Is it possible lose hair after surgery? Is it temporary or permanent? While you and I normally lose few strands, some people who undergo some surgeries including restoration procedures can still experience this problem. Get all insights on post-surgery hair loss, after weight loss, transplant or restoration.
After transplantation or replacement
How does it occur after transplantation? To understand that, let us look into the types, techniques, and possibility of experiencing hair loss after surgery in terms of how growth is affected or the complications which come after transplantation or replacement.
There are a few techniques used in transplantation or replacement of scalp hair. These include:
- Grafting – where small pieces of scalp tissue bearing hair are obtained and planted in areas where there is thinning or patches or baldness
- Tissue expansion – This involves the use of a special device to help bald scalp grow hair adjacent to the existing one. A different operation is thereafter required to complete tissue expansion
- Flap surgery often which is applicable to large areas with baldness
- Scalp reduction
Notably, there are possible complications that could result after such replacement techniques. Some of these complications include the following:
1. Hair growth with bald patches
Sometimes growth which takes the course after transplantation will be left with patchy sites on the scalp. At times the grafts may fail.
2. Scalp bleeding or scarring
Bleeding will more likely occur even after replacement procedures due to the fact that your scalp has been affected and this could result in trauma. In case there is repeated surgery in order to try and rectify the patchy hair re-growth, scars may form on the scalp.
These scars can suppress or interfere with growth cycle hence reduced its growth.
Like any other surgical operations, transplantation that requires incisions can possibly result to infection on your scalp.
NOTE: Certain hair replacement or restoration procedures cannot be of help to those without scalp any due to hereditary loss.
Besides the above other side effects include:
- Swelling and numbness of scalp
- Scalp itching
- Formation of scalp scabs, crusts or crusting on areas where incisions were made
- Bruising with redness around the eyes
When does hair loss after surgery – replacement or restoration begin? It will start to fall out or shed at different times depending on technique applied. Nevertheless, time periods would at times vary with a number of sessions a patient undergoes or is yet to undergo in case one needs to achieve results worth their satisfactory quest.
After bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery
A more exact cause or reasons for hair loss after weight loss surgery are unknown, however, there is reportedly a likeliness in losing it. According to Sage Bariatric Institute, if it occurs after surgery that aims at losing one’s weight can be associated with telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium has a couple of causes including psychological stress, high fevers, childbirth, severe infections, and surgery. Although this form or type of hair loss is prominent on the scalp, other body areas with hair can be affected. Nonetheless, loss of the one on the scalp is linked to bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery is uncommon in gastric band patients.
With weight loss surgery, it falling off, (if it occurs) normally starts abruptly at least 3 – 4 months (after surgery). However, hair thinning or fall rarely goes beyond 6 months.
The good thing is that the loss after bariatric surgery is in many cases temporary since telogen effluvium has to do with the growth cycle. This implies that hair regrowth will start after (at most 6 months) these episodes of it thinning and be falling out.
Ultimately, when the hair grows back some people often find it a bit different and feel it’s not theirs. With rapid weight loss, some of it falling out in clumps may at some point occur. Top dermatologists and hair restoration experts link this drastic loss in weight to what can translate or destabilize the thyroid leading to hormonal changes. Take note that these changes are due to hormones produced by the thyroid.
Once the hormones are back to normal, it will start to grow. The one that grows back may not be typically resembling in terms of quality or caliber. Therefore, it could be curly or appear rugged in some manner.
In addition, hair loss after bariatric surgery is more likely to occur or create negative influence or impact for the following reasons.
- Rapid weight loss especially with a poor diet such as low protein intake
- Excessive pressure on the follicles
- Acute illness or chronic disease such as liver disease
- Hypothyroidism or thyroid disease
- Chronic Iron deficiency
- Lack of sufficient amounts of Zinc, Biotin, Potassium, vitamin B6, Phosphorus, or essential fatty acids
- Toxicity in body such as those caused by dangerous metals
- Medications such as beta-blockers and anticoagulants
- Certain medications required during surgical hair restoration can affect its growth
- Excess vitamin A or vitamin overdose
Hair loss after weight loss surgery is sometimes very distressing if – in any case – it possibly does occur. Prior to transplantation, ask your surgeon as many questions as possible to help either party develop realistic expectations.
Can it be caused by anesthesia?
Many surgical operations normally require this form of skin numbing to prevent painful experiences as surgery is going on. So, does anesthesia result in this problem?
A standing on whether this can really cause it is debatable but its truthfulness solely relies on research which so far is suggestive of it. For instance, there is a strong scientific revelation on possibility of anesthesia slowing down cell division. Consequently, hair follicle cells are forced to enter a resting phase.
However, plastic surgeons understand that it is less likely surgery which involves a local anesthesia will have any effects hair growth after restoration.
Living and coping
Patients who undergo a successful weight loss surgery are a bit lucky to continue with their normal life without much disturbance.
For those who have a hair transplantation or replacement surgery can be discouraged if things don’t go their way especially when there are many expectations.
What happens if there is no hair regrowth?
If your weight is back to its normal and stable yet you continue to lose hair (i.e. it shows no signs of starting to grow again), see your doctor.
Even though, experts in bariatric surgery recommend following some medical and routine including dietary checks. The following are some of the expert tips for individuals who have had a weight loss surgery and are experiencing hair fall as a result.
- Consuming a at least 60g of protein every day
- To increase your chances of correct protein intake include a protein in each meal
- Alternatives to protein foods such as powdered protein supplements should be used with the help of a nutritionist or specialist to avoid overdose
- Prioritize in quality protein which comprises basic building blocks of amino acids if you have a problem with digestive system
- Bariatric-specific vitamin and mineral supplements should be taken as recommended by your doctor
Is it preventable?
Unfortunately, preventing hair fall or shedding after weight loss surgery is almost impossible. Luckily, one may forego the possible side-effects by talking to the surgeon or physician if need be. The bottom line is to ensure that you make follow-ups and continually communicate with your healthcare provider whenever you are asked to.