Shock loss is a common side effect of hair transplant surgery that involves shedding of existing, apparently healthy hair at the donor as well as recipient area. You must be familiar with the fact that any physical or emotional trauma cases hair follicles to undergo Telogen phase – the hair shedding phase – resulting in a type of hair loss known as Telogen Effluvium.
In case of hair transplant, extraction of hair follicles as well as site preparation at the recipient area causes a lot of physical trauma to the scalp. Consequently, the hair follicles in these areas undergo resting phase for a few months and you experience shedding of even healthy hairs in these areas.
Here are few facts about shock loss that will help you go through this phase smoothly, without panicking.
If you have less hair density at the recipient area, you are at a higher risk of suffering from shock loss post hair transplant surgery. Also it will take a little longer to recover from shock loss.
Fortunately, the hair shedding due to shock loss is temporary and within a few months the hairs begin to grow again, without needing any special treatment.
Transplanted hairs also fall off before they start growing like already existing hair. But this is not shock loss. This is just the protest of transplanted follicles against shifting. It usually starts at the 4th week and complete by the 8th week. However, it will take 2 to 3 months before the hairs will start their regrowth.
As stated earlier, shock loss can occur at recipient as well as donor area and its intensity will depend solely on the hair transplantation technique used. Each method causes trauma of a different degree to the scalp and thus intensity of shock loss is also different for each technique.
FUE involves punching the donor several thousand times, depending on the number of grafts required for transplantation. For example, if you need 1500 grafts for a denser appearance, the surgeon will punch the scalp 1500 times to get the hair follicles for transplantation, and thus causes more trauma to the scalp. The strip method transplant, on the other hand, cuts a linear strip from the donor area just once and dissects it under a stereo microscope to obtain those 1500 grafts. Therefore, it rarely causes any shock loss to the donor area.
Shock loss at recipient area is same for either technique. Regardless of which technique is used for follicle extraction, graft insertion will need an equal number of incisions and thus shock to the trauma will be same.
While shock loss is, to some extent, inevitable side effect of hair transplant surgery, its severity can be controlled by choosing the right surgeon. While a highly skilled experienced surgeon can minimize the intensity of shock loss, an inexperienced surgeon can cause permanent shock loss, thus permanently destroying the hair follicles. Therefore, it is important that you go for a board certified, experienced hair transplant surgeon.
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