Hair Transplant Side Effects

hair transplant side effects

What are the main side effects after a hair transplant? This is a common question asked by our patients visiting The Treatment Rooms London. This blog will aim to inform you about the main side effects you need to be aware of such as:

  1. Pain in the scalp donor and recipient area
  2. Swelling around your hair transplant, forehead and eyes
  3. Itching
  4. Bleeding at the donor or recipient site
  5. Crusting of the implanted grafts or at the donor site
  6. Inflammation or infection of the hair grafts
  7. Temporary loss of hair (shock loss)

Hair Transplantation

Before undergoing a hair transplant you will need to meet with your surgeon beforehand. In these meetings you should address all your concerns including the process of the surgery, what to expect afterwards, side effects to look out for and how your hair will grow in the future.

The surgery itself involves taking hair at the back and sides of the head and moving them to areas you are balding in. These hairs are not affected by the hair loss and thinning process, so when they are moved they remain where they have been implanted.

The surgery sounds simple- so are there any side effects you need to worry about? In short- yes there are.

As hair transplant is surgery you will realise that the process involves pre-operation assessment, anaesthesia, blood pressure control, precise cutting around and accurate implantation of grafts. Your aftercare following surgery is therefore incredibly important. You should expect a detailed breakdown of side effects and how to manage them by your hair transplant surgeon.

The main side effects you will need to be aware of are the following:

  1. Pain
  2. Swelling
  3. Itching
  4. Bleeding
  5. Crusting
  6. Inflammation/ Infection

Pain

Your pain should typically be worst on the evening of your surgery. The pain can be felt in your donor area but also where hairs have just been implanted, (1). It is often described as a graze like pain but shouldn’t be severe.

What is happening? The hair transplant involves many small cuts to your head. After the local anaesthetic has worn off you may start to feel some of these small cuts. By the next day the worst of the feeling should have worn off and you should feel comfortable. In a small number of patients where the transplant has been a large one, you might feel mild pain that persists for 1- 2 weeks.

How can you treat the pain? Any pain you feel can be easily managed using Paracetamol with Ibuprofen (or Nurofen). If you needed something stronger it is worth going back to your hair transplant surgeon to discuss what can be given.

What is your pain isn’t going away? If your pain is persistent following a hair transplant you ought to go back and see your surgeon. The pain might go away with a bit more time but in some cases the pain can be because of another problem. For example, in patients who have been over-harvested with poor implantation of grafts and delayed scalp healing.

Swelling

Swelling can start to develop the next day after a hair transplant (3). This tends to be worse in the forehead and around the eyes. It can last for 7-10 days post-surgery. In most patients this is mild but can in some cases be severe.

What is happening? As you have undergone surgery there will be an element of inflammation from the surgery. This inflammation will cause the skin tissue in the scalp to swell and feel tight. This can sometimes move down the forehead and affect the eyes.

How can you treat swelling? At The Treatment Rooms London, we routinely provide anti-inflammatory medications such as dexamethasone (a steroid). This is a tablet that you take once a day in the morning and it helps to reduce the swelling. In most patients the swelling is kept completely at bay.

What if your swelling isn’t going away? Sometimes in large hair transplant cases your swelling may persist for a bit longer that 7-10 days or might start to affect your eyes. You should at this point make an appointment to see your hair transplant surgeon. They will be able to advise on how to best manage the side effect. Rest assured this side effect should disappear.

Itching

Itching is often the last side effect to develop. It often affects the back and sides of the head where donor was taken. It can also affect the area where grafts have been implanted. Itching may start as early as 4-5 days after the procedure and can last up to a month.

What is happening? Like swelling, itching is secondary to the inflammation and healing processes your scalp is going through after surgery. Itching can also be due to a dry scalp after hair transplantation. In both circumstances the side effect tends to go away with time

How can you treat itching? At The Treatment Rooms London, we have written an extensive blog on this topic. Feel free to read it by clicking HERE. In summary you can use the following treatments:

1. Do not scratch the itch!
2. Salt water spray
3. Taking an anti-histamine
4. Medicated shampoo
5. Steroid scalp solution

Bleeding

Bleeding can occur as a side effect straight after your transplant. The back of the head where your hair follicles have been taken out will bleed on the day of your surgery. This will stop after the procedure and you will develop scabs. The area will heal over the next few days- weeks.

Bleeding in the area where follicles have been implanted is normal on the day of the procedure. You should not be bleeding the day after the procedure. If you are, you may have dislodged or removed an implanted hair follicle.

