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Itching, Pimples and Hair Loss after Hair Transplant Surgery: Is This Normal?

11/7/2012 2:14:44 AM

Question:

I had a hair transplant 7 weeks ago by the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique with the help of a micro motor. The first week I had no pain but swelling of my head and little discomfort. After 12 days, the transplanted hair started to fall out in the shower and at night time in bed. The hair that has fallen out was very dry and some of them had scabs stuck to them. Some hair looked like it had come out with its root but there was no blood. I investigated this and found out that the hair follicles become permanent 9 days after the surgery. Then, around the 5 to 6 week mark I have noticed areas filled with pus which look like a medium sized pimple and I had about 5 or 6 of them on my head. I have removed these spots by carefully squeezing the pus out with a cotton bud and a sanitized needle; inevitably there was a small amount of blood and pus.

My question is: As I am approaching the 8th week mark after my hair restoration surgery, I cannot stop touching my head due to it being very itchy both in the donor and recipient areas. The top of my scull (recipient area) looks red and I had a few areas still filled with pus. I am a little concerned about scratching this area in my sleep as this morning I found some hair on the bed and under my fingernails. It looked like there was a little bit of blood. I think it is natural and this must be all part of the healing process but I wanted to have a second opinion. And, how can I remedy the itching? Is it possible to use an anti-septic such as tee tree oil to help the healing of the tissue?

Answer:

Most of what you've described sounds perfectly normal but let me clarify one point. At 9 to 10 days post-op, it's the follicular unit grafts that become securely anchored and permanent. The follicles within those grafts will shed and they will appear just as you've described above.

It is also quite common to experience pimples prior to and in the early stages of new hair growth. The hair transplant recipient area will also appear red or pinkish for a period of weeks or months. During this stage of healing and growth, you should avoid severe scratching and, if this is happening in your sleep, you may want to consider wearing socks on your hands at night until the itching is controlled.

If the redness, irritation and pimples are severe, you may be experiencing folliculitis and should take steps to control it as it can affect the outcome of your transplant. Consult with your hair restoration physician or GP for a professional diagnosis. You doctor will also be the best qualified to recommend a remedy for your itching.

David (TakingThePlunge)

Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.

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