.
Is Shock Loss Preventable?
There are no absolute solutions that can totally prevent shock loss during or after a hair transplant surgery or hair restoration treatment. However, there are a few preventative measures that can be applied to at least hinder the process or reduce the amount of native hairs that are lost.
3 Ways to Prevent Hair Transplant Shock Loss
Here are three precautions that hair transplant surgeons stand by when it comes to trying to prevent or reduce the chances of hair transplant shock loss:
As a preemptive attack plan, some surgeons might prescribe a medication called minoxidil or Rogaine to offset the chances of native hairs falling out as a result of the surgery. Finasteride is usually administered post-operation to diminish the miniaturization of the native hair follicles in the surrounding areas next to the recipient zone of the scalp.
Improve Graft Density on the Scalp
When the scalp feels overwhelmed, stressed, or traumatized, the hair follicles are forced to enter into a premature and sometimes prolonged telogen effluvium phase as a method of soothing themselves. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that shock hair loss is not fully preventable, but it can be significantly reduced if the hair transplant is correctly and efficiently administered. That’s where a qualified surgeon with plenty of recommendations and accolades comes in handy. As long as your surgeon maximizes the number of grafts they extract from the donor site without damaging any of the surrounding hairs in the area from which the grafts are extracted and where they’ll be implanted, then the chances of shock hair loss will be significantly reduced.
Minimizing the Risk of Transection
Transection is when the internal structures of the hair follicles are severely damaged during the transplant procedure to the point where they can’t be restored or regenerated. This results in permanent shock hair loss, which is significantly rarer than temporary shock hair loss. When this happens, there’s no way of repairing the damage other than having another transplant done, and the best thing to do is to is to find a much more capable hair transplant surgeon than the one you went to initially.
Find a Local Hair Transplant Clinic Near You
Whether you’re experiencing shock hair loss after your first or second hair transplant, the expert hair transplant surgeons at the Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists can advise you on the best post-op remedies and treatment options.
In the 30+ years we’ve been in business, we’ve performed countless successful hair transplants and restorative surgeries for patients from all over the globe. To learn about our specialized hair transplant recommendations and procedures, please call us at (905) 272-0190 or toll-free at 1-800-563-3836.