Shock Loss After a Hair Transplant, Shock loss refers to the apparently sudden loss of hair a patient suffers from very little notice beforehand. The shock loss process happens to be a mainstay of the hair transplant procedure as well.
The fact that it happens after a surgery which aim is to actually help you regain hair in some area causes patients to freak out. But they should not even be a bit concerned about this. It is only a necessary part of the process for them to obtain new, thicker hair there.
What Is Shock Loss
Experiencing a shock loss is what happens when otherwise unhealthy hair falls from the head due to severe trauma to the body. Several situations that you can experience can cause shock loss and make you lose hair.
An accident where you resulted in severely injured and the subsequent surgery to save your life are the most common examples. See, blood flow to the scalp is essential to hair growth. The blood carries proteins within that the hair follicle, a cellular structure located beneath the skin, needs.
From the hair follicles, the hair itself sprouts out and grows until it becomes visible on the scalp. The growth of hair is cyclical; a single hair remains in the ‘growing phase’ anywhere from two to six years if left alone. After reaching its limit in the growing phase, the hair enters another phase, the resting phase.
During the resting phase, hair ceases its growth and simply waits to fall. This is to reignite the growth of new hair from the same hair follicle and begin the cycle anew. Now, the reason why there’s a wide gap of two to six years is that it enters into the resting phase can be hastened.
Moreover, it does not even have to reach two years at all to begin to fall under certain conditions. See, the scalp can only grow the hair if it is properly supplied with the constant nutrients that the blood carries. The cutting off the blood flow effectively hastens the onset of the resting phase of the hair.
Hair hastened into the resting phase can either become brittle and frail in a couple of weeks or begin falling in only days. It all depends on the severity of blood flow interruption.
Surgery And Shock Loss
As said before, injury and surgery are the most commons reasons for shock loss to happen. Even elective surgery that does not require any injure to happen in order to perform it. Your life is not at risk during it, yet, depending on the surgery, a major interruption of the blood flow can happen.
And, thus, hair loss will follow. This is because, after injury or surgery, your body will need to deviate resources to the affected area to heal it.
This, of course, includes blood flow. How long the deviation of blood flow to the area lasts depends on how extensive the damage was. And, also, how long would the subsequent recovery takes.
The sudden need for blood to flow elsewhere impacts first the non-essential areas which are not critical for the body’s functioning. The very first one of those areas your hair.
See, since hair is not really alive, you can do without it, or, at least, that’s how the body sees it. Regardless of how much you personally love your locks of hair, they are not essential for your body to keep on living. The body knows this, and that’s why it interrupts the blood flow to the scalp first.
An effective, sudden cut off of the blood supply your scalp regularly gets forces the hair there into the resting phase earlier. Thus, its growth ceases all of a sudden, and it will fall soon enough.
The hair follicle beneath will, however, remain very much alive and it will sprout hair once again after recovery. Hair loss as a result of shock loss is almost never permanent. Yet, it will still come as an actual ‘shock’ for hair transplant patients due to it almost surely happening after the procedure.
What Happens During A Hair Transplant
Since a hair transplant operation is, in fact, a surgery, it will undoubtedly have effects on blood flow that traverses the scalp. The fact that it is a minimally invasive surgery that does not change this due to its very nature.
During a hair transplant surgery, the surgeon will use a scalpel of 1mm or less in diameter. The instrument meant for microsurgery goes to extract a single hair follicle from the donor area. This happens by cutting near the chosen hair follicle and, from that cut, continue to cut circularly around it.
Once the surgeon excises the chosen hair follicle from the surrounding tissue, they proceed to extract it using forceps. The hair follicle goes into a tray coated with a special solution to preserve it. Then, the surgeon repeats the process to extracts as many hair follicles as needed from your donor site.
Once extracted all of them, the surgery moves into the grafting phase to implant them. The surgeon makes microscopic incisions in the receiving site either with the 1mm scalpel. Then, they proceed to put one by one each of the extracted hair follicles into the incisions, grafting them.
The grafts must follow the natural hair pattern of the hair of the receiving side in order for it to grow optimally. Once all are in place, the hair transplant surgery concludes, the patient receives bandages and post-care instructions.
When Does Shock Loss After a Hair Transplant Happen?
It is not until the second to four weeks after the surgery, long after removing the bandages, that the patient will see that their grafted hairs suddenly fall. This is the actual shock loss and, different from major surgery, happen exclusively to the grafted hairs as opposed to all the hair.
This is because, while the blood flow of the natural hair of the head has not been interrupted, the blood flow of the grafts has. Since extracting the hair follicles from the donor site requires effectively cutting them from its own blood flow, the hair is already dead when transplanted.
What little hair sticks out of the hair follicle at the time of grafting falls due to it needing to re-adapt to the blood flow of its new site. Effectively, it limits the shock loss from a hair transplant surgery to the grafts alone.
New hair will begin to grow soon enough after the shock loss if the graft successfully took. And that’s something that a skilled surgeon can help you much with. Patients to which this wasn’t explained to often panic at the sight of the falling hair. Please do not. It’s only a part of the process, and soon hair will grow normally on that formerly-bald spot.
The Best Solution For Shock Loss: Having a Proper Support
Shock loss is an inevitable part of the hair transplant surgery but is no big deal, it will grow back again. At our facilities, our skilled surgeons will restore your hair to its former glory with the best techniques for hair transplant. After surgery, you can contact the surgeon and staff at any time during your recovery for aftercare instructions. They will gladly answer any questions you have in the most helpful manner. That includes telling you all about the why and hows of shock loss, of course. Get in touch with us if a top-notch hair transplant procedure and care is what you look for.
Is shock loss a painful process?
No, it isn’t. Mostly, you won’t even feel anything.
How can I avoid shock loss?
You cannot. It is an inevitable step for a successful hair transplant.
Will there be bleeding during shock loss?
No, there won’t. However, in case you have some unexpected bleeding on your scalp, immediately get in touch with your doctor.