As you’ve probably learned by now, the newly implanted grafts a hair transplant patient receives will typically shed between two weeks and two months after the procedure. The follicles on the scalp will be in what is called a ‘resting phase’, appearing dormant and minuscule, so patience is required. Aesthetic splendor is only a few months ahead. Also known as “shock loss”, it is perfectly normal to shed your transplanted hair following an FUE hair transplant. New hairs will quickly grow in their place over the coming months. Why does hair shed after surgery? Hairs have a growth cycle, split into 3 stages – growth, transition and resting phases. The resting phase is the time when the roots shed their hairs. Hairs can move into the resting phase following the trauma of surgery. The main traumatic events the hairs goes through during the course of hair transplant surgery are: the hair follicle being cut away and disconnected from blood supply, the hair follicle being re-implanted back into the scalp, and lastly, the surrounding hairs being affected by incisions and anesthetic.
After a hair transplant, the implanted follicles and the attached hairs will stay in their new place for 1- 2 weeks. The follicles in this period will start to switch into a resting phase and will then begin to shed their hair. This shock loss can start as early as 10 days following transplantation. It can last up to 12 weeks. This process of hair shedding is expected and does not represent the scalp “rejecting” the implanted hairs.
Some patients may notice that hairs that haven’t been transplanted can shed after a hair transplant. The risk of shedding non-transplanted hairs is increased if someone has a large number of thin or miniaturized hairs that sit in-between newly implanted hairs. Like transplanted hairs, these native non-transplanted hairs shed because their follicles also move into a resting phase following the trauma of surgery. Shock loss of non-transplanted hair can occur from 2 weeks following surgery but can also occur months later. This process, although rare, self-resolves. And all hair that has shed should regrow.
Unfortunately, there is no proven way to reduce the risk of shock loss following surgery. However, patients can safeguard against future loss via topical or medical management. The two most popular and proven non-surgical hair restoration modalities are Propecia (Finasteride) and Minoxidil. Propecia significantly reduces DHT, a key cause of hair loss, by inhibiting the formation of DHT in your scalp. This prevents hair loss and thickens hair in many men. Minoxidil is a solution or a foam you can apply to thicken areas of thin hair. It also helps to prevent hair loss and can be used to help quicken the growth of hairs that have shed during shock loss. You can read more about these two modalities in our medical hair loss treatments section.
Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.