Many individuals feel great alarm in the time after their hair transplant surgery when they see that their transplanted hairs are falling out. Is this natural? Is this a sign that surgery was unsuccessful? Below we address what is normal and what is not, and when you should actually be alarmed.
It is important to note that there is a difference between graft shedding and grafts falling out. It can be hard to tell the difference between the two, but graft shedding is when the newly transplanted hairs fall out naturally within a few days to a few weeks post-surgery. Grafts falling out is when the entire hair follicle has fallen out of its place. The former is a natural, healthy process of hair transplantation, while the latter is right to spark some concern.
In successful surgeries, we do not expect to see the entire graft fall out. A skilled and experienced surgeon is versed in the secure placement of grafts, so ideally, grafts should be snugly in place. Sometimes, if the patient is not careful with their scalp following surgery, and bumps it or is rough with it, this can cause the grafts to fall out. This is why we urge the utmost caution after surgery, especially in traveling, sleeping, washing, and changing.
Because it is so hard for the untrained eye to tell the difference between normal graft shedding and grafts falling out, most times we are not able to determine the success of the surgery until 6 months – 1 year post-op. This is because hair grows in cycles, and it can take some time for the new hairs to adapt and fall into line. After 1 year, you will know for sure whether or not the grafts survived and were successful. While most patients are not happy to hear this timeline, it is the most effective way to determine success of hair transplantation.
If you’re concerned about the success of your surgery, and would like a second or third opinion, give us a call today.