There are numerous causes of hair loss, including emotional, health, and genetic factors. Shock hair loss occurs when non-transplanted hair sheds after a hair transplant. Shock hair loss typically occurs between the second and eighth weeks following a hair transplant, when your new hair enters a resting phase and sheds. This is a completely normal and natural process, and there is nothing to be concerned about. Your new, healthy hairs will begin to grow in their place very soon.
Shock loss occurs when natural hair is lost from the donor area or after a hair restoration procedure. We have seen shock hair loss in the donor area of FUE surgeries, so it is not specific to any one procedure. However, it is more common in the recipient area. Almost all cases of shock hair loss are temporary and will eventually begin to grow back. The majority of patients report initial regrowth between 3 and 6 months. It may take 12-18 months for the hair to mature back to normal thickness and texture.
Some patients may notice that non-transplanted hairs are shed after a hair transplant. If a person has a large number of thin or miniaturized hairs that sit in-between newly implanted hairs, the risk of shedding non-transplanted hairs increases. These native non-transplanted hairs shed similarly to transplanted hairs because their follicles also enter a resting phase following surgery.
Shock loss of non-transplanted hair can occur as soon as two to three months after hair transplant surgery, but it can also occur months later. Although uncommon, this process resolves on its own, and all hair that has been shed should regrow.
Known medically as "telogen effluvium," shock loss is a typical and transitory side effect of getting a hair transplant. Some of the native hairs in the transplanted area may fall out as a result of the surgical trauma. While it may be difficult to avoid shock loss altogether, there are steps that can be taken to lessen its effects.
The danger of shock loss can be greatly mitigated by selecting a competent and experienced hair transplant surgeon. Surgeons that are up-to-date on the latest methods can do the treatment with minimally invasive effects. Surgeons can reduce damage to the existing hair by using proper surgical techniques, such as "pre-trimming" the donor hair or carefully placing grafts.
Before and after a transplant, certain surgeons may recommend drugs like minoxidil or finasteride to reduce hair loss and stimulate growth. Shock loss can be reduced with careful postoperative care, including gentle washing and handling of the recipient area as directed by the surgeon.
Physical stress should be avoided for a few weeks following a hair transplant to prevent the transplanted hairs and the existing hair from becoming dislodged. Good nutrition and general wellness are helpful for maintaining good hair. Shock loss can be mitigated by maintaining a healthy protein intake, staying well hydrated, and managing stress. Although these measures help lessen the likelihood and severity of shock loss, it may still occur to some degree in many people and is typically only transient.
In most cases, shock loss sets in within the first few weeks after a hair transplant. Shock loss can have varying effects on people, depending on how long it lasts and how severe it is. Here is a rough outline of events:
Immediate Post-Op: Some preexisting hairs may fall out soon following the treatment as a result of the trauma.
2-8 Weeks: Shock loss, or the loss of existing hair, often occurs between two and eight weeks after a hair transplant. The shedding phase is just temporary, and new hair will replace the old.
3-6 Months: After three to six months, new hair should emerge from the transplanted hair grafts, and some of the hairs that fell out during the shock loss period may have begun to regrow.
12+ Months: The full effects of a hair transplant may not be seen for a year or more, as the transplanted hairs continue to grow and mature.
Be patient as you recover from a transplant, and know that shock loss is to be expected. Over treatment, as the freshly transplanted hairs grow in and the shock lost hairs regenerate, most patients will see a considerable increase in hair density and look. It is important to keep your follow-up appointments with your surgeon in case you experience shock loss or have questions about how your hair transplant is coming along.
Doctors prescribe minoxidil (Rogaine) or the hair growth medication finasteride (Propecia) to improve hair regrowth, and postoperative care and following doctor's instructions play a major role in preventing or minimizing hair loss. These drugs also help to slow or stop hair loss.
After your procedure, you'll be sent home to rest and recover, and you'll be given a few simple instructions for scalp care. These include contact restrictions (no touching) and measures to reduce infection risks (no swimming, hot tubs, or baths).
Because the incisions are so small, a hair transplant recipient heals quickly after follicular unit extraction under ideal conditions. Because there is less scalp trauma and micro-incisions, today's FUE hair transplant patients recover in 3 to 5 days. The extraction sites will heal in a few days, and the recipient sites will be red/pink and slightly swollen. After the inflammation has subsided, most patients can return to work and normal life after a week. However, the wait for their new hair will be a long and unavoidable part of the process. Due to natural hair growth cycles, several months must pass after the FUE hair transplant for follicles to cycle through natural growth phases and produce results to be excited about.
Learn more about hair transplant prices and book a free hair transplant consultation with our professionals before discovering the most suitable hair restoration techniques for yourself. FUE hair transplant is preferred because of its affordability – you can learn more about hair transplant on our website, and discover the best restoration opportunities for yourself.