How can you treat bleeding? If you find you are bleeding the day after the procedure don’t panic. Simply get a clean swab/ cotton bud or cloth and apply gentle pressure to the area. Don’t rub as it might dislodge any follicles. The bleeding should eventually stop. You should notify your surgeon that this has happened as it could mean you have lost a hair follicle.

What if the bleeding isn’t going away? If you bleed despite applying light pressure then you should contact your surgeon who should see you as soon as they can.

Crusting

You may notice some crusts that appear in the donor area-these are scabs and they are normal. Crusts may also appear where your grafts have been implanted- this is also normal.

What is happening? The crusts appear because of dried blood and fluid from your surgery settling around each of your implanted hairs. Crusting can be prevented during your surgery by careful washing and spraying by your surgeon. Crusts may appear after your surgery too.

How can you treat crusting? Firstly- DO NOT pick the crusts off. You risk pulling the grafts out and ruining your hair transplant. We recommend spraying your grafts regularly in the first 5 days after surgery. This helps to prevent hard crusts forming. Once you start washing on the 5th day, soak your crusts for 5-10 minutes and wash the area away. Do not spray the area directly with your shower head but instead let water trickle over and wash the foam away. After 1-2 weeks you should be crust free.

Inflammation or infection of the hair grafts

As with any surgery there is always a risk of infection. Your hair transplant should be carried out in a sterile (clean) surgical room so this risk should be minimal. Infection can start as soon as a day after your surgery. Infection normally causes your scalp to feel hot, painful and itchy. You might even notice small painful yellow bumps in the area you have your new grafts.

What is happening? As the grafts have been implanted into small cuts there is a risk of bacteria settling into these cuts too and causing an infection around the hair (folliculitis).

How can you treat infection? Normally this can be treated easily with an antibiotic tablet. The tablet should start working within 1-2 days and clear your infection in 7 days. There should not be any risk to your grafts if this is done quickly so make sure you visit your surgeon promptly if you notice signs of an infection. Sometimes your surgeon may also recommend a cream to apply on your head. This can also help fight the infection.

Still worried about hair transplantation side effects?

Send us an email or Whatsapp us by clicking the icon to ask for our advice. Our Hair Loss Doctors and Surgeons are happy to help!

Read more:

References:

  1. Nusbaum BP, Techniques to reduce pain associated with hair transplantation: optimizing anaesthesia and analgesia. 2004, Am J Clin Dermatol, 5(1):9-15
  2. Avram M, Rogers N and Watkins S, Side-effects from follicular unit extraction in hair transplantation. 2014, J Cutan Aesthet Surg, 7(3): 177-179
  3. Gholamali A, Sepideh P and Susan E, Hair Transplantation: Preventing Post-operative Oedema. 2010, J Cutan Aesthet Surg, 3(2): 87-89
  4. Loganathan et al, Complications of Hair Restoration Surgery: A Retrospective Analysis, 2014. Int J Trichology, 6(4): 168- 172

Telogen Effluvium- What You Need To Know

female hair

Telogen effluvium is a form of hair loss. It is commonly associated with hair loss in a female but actually the diagnosis can affect males too. In most cases the condition self-resolves. However, it can be concerning to lose so much hair quickly. This blog helps to explain what Telogen Effluvium is and what treatments are available to you.

What does “Telogen Effluvium” mean?

Your hair goes through different stages of growth. Telogen effluvium is caused by a disturbance in the normal hair lifecycle. Hair initially grows from the hair root (anagen phase, lasting 2-6 years), then it stops growing and rests (catagen phase, lasting 2-3 weeks). Eventually this resting hair shortens and falls out (telogen phase, lasting 3 months). In the scalp 85% of your hairs are in the active growth phase (anagen) and about 15% of your hairs are being shed (telogen phase).

Telogen– this is the shedding phase of a hair follicle and it comes after two other phases (Anagen- growth phase, Catagen- end of growth phase)

Effluvium- the active shedding of hair

So in a nutshell, telogen effluvium, means you are suffering from hair loss and you are primarily shedding hair that is at the end of its lifecycle. If more of your hair switches into the telogen phase you will notice more hair being shed than is actually grown (less anagen hairs and more telogen hairs). This imbalance and hair loss is called telogen effluvium.

What does telogen effluvium look like?

Telogen effluvium causes hair loss and thinning all over the scalp and differs from Female Pattern Hair Loss where hair is only lost on the top of the scalp. There are two main types of Telogen Effluvium- Acute Telogen Effluvium and Chronic Telogen Effluvium.

