Physician Answered Q & As

My Hair Transplant Has Caused My Hair To Fall Out More, Is This Irreversible?

I had a hair transplant over 14 months ago and I have never been more worried or stressed. I read your article on shock loss and I fear my hair loss may be permanent. I had a full head of hair going into the surgery, just a little thin at the front, and after the surgery hair would come out in handfuls in the shower. Now I’m grasping for hair to put into a ponytail. It’s a significant amount of loss, and yes it’s been over a year and I have seen no growth. please tell me? does this sound like it’s irreversible? -Denise

Dear Denise,

It is difficult to predict how severe shock loss will be prior to surgery.  If the hairs that were lost were permanent hairs, they would typically have regrown at the same time the grafts did—within 3-6 months.  One thing that shock loss can do is accelerate a pattern that would have occurred anyway (without treatment), by putting the hair into its rest phase (telogen) in response to an inciting event (stress, surgery, etc).   Hairs affected by shock loss that were permanent, should have grown back in by now.  If you are not using it, you may benefit from the application of topical minoxidil.  The new 5% foam may be easier to use than the liquid form.  Where it touches, you can regrow hair, where it doesn’t touch, it won’t work. That said, a small percentage of women who use topical minoxidil may notice some increased facial hair when using it, even without touching your face….But if the minoxidil works to regain the scalp hair, it may be a better choice to get any unwanted facial hair removed.  If your donor hair is unaffected, your only solution to improving the density on top may be to have additional surgery….but beware, if more of the native hair persists, grafting can again accelerate your hair loss!  I often encourage women patients to wait, use medical therapy, and if this is not successful and the hair loss progresses to a point where I know even with severe shock loss the grafted hairs will offer superior coverage…that is the time to proceed.  I hope this information has been helpful.


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