In the search for restoring a fuller head of hair, people frequently turn to hair transplant surgeries as a reliable alternative. While hair transplants have proven to be an effective treatment for hair loss, it is important to note that, like any medical intervention, they have potential negative effects.
Understanding these side effects is critical for anyone considering or receiving the treatment, as it allows them to make informed decisions regarding their path to regaining confidence and a revitalized appearance. In this post, we will look at the most prevalent side effects of hair transplants, shining light on the realities that come with this transforming surgery.
Does Hair Transplant Work?
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves removing hair follicles from the donor area, most often at the back of the head, to implant them in a balding recipient area. This technique makes it possible to permanently camouflage hydrogenetic alopecia. Over the years, hair technique transplants have been perfected, making this intervention a safe and controlled procedure. However, as with any surgical procedure, side effects may occur. They can be transient or permanent, appearing immediately after the intervention, several weeks, or several months later. It is important to be aware of the risks involved before getting started.
This article we enlighten you on the different possible side effects after a year of transplant, their severity, their frequency of appearance, but also on the ways to prevent and treat them.
Early and common mild side effects
Among the most common side effects following a hair transplant, some are mild and occur in the days or weeks after the procedures. We find in particular:
Mild pain in the harvesting and implantation areas
They are caused by the micro incisions created to extract and implant the graft. These pains are similar to burning or tingling sensations. This pain is well controlled by conventional and analgesics, with moderate swelling (edema) of the face and eyes. They are linked to post-operating inflammation which can cause retention of physiological fluids.
They appear within 24 to 48 hours after hair transplantation and are treated with anti-inflammatories and local treatments. After a few days, the edema will be solved naturally. They can be a source of discomfort for the patient but remain benign. The appearance of small scabs on the grafting sites during healing, they come off on their own in less than 2 weeks.
Itching on the grafted area during healing
They generally occur a week after the operation and follow the formation of scabs. Soothing shampoos help relieve this itching which is part of the healing process.
Temporary hair loss (shock loss) may occur in the implanted area or an adjacent area:
This phenomenon is linked to the trauma of the intervention which causes the follicles to rest. The hair grows back normally afterward. Although unpleasant, these early side effects after a hair transplant are mild and resolved without any after-effects
Late and frequent mild side effects
Unsightly scars are among the possible late side effects after an intervention:
With the so-called grafting technique of removing a strip of scalps, a scar is inevitable at the back of the skull. It generally remains hidden by the hair, but despite the surgeon’s precautions, a thin white line may remain more visible. This happens in about 5% of cases with doctor advice against this outdated technique.
After a transplant, an occasional micro scar can be seen if the head is shaved:
However, they are very discreet. A slight loss of sensitivity in the drafted area which disappears after a certain time. Although persistent, the late side effects of a hair transplant remain mild and localized. They are easily bearable given the benefits of the intervention in terms of lasting reconstruction of the scalp.
Serious, early, and real side effects
Although hair transplants are routine procedures, some more serious complications can occur in rare cases. Among the side effects occurring shortly after the operation, we distinguish:
Heavy bleeding, which may require emergency intervention:
They are estimated at less than 1% of transplants and are caused by coagulation disorders or the taking of certain medications. It is therefore necessary to inform your surgeon of any bleeding disorders before the procedure. This will determine your eligibility for hair transplantation.
The appearance of small inflammatory pustules (folliculitis) at the graft level is possible during healing. These lesions can be a sign of an infection, you must notify your surgeon if they appear.
Localized infections at the sampling or reimplantation areas:
They manifest themselves with redness, Purulent discharge, swelling, and fever. the responsible germs can come from the patient himself or a lack of respect for hygiene rules. Antibiotic treatment can help overcome this infection. It is crucial to follow post-operative instructions to minimize the risk of infection.
Although very rare in the early postoperative period, these serious complications require rigorous compliance with post-operative instructions in the weeks following the operation.
The vast majority of hair transplants proceed without any serious side effects, but it helps to know the risk.
Serious, late, and very rare side effects
Among the most feared long-term complications of a hair transplant are:
Extensive tissue necrosis in the grafted areas:
This is a destruction of tissues due to a lack of blood supply. It’s possible causes such as smoking, diabetes, a severe infection, or, more rarely, an aggressive surgical procedure. The necrotic wound is fairly painful and leaves permanent scars.
Complete an irreversible loss of implanted hair:
It can occur in the event of massive rejection of the graphs with lasting damage to the hair follicles. The patient’s immune mechanisms then attack the grafted tissues. This very exceptional phenomenon is dramatic because it destroys all the hoped-for aesthetic benefits of the intervention.
This serious late complication after a hair transplant remains extremely rare thanks to technical progress and rigorous post-operative follow-up.
The risk is estimated at less than 0.1% for all techniques combined. However, they can represent a significant psychological cost for the patients, hence the importance of carefully selecting the surgeon performing the procedure.
In conclusion, a hair transplant is a proven technique for sustainably restoring hair in balding areas. Although side effects are possible, their risk remains low in the hands of competent surgeons. The most common complications such as pain, swelling, or itching are generally benign and transient. A few precautions can be taken to limit them.
More rarely, more serious problems can occur, ranging from bleeding to infections or tissue necrosis in the most extreme cases. Careful selection of the practitioner carrying out the procedure and strict compliance with post-operative recommendations make it possible to best prevent this complication.