Acute- lasting for a short period of time (up to 6 months)

Chronic– lasting for more than 6 months

Acute Telogen Effluvium

In Acute Telogen Effluvium, you will notice you lose hair all over your head. A particularly sudden stressful event normally triggers acute telogen effluvium and it causes more of your hairs to switch from a growing (anagen) phase to a resting (telogen) phase. These hairs will remain in this phase for 3 months and will eventually shed. The process usually resolves after 6 months and you should recover well.

Many different triggers have been found and you may realise you have experienced the following events that are now triggering your hair loss:

  • Going through a severe illness
  • Giving birth or going through an abortion
  • Psychological stress (e.g. death of a loved one)
  • Drastic changes in diet
  • Large blood loss
  • Surgical operation including hair transplant surgery
  • Traumatic accident (e.g. car crash)
  • Medications like Birth Control Pills

Chronic Telogen Effluvium

Although in most cases acute telogen effluvium self resolves after the initial stress event has passed, in some cases hair loss can persist past 6 months. This is called Chronic Telogen Effluvium- a condition where hair thinning and loss continues after 6 months.

How Do You Know If You Are Suffering From Telogen Effluvium?

If you are worried about a diagnosis of telogen effluvium then you should seek immediate advice from a hair loss specialist. If you wanted to book a consultation with the hair loss doctors at The Treatment Rooms London, then please click (here).

For both diagnoses it is important you are seen in person so you hair loss can be examined in detail. In most cases of acute telogen effluvium you should notice your hair grows back as the hair loss is temporary.

For those who may be suffering from chronic telogen effluvium it is important to exclude any common long term causes of hair thinning and hair loss such as:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Thyroid disease
  • Kidney or Liver disease
  • Stomach or pancreatic disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Long term viral infections
  • Medications that can cause hair loss

In some cases of chronic telogen effluvium there are no specific triggers and this is called primary chronic telogen effluvium whereby there is diffuse (all over the scalp) hair loss. Mostly women are affected by telogen effluvium (both acute and chronic) as they go through childbirth and can often have iron deficiency.

Can You Treat Telogen Effluvium?

In most cases of acute telogen effluvium you will notice your hair starts to grow back after 3-6 months. However, you can take the licensed medication, Minoxidil, to help treat your hair loss.

In chronic telogen effluvium, you will first need to exclude other causes of hair loss before undergoing treatment. If you are found to have primary chronic telogen effluvium (no specific trigger) then you may notice you benefit from Minoxidil too.

Unlicensed treatments for Telogen Effluvium include PRP injections to help stimulate hair growth and increase hair thickness.

References

Are Hair Transplants Dangerous?

dangerous hair transplants

A recent question was asked in the newspaper- is having a hair transplant dangerous or invasive? This blog will help answer the question for those of you who are interested!

Is a hair transplant dangerous?

In short the answer is- it can be. If you are operated in a clinic or by a surgeon that is inexperienced, unregulated and unlicensed it is certainly dangerous.

Choose a clinic that is regulated, established and a surgeon who is licensed and you should expect your hair transplant to be safe with good results. But what does it mean to have a procedure that is “invasive”.

The word invasive essentially means how much the surgery involves cutting into your skin. Like any other surgery, hair transplantation obviously involves undergoing some cutting into the skin and is considered “minimally invasive“. This is because the depth of each cut is normally not more than half a centimetre and is very small.

At The Treatment Rooms London we have sometimes seen patients come from clinics that are unregulated and unlicensed who have deeper cuts than this. It can result in terrible complications including permanent scarring like skin necrosis. We strongly advise you to do your research. Any clinic you go to in the UK should fit the following conditions:

  1. Have a Care Quality Commission License
  2. The surgeon should hold a GMC license

You can check both these conditions by clicking the following links:

  1. Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  2. GMC

What is a safe hair transplant?

A hair transplant can be a safe treatment. It relies on a few different factors which you should be aware of.

  1. Having a full consultation with your hair transplant surgeon
  2. Finding out how the operation will be carried out
  3. Having clear goals on what you expect from your surgery and see if this matches your surgeon’s expectations too

Have a full consultation with your hair transplant surgeon

It is important you get to know your surgeon and their clinic. Trust is an important part of any patient journey. Having a hair transplant is just the beginning and you will need to trust your surgeon to understand your wishes.

Secondly, you will need to meet with your hair transplant surgeon to vet their experiences and their qualifications (e.g. GMC licence). They should be able to give you a full consultation around your hair loss, the likely diagnosis and counsel you around the pros and cons of every treatment (not just a transplant). Sometimes, it might be in your best interests to delay a hair transplant rather than jumping straight into it.

