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What Are The Risks of a Hair Transplant For a Patient With a Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunt?

What risks, if any should be told to a patient with a VP shunt before doing a hair transplant procedure, and should the risk of disconnection be mentioned, and/or should patient not be allowed to do a hair transplant? – John

Dear John,

Thanks for taking the time to write!  Let me try to answer your question as best I can.  Ventriculoperitoneal shunts are rare.  Basically they channel excess fluid from around your brain to elsewhere in the body.  These shunts do not typically involve blood or the circulatory system.

For most patients, the presence of a shunt like this should not pose a problem for surgery, but I would check with the neurosurgeon who placed it or neurologist that the patient sees for specific recommendations because the location of the shunt can vary from patient to patient.  It may or may not even be in the area that the surgical plan involves. Common risks would include infection, pain, swelling, shock loss, hiccups, redness, and scarring among others, and these are routinely discussed with your hair transplant surgeon prior to any procedure.  For the most part, however, complications with any sort of hair transplant procedure are rare.

The way you phrased your question makes me think of the legal ramifications of surgical complications.  Of course, risks, expectations, and potential complications should be discussed with your hair transplant surgeon, and since this is such a unique situation, other experts might be consulted.  As I mentioned, every shunt is different, just as hair transplant surgery involves different areas.  There is no standard of care in hair transplant as to how to handle a patient who has one.  Whether the patient should be allowed to do it or not is therefore really a question for the physicians involved.

I wish I had a more definitive answer for you, but hair transplants in patients with VP shunts are simply not that common.  Good luck!


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