The Facts About Shock Loss Following Hair Restoration Surgery
Dr. Bernard Arocha, founder of Arocha Hair Restoration in Houston, discusses the incidence of accelerated loss of existing hair immediately following hair transplant surgery. This is also known as “shock loss.” Although rare, post-surgical hair loss can arise from two etiologies:
- Accelerated hair loss; and
- Post-surgical effluvium.
This type of post-surgery hair loss can result after the procedure and arises from trauma to the miniaturized hair. It usually manifests about three months post procedure. This trauma to the weakened hair in the recipient area occurs when the angling of the sites is off. It is imperative that the angle and direction of hair growth be followed accurately.
Significant post-surgical hair loss in the post-surgical period is a rare event.
In fact, Dr. Arocha says he has not seen it for the last several years. The reasons are related to advances in surgical techniques and pharmacologic therapies for hair treatment.
- First and foremost is the creation of precise angles of the recipient sites, while following the exact direction of hair growth.
- Secondly, the use of very small needles and cut to size blades, that minimize the size of the sites created, hence the extent of tissue and possible follicular injury if there is native hair remaining.
- Lastly, the use of finesteride diminishes the DHT by 70 percent hence protecting the native and transplanted hair from any post-surgical increase in circulating DHT. The use of minoxidil five percent acts synergistically to further protect the native miniaturized hair and possibly stimulate the growth of the transplanted hair.
Additionally, the growth of the transplanted hair with its increased caliber is of greater contribution to the hair mass and volume than the native thinner caliber miniaturized hairs. I do recall one patient about six years ago that had some shock loss post-surgically. He was managed with finesteride, minoxidil five percent, reassurance and time. He of course not only recovered but also had an outstanding hair transplant outcome. The patient got his smile back in about four months post-procedure as his hair transplant commenced to grow in.
Aside from shock loss, it is logical that attendant with surgery there may be an increased incidence of hair loss after surgery. After all, there is an increase in blood flow to the surgical site following a procedure. That is why the recipient area is red or erythematous after surgery. This bathes the area with DHT along with the necessary oxygen and nutrients required for healing and life of the tissue. Although it often is confused with shock loss, this is not post-surgical shock loss. It is simply accelerated hair loss — follicles that would have been lost eventually regardless of the surgery.
The risk of this occurring is dependent on the genetic predisposition of the hair in the recipient area and the extend of miniaturization of these hairs.
In this latest video, Dr. Arocha also offers tips for what patients can do to prevent shock loss and to help their surgeon on transplant day. To learn more about Hair Restoration, contact our Houston Hair Transplant office to schedule an appointment and evaluation to answer your questions. Call 713-526-4247.