Hair Transplant Side Effects and How To Prevent Them
Hair loss doesn’t trouble some people. To others, it’s a big deal, impacting how they feel about themselves. Many in that category have discovered the benefits of a hair transplant, a surgical procedure that, when successful, results in permanent hair growth.
As they do with any other surgical procedure, people wonder what side effects there might be. Please continue reading to learn about the most common hair transplant side effects and how to prevent or lessen them.
What are possible hair transplant side effects?
After the procedure, there will be hair transplant side effects. Fortunately, most only occur during recovery and aren’t long-term.
To help you know what to expect after a hair transplant, let’s list and describe the most common possible side effects. Keep in mind that you may not experience all of them.
But first, let’s dispel a common concern: hair transplants causing cancer. They don’t. It’s just a rumour.
Organ transplants bring a higher risk of cancer, but hair is not an organ. Medical experts will confirm that hair transplants don't cause cancer.
Now, on to those side effects…
- Bleeding, infected, or itchy scalp: Usually minor and easily treated, bleeding is common, though constant bleeding may necessitate additional stitching. Only about 1 in 1,000 experience a scalp infection, but watch for them and seek treatment immediately if one occurs. About a third of all patients experience itchiness from scabs. Be careful not to scratch the itch and risk reopening wounds or getting an infection. Shampooing according to doctor recommendations and special moisturising oils can help.
- Crustiness or pus at incision sites: This is likely and could be benign or could indicate an infection, especially if pus is present.
- Cysts: This is a pimple-sized protrusion. They’re usually benign, but seek medical attention if you find one. Treatment’s easy.
- Hair loss: Recession, or hair loss, is common after a hair transplant. In fact, the originally grafted hair will fall out before new growth sets in. So most of the time, this side effect is just temporary.
- Hiccups: Yes, hiccuping, and no one truly knows why yet! However, in 5% of cases, patients experience hiccuping, and it can last several days!
- Inflamed hair follicles: Folliculitis is hair follicles becoming inflamed or infected; itchy or painful raised bumps result. Usually, this goes away on its own, but topical medications can treat it. This side effect is rare.
- Numbness: You will always experience numbness following a hair transplant. Typically, it can be present for up to 18 weeks following the procedure. See a doctor if it goes on longer than that.
- Pain: It’s common to feel radiating pain following a hair transplant surgery. As with numbness, you should expect it. The pain isn’t too bad most of the time, but in more severe cases, you can see a doctor about prescribing medicine for pain management. Fortunately, pain is just a temporary side effect. Once the surgical site heals, it should go away.
- Scarring: The bad news is that there will be scarring at any incision site. The good news, though, is that your new hair growth will cover it up, so it’s nothing to worry about.
- Swelling: It’s rare, but swelling around the eyes and forehead sometimes occurs. If it does, it goes away after a couple of days most of the time.
What are the long-term effects of hair transplant surgery?
What side effects of a hair transplant, other than scarring, can occur long-term? There are just 3 you typically have to consider and watch for:
- Hair loss or no growth: Remember, your grafts are supposed to fall out. However, if new growth does not occur as expected, which means the transplant may not have been successful, you should consult a doctor about options.
- Loose scalp: The scalp will likely feel looser than it did before following a hair transplant. Usually, this is permanent, but it doesn’t mean the transplant failed.
- Curled follicles: Transplanted hair follicles sometimes curl, leading to ingrown hairs. The only serious health risk here is infection, so monitor this. Cosmetically, the new hair may look more unnatural the more hair curl there is. If this happens, see a doctor to find out if you can do something about this.
Hair transplant side effects
Without any doubt, some hair transplant side effects will occur. Knowing what they are and how to avoid or deal with them is your best preparation. Only a few of them are serious enough to pose a risk or require medical care; most are temporary and cause nothing more than some inconvenience and short-term discomfort.
When travelling abroad for a hair transplant, there is support if you need it. For excellent care post-surgery, and for advice on preventing, reducing, and managing side effects, Welfare Abroad can help. Let’s talk about how we can do that!