Find out how the operation will be carried out

It is important you know where and how your surgery will be carried out. Having the operation in a CQC- registered clinic is the first step. Ask about how your surgeon and their team keeps a clean sterile environment so there is minimal risk of infection when you have surgery.

Have you thought about what type of surgery you will be having? There a two main hair transplant procedures (FUE and FUT). You should ask your surgeon which procedure you would benefit most from.

Have clear goals on what you expect from your surgery and see if this matches your surgeon’s expectations too

What is your current pattern of hair loss and what do you want to achieve by having hair loss treatment? Having a hair transplant might be an option for you but there is a limited amount of hair your surgeon can transplant. If you are young you might want to plan your transplant to account for further hair loss in the future. 

A transplant will never match your original hair density. However, by strategically placing hairs your surgeon can give you the illusion of having dense hair. You will need to have an honest conversation with your surgeon about what you would like from a hair transplant. Be prepared for your surgeon to guide you on what they think is also best for you- accounting for the following factors:

  1. How much hair you have lost so far
  2. How much hair you can have transplanted
  3. Whether you will lose more hair
  4. How much density your surgeon can safely achieve
  5. Whether you might require 2 sessions for a safe procedure 

Finally, the next concern you should then have is what you should expect when it comes to your hair transplant recovery. You surgeon should be able to inform you on your recovery and provide clear instructions about how you should care for your transplanted hairs in the days following the operation. For more information on common FAQs our patients ask us click on the following links:

  1. Common FAQs
  2. Patient recovery and aftercare
  3. What you can expect after a hair transplant

Hair Transplantation at The Treatment Rooms London

The above guidance is a basic requirement all hair transplant clinics should be providing their patients. At The Treatment Rooms London we are happy to answer questions or concerns our patients have about a hair transplant. Understandably, it is a large undertaking and choosing to have the procedure is a considered decision. Our 3 top tips are to take your time, be comfortable with your clinic and make sure you trust your surgeon.

References

  1. https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/dear-doctor-should-i-encourage-my-husband-to-get-a-hair-transplant-37839766.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507484/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840892/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4271303/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12174065
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825128/
  7. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/men-hair-loss-17/hair-transplants
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimally_invasive_procedure
  9. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/beware-of-the-hair-transplant-black-market/
  10. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/unregulated-hair-transplant-clinic/
  11. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gangrene/
  12. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/safe-hair-transplants/
  13. https://www.gmc-uk.org/
  14. https://www.cqc.org.uk/
  15. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/hair-transplant-death-man-wanted-more-grafts-in-1-go/articleshow/68366127.cms
  16. https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/mumbai-man-dies-hours-after-hair-transplant-what-are-the-side-effects-and-health-risks-associated-with-hair-replacement-surgery/380340
  17. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india/man-dies-within-50-hours-ofundergoing-hair-transplant

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Hair Transplant Clinic

cristiano ronaldo hair transplant

World renowned footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to open up his own hair transplant clinic in Madrid (2). We welcome this move as he endeavours to help bring safe hair transplants to the forefront of everyone’s attention.

Cristiano Ronaldo explained in a recent interview,

In addition to football, I am passionate about health, technology and research, they are areas which I wanted to invest in. I wanted the first clinic of the international expansion to be situated in Madrid, a city I lived in for many years

He isn’t the first former Manchester United footballer to open a hair transplant clinic. His former teammate, Ryan Giggs has also opened a hair transplant clinic in England together with cricketer Michael Vaughan (3).

What does Ronaldo need to consider when opening a hair transplant clinic?

A hair transplant clinic is a special place. Life changing procedures happen everyday and patients can have renewed hair growth that lasts a lifetime. A hair transplant carried out safely and effectively, can produce natural long lasting results. However, ensuring everyone is treated with this philosophy in mind is important.

Here are some key messages:

  1. Not everyone “needs” a hair transplant
  2. Put patient safety at the core of your clinic
  3. Support your patient throughout their hair loss and hair growth journey

Not everyone “needs” a hair transplant

Any hair transplant clinic can have a number of patients coming in to see them. However, many would not immediately benefit from having a hair transplant. It is important to realise that stopping further hair loss should be the first line of treatment. After you have stabilised hair loss you can then accurately plan where the patient needs hair to be implanted.

Not only will this give the patient the best results but it also helps to reduce the overall price the patient will have to pay.

