In hair transplant surgery, follicles are removed from the donor site of the scalp in a precise and thorough manner. This procedure is followed by a just as detailed and meticulous process: the extracted follicles are transplanted to other head regions where they can continue to grow and thrive. Similar to the case with any other type of surgical operation, there is always the possibility of experiencing some very small consequences.
In extremely unusual cases, regenerating a head full of hair might sometimes cause some healthy hair to fall out in the days and weeks after surgery. This condition can happen even in patients who have had a successful procedure.
This condition, known as “shock loss,” entails the loss of certain follicles in or around the donor or transplant locations; however, there is no reason to be alarmed about this development. Shock loss is a transient condition in fewer than 5% of hair transplant patients. It is expected that any hair that has been lost will grow back within a short period.
What Exactly Does “Shock Loss” Mean?
No matter how experienced your hair transplant doctor is, no matter how careful they are when removing and transplanting the follicles, hair restoration involves a lot of disturbance of the recipient and donor regions of your scalp. Because of the strain on the scalp, you may shed healthy hair at the donor or transplant site.
For instance, when performing a follicular unit extraction transplant, surgeons remove individual follicular units from the donor area. The donor’s hairs are extracted using a punch instrument one millimeter wide, and the treatment is helped along by a head control device that restricts movement as much as possible.
The extraction of donor follicles can affect surrounding follicles and the damage that this causes can cause those hairs to fall out after surgery. This method is very exact and highly developed.
It is also possible for the recipient area, which is getting hair grafts transplanted, to experience shock loss. Making the sites for the grafts, which involves making incisions in the scalp, might affect the hair follicles in the surrounding area, causing them to enter a resting period and ultimately shed their hair.
What Is the Time Frame of Shock Loss?
Shock loss typically begins days to a week after the hair transplant process has been completed. Shock loss most frequently manifests between the second and eighth weeks after the operation. This shedding period appears very normal and can be hidden by the remaining hair on the other parts of your head if it occurs quickly enough.
Reasons Why Some Patients Experience Shock Loss Following Hair Transplant Surgery
Trauma is the most common reason for a loss of shock. “Shock loss” refers to the loss of natural hair in either the recipient or donor region after a hair restoration operation has been performed on a patient. You can express this condition more simply by using the term “shock loss.”
The stress the hairs are subjected to may be of chemical or physical characteristics, or it may even be a combination of the two. The surgical instruments used to accomplish the hair transplant may be the source of the physical or mechanical problem.
Working with high magnification, seeing the openings clearly between the rows of hair that already exist, and avoiding transplanting hair in regions that do not have gaps are ways to prevent hair loss caused by mechanical factors.
The body’s inflammatory responses, which were brought on by the operation, are the chemical reasons. The body interprets any surgery as a symptom of trauma. In response, the surgery seeks to do its best to repair the damage by sending various immune cells to the injury site.
These inflammatory reactions affect the natural hairs that are already there, which are feeble. This traumatic reduction of the non-transplanted hair typically occurs in the recipient site in and around the area where the fresh transplant was performed. In contrast, it occurs less frequently in the donor site.
In the surgical procedure known as a hair transplant, hair follicles are transplanted onto the bald area of the scalp from a permanent zone, which is often the back of the head. In the region where the new hair is being implanted, the blood flow and nutrition may become temporarily hindered and competitive, triggering temporary loss of the current hair in the resting phase. In addition, there is a possibility that the new hair will compete with the existing hair for nutrients (Telogen phase).
However, this “shock loss” is only transitory and returns to its normal state after a few months have passed since the procedure that caused the shed. If the individual has several mini or fine hairs on the scalp, then these sets of hairs do not entirely regrow after an incident of shock loss.
This situation is because these small hairs are too frail and flimsy to grow again. The shock loss period typically lasts two to three months after the surgery. The explanation for the shock loss condition is unknown, but the blood supply alterations discussed before are the primary culprit. The likelihood of suffering from shock loss varies greatly from one surgeon to the next and the procedures each performs.
There is no correlation between the transplant technique and the degree of shock loss. It is frequently observed that women, as opposed to men, are more likely to have shock loss. Also, shock losses occur more frequently in larger hair transplant instances than in smaller ones.
Shock hair loss, also known as shock loss, is a phenomenon that you and your transplant surgeon should have a detailed conversation about before you go through with the actual hair transplant process. Although it is a very uncommon event, it takes place in approximately 5% of all transplant procedures. Performing pre-operative hair maintenance, which may include taking drugs like Propecia or Regaine, can assist in lowering the risk of experiencing a sudden loss of existing hair.