The risk for native hair shock loss is certainly a risk going into hair transplant surgery when hairs are being transplanted in between native hairs. Though the risk for shock loss in hair restoration surgery can be minimized, it is unpredictable.
First we have to differentiate between temporary and permanent shock loss.
Temporary shock loss can occur because of trauma to the scalp during surgery. These hairs will grow back.
Permanent shock loss can occur in one of two ways: 1) transection of the existing hair follicle or 2) trauma to the scalp to miniaturized hairs impacted by hereditary hair loss during surgery can be sent to early retirement. These hairs will not grow back. Transection of the hair follicle is a minimial risk in the hands of the right hair restoration physician.
Ways to minimize shock loss include:
- Use of FDA approved hair loss medication such as Propecia (finasteride) and/or Rogaine (minoxodil) to strengthen the miniaturized hairs 6 months to 1 year prior to hair restoration surgery.
- The hair transplant doctor’s use of smaller ultra refined blades using ultra refined follicular unit transplantation will mimimize scalp trauma.
- Spacing out the follicular unit grafts around the native hairs rather than dense packing them too close together will minimize trauma to the scalp.
- In my opinion, shaving the recipient area will minimize the risk of native hair loss as it is easier to determine proper angle and see in between the existing native hairs, thus mimimizing the risk of native hair transection. I believe this is especially true for transplanting hair into areas with a lot of native hair. I recognize that this has been disputed by other members of our hair restoration discussion forum.