Put patient safety at the core of your clinic

Hair transplantation, obviously, is surgery. This means it comes with inherent risks and potential complications. Having a clean, sterile environment to conduct hair transplants is incredibly important. Sterilising equipment appropriately is a must and at The Treatment Rooms we discard disposable equipment and autoclave surgical instruments. This guarantees no cross contamination between our patients.

Counselling patients on surgical safety is also important. Many clinics advertise so called “giga-sessions” where 3000-4000 grafts are extracted but really this poses massive risk to patients. They can come away with huge scars and a higher hair transplant failure rate. Hair follicles cannot survive for long once they have been taken out of the scalp (4-6). By taking so many grafts you simply cannot implant them quick enough for them to survive. If someone really does need a large hair transplant then it might be best to plan their surgery accordingly e.g. split the operation over 2 sessions or perform FUT.

Support your patient throughout their hair loss and hair growth journey

Performing a hair transplant is just the start of a patient’s hair treatment. They will often have to wait 12 months to see results and this can be nerve racking! This is even more important when you consider that in the first 1-3 months they will lose the hair that is transplanted. These hairs will of course regrow as their root stays in the scalp.

Hair Transplants at The Treatment Rooms London

If you wanted to find out more about hair transplants feel free to contact us at The Treatment Rooms London. We would love to see you in clinic!

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/football/ronaldo
  2. https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/cristiano-ronaldo-open-hair-transplant-14055047
  3. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8507770/bbc-weatherman-simon-king-hair-transplant-clinic-ryan-giggs/
  4. Parsley W and Perez- Meza. Review of Factors Affecting the Growth and Survival of Follicular Grafts. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2010 3(2):69-75
  5. Gandelman M, Mota A, Abrahamsohn P, Oliveira S. Light and electron microscopic analysis of controlled injury to follicular unit grafts. Dermatol Surg. 2000;26:25–31
  6. Hwang SJ, Lee JJ, Oh BM, Kim DW, Kim JC, Kim MK. The effects of dehydration, preservation temperature and time on the hair grafts. Ann Dermatol. 2002;14:149–52

 

Dr Dilan Fernando- Advisory Board Member at The London Aesthetics Show

london aesthetics show

The Treatment Rooms London lead hair transplant surgeon, Dr Dilan Fernando has been elected advisory board member at The London Aesthetics Show.

The London Aesthetics Show is launching Spring 2020 and seeks to champion patient safety and awareness in the aesthetics industry. With an increasing number of patients opting for aesthetics treatments; safety and regulation within the UK landscape is a priority. The London Aesthetics Show is the first conference to bridge the gap between cosmetic clinics and patients. It gives the chance for patients to meet with Doctors, Surgeons and practitioners alike. In this forum, patients will have the opportunity to ask them questions relating to treatments they are interested in.

What will Dr Fernando’s role be at The London Aesthetics Show?

On the board, Dr Fernando will represent hair transplant surgery and the patient safety issues that surround treatment. He is excited to represent a treatment that is growing in popularity over the last few years.

I am excited to be elected onto The London Aesthetics Show board. Hair transplant surgery is a complex treatment and patient safety is a priority. In lieu of the ISHRS’ recent Black Market Hair Transplant campaign launched in 2019, I look forward to highlighting both the BAHRS and ISHRS’ professional codes of conduct around patient safety to those attending and exhibiting at The London Aesthetics Show

Dr Dilan Fernando, Lead Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Treatment Rooms London and Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

What will Dr Fernando speak about?

Dr Fernando will highlight the issue of unregulated, black market hair transplant clinics that put patient safety at risk. Any patient that seeks hair loss treatment needs to have a proper consultation. This requires a full assessment of hair loss to date and then a plan for the future.

In today’s global market of hair transplant surgery, we are finding patients are quickly ushered into choosing a hair transplant. This is without any regard to their outcome and their expectations for results. Patients require a holistic plan to account for hair loss and the future. This may mean delaying a transplant in a patient’s best interests until their hair loss stabilises.

Dr Dilan Fernando, Lead Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Treatment Rooms London and Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

At The Treatment Rooms London we are also seeing an increasing number of patients having their hair ruined following a transplant. Their complications range from poor hair growth results through to disastrous skin necrosis.

Skin necrosis is a never event in hair transplant surgery. This means that a patient should never suffer from this complication. A surgeon who has carried out the transplant which has resulted in skin necrosis has clearly shown some degree of poor technique. I will be looking to highlight and address this issue at The London Aesthetics Show.

 

Dr Dilan Fernando, Lead Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Treatment Rooms London and Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery