There are many different forms of hair loss, but fortunately there are nearly as many different options to help address them. One of the most effective and long-lasting treatment methods is hair transplantation surgery. Regardless of whether the patient opts for a follicular unit grafting (FUG) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) procedure, hair transplant surgery can help restore healthy, growing hair to areas of the scalp where hair has started to thin in both men and women. However, it is important that any potential candidate for these procedures realize that hair transplantation is major surgery and, like any surgical procedure, it carries with it certain inherent risks. Understanding these potential complications and how to best minimize or even avoid them can help ensure that you achieve the best possible hair transplantation results.
The most common potential side effect of hair transplantation surgery, shock loss refers to the shedding of one’s existing hair due to the trauma of the surgical procedure itself. Hair follicles naturally go through regular stages of growth and shedding, but significant stress, which may be the result of surgery, rapid weight loss, or even emotional trauma, can sometimes cause the follicles to prematurely shift into the shedding, or telogen stage. Fortunately, this condition, called telogen effluvium, is usually only temporary. As the body heals the follicles naturally return to their regular growth cycle and begin to grow new hair within just three to six months.
In any hair transplantation procedure, there are always some grafts that fail to thrive in their new location. At The Griffin Center, we minimize this number by taking special care at every stage of the process to ensure that the grafts are viable and that they are placed into optimal positions. While it is possible to increase the odds by densely packing grafts into a single spot, this can actually do more harm than good. Overtaxing the blood supply to the scalp compromises not only the health of the grafts, but also the health of the hair follicles still present and growing at the transplant site. Choosing a respected and experienced surgeon who is well-versed in hair transplantation procedures is often the best way to avoid the dangers of over-packing.
Newly transplanted hair follicles can sometimes become inflamed, leading to itchy red bumps on the scalp, a condition called folliculitis. The best way to avoid folliculitis is by carefully following all of your doctor’s post-surgical instructions and scrupulously keeping all of the scheduled follow-up appointments, but even if they do occur, mild cases usually heal naturally in about two weeks. Warm compresses or medicated shampoo can be used to reduce itching and speed the healing process, although more serious cases may need to be treated with antibiotics to eliminate possible associated infection.
Unfortunately, any time the skin is cut a scar of some kind occurs. Hair transplantation generally leaves behind, at the donor site, either a single linear scar (in the case of follicular unit grafting) or many tiny circular scars (in the face of follicular unit extraction). The experienced surgeons at The Griffin Center are highly skilled at minimizing the appearance of surgical scars and even use a special type of closure that allows hair to grow through the scar itself, further camouflaging its appearance. In either case, hair remaining at the donor site will grow down over any scars, making them significantly less noticeable.
During pre-surgical consultations, we always carefully go over all of the common potential complications of hair transplantation, as well as those issues which may be particularly germane to the individual patient’s case. Carefully following our custom pre- and post-operative instructions, diligently attending all follow up appointments to check your progress, and taking all prescribed medications for hair loss are the best ways to optimize your hair transplant results. If you have any additional questions about your hair loss, or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis to help understand your options, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.