What are the Side Effects of Hair Transplant Surgery? Can it Affect the Brain?

What are the Side Effects of Hair Transplant Surgery? 

We hear about the various side effects that occur from minor surgical procedures, but what about hair transplant surgery? In this article, we will be discussing potential side effects that may occur from surgical hair restoration.

Hair transplants unlike medications do not carry side effects however, there are some post-operative concerns that patients should be aware of prior to having a procedure. There have been some serious complications from hair transplant surgery due to surgical negligence. 

Immediately After Surgery 

Minor swelling can occur immediately after having a hair transplant procedure. In most cases, patients experience swelling around their forehead and eyes. However, some patients may also exhibit some minor bruising around the eyes and forehead and in extreme cases the swelling may cause the eyes to shut. Generally, most patients heal very rapidly and the bruising and swelling typically dissipates around the 7-10-days.

Some patients may experience redness on their scalp that may take several months to dissipate. Redness in the recipient area occurs when micro-incisions (recipient sites) are created in order to place the follicular units in to the balding area. It is normal for a patient’s skin to become red or pink while healing from a hair restoration procedure. Generally, patients with a darker skin complexion recover faster than fair skinned patients. Furthermore, scalp redness is typically indicative of minor inflammation of the skin, which is normal after having a hair transplant, but patients should contact their surgeons if they suspect they have skin-based infections such as folliculitis.

Shock Loss After A Hair Transplant 

Telogen effluvium (shock loss) is a form of short-term hair loss that occurs after stress, trauma or a surgical procedure. This temporary hair loss is mainly contained on the top of the scalp but can spread to other parts of the scalp. Telogen effluvium or shock loss can occur from surgery because hairs are transplanted in close proximity to native hairs. This causes trauma to the surrounding follicles which can cause telogen effluvium or shock loss. In most cases, all of the hair returns, and the hair life cycle returns to normal. However, some patients may not always regrow all of the lost hair. Therefore, it is imperative that a patient stabilize their hair loss prior to having a procedure.

Infections, Nerve damage and Necrosis 

While extremely rare, some serious skin related conditions may occur after surgery. With Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS), some patients complain about permanent nerve damage to the sides and back of their scalp where the donor tissue was excised. Most qualified hair transplant surgeons can reduce the risk of nerve damage by ensuring the scalp is elastic enough to support surgery. Infections while rare may also occur, as a result of surgical tools not being properly sterilized or poor cleaning. Infections can be treated with antibiotics swiftly to ensure the result is damaged from the infection. Necrosis is also known as skin death, which can occur from packing to many grafts in to a small area. Also, Epinephrine is commonly used to restrict the blood flow and reduce excessive bleeding. However, if administered incorrectly, the use of Epinephrine can cause skin death due to decreased blood flow.