What can happen after a hair transplant?
Some discomfort during or after a hair transplant is virtually unavoidable. It is a surgical procedure and you can expect your body to react in some way. But if you take care of the aftercare according to our instructions, the risks are very few.
Here we list the problems and risks we know about – from the most common to those we’ve only seen in our customers a few times.
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This can happen after your hair transplant
Discomfort associated with the local anaesthetic
The procedure itself is painless as you will be given a local anaesthetic beforehand. However, the injections of anaesthetic may sting and hurt a little, but this is perfectly normal and will pass as soon as the anaesthetic takes effect.
Discomfort in the donor area after the procedure
However, when the anaesthetic in the neck wears off, it may hurt and be sore for a while. This is simply because we have drilled out hair follicles and irritated the skin.
If it’s really bad, you can take some painkillers like Alvedon.
Redness of the skin
Some reddening of the skin around both the donation area and the recipient area is normal because we irritated the skin during the procedure.
Make sure you keep the area clean and take the medicine we prescribe and there’s nothing to worry about.
Swelling of the head (helmet feeling)
Just like with a little pain and soreness, your head will get swollen. Both at the donation area in the neck and at the area we transplanted hair to.
This is also due to the fact that we irritated the skin during the procedure, but it is completely harmless.
Crusts that sit for a long time and don't come off
If you find that the crusts in the transplanted area don’t fall off properly, it’s almost always because you haven’t followed the washing instructions we’ve given.
It’s incredibly important that you wash it as long as we specify. Rinsing with lukewarm water helps to soften the scabs so they fall off more easily.
Loss of sensation
It is quite common to experience some loss of sensation in both the donor area (back of the head) and the recipient area after a hair transplant.
It is estimated that this happens to about 70-80% of our patients. This is simply because some nerve fibres are cut when we drill out hair follicles and create channels for them to be planted in.
The nerve fibres grow back together after 1-3 months on average and then the feeling returns completely. In some cases it has taken longer – up to 8 months.
Pimples when hair grows out
When the transplanted hairs grow out, they may appear as small pimples or blemishes.
This is simply because either dirt has got into the pores around the hair follicles or the skin hasn’t got used to a hair growing there and hasn’t opened up completely.
The easiest way to alleviate this is to clean it according to the instructions you received from us.
Itching in the neck after about a week
If you experience itching in your donor area after a week, this is because your skin is healing after the procedure.
This is perfectly normal, but try not to scratch at all costs, as it can impede healing and cause dirt to enter the wound, which in turn can lead to infection.
Heart palpitations from adrenaline during anaesthesia
Because the anaesthetic we use during the procedure contains adrenaline, some patients may experience palpitations for a few minutes.
This is perfectly normal and not dangerous if you are otherwise healthy. Just try to relax and take a few deep breaths and it usually passes pretty quickly.
Pigmentation and scars in the donor area
Because we use a type of drill to remove the hair follicles from the neck, there will be some scar tissue and in some cases some pigment changes may also happen.
But if you follow the aftercare instructions we’ve given you carefully, you shouldn’t have to worry about any very visible changes.
Avatar syndrome - bruising and swelling of the face
In about 5% of all hairline and fold transplants, a swelling develops in the forehead which then migrates downwards due to gravity and spreads over the eyelids and nose.
The exact cause is not known, but it is likely to be the injected anaesthetic fluid ‘falling’ downwards, poorer functioning of the lymphatic system/transport or the skin being slightly looser in some patients so that the fluid drains downwards more easily.
Any residual bleeding from the incisions where we insert the hair follicles may also accompany the fluid under the skin, forming bruises (yellow, blue or purple areas).
The swelling does not hurt and is completely harmless but can be perceived as conspicuous. It usually passes within a few days.
Telogen hair loss (hair follicles in resting mode)
In some cases, the hair follicles may respond to the transplant by going dormant and becoming inactive. This occurs both in the donation area and in the area we transplanted hair to.
It may be perceived that the hair follicles have died and that the transplant has caused worse hair loss. But it is only the hair follicles that are in a resting state.
They come back to life after a few months and start producing new, strong hair. The PRP treatments included in the price of a hair transplant help to reawaken the hair follicles.
Grafts from other parts of the body have poorer survival
In cases where we take hair follicles/grafts from parts of the body other than the neck, such as the chest, there is a risk that the amount of grafts that survive will be less. They are simply not as well adapted.
Infection of the skin
Since we have made an intervention in the skin, there is always a risk of infection. We therefore give antibiotics as a preventive measure.
It is also very important to follow the instructions we have given for aftercare carefully to minimise the risk of infection.
Poor survival in intervention 2 or 3
In cases where a patient undergoes a second or third hair transplant, there is a risk that few hair follicles will survive the transplant.
This is because some scarring has formed around them and in the skin, making it difficult for blood vessels to reach them and nourish them.
Gnarled skin in the recipient area (eyebrows)
In the case of eyebrow transplants, some patients find that the skin around their eyebrows feels a little creaky.
This usually subsides once the eyebrows have healed properly.
Dizziness after the procedure
Because you lie still for a few hours during a transplant, your blood sugar may drop, which is why many people feel dizzy when they get up after the procedure is over.
We serve our customers some juice to keep their blood sugar up. If you know you have low blood sugar or often get dizzy, you can bring some chocolate or a bar to the transplant.
Adrenaline, which is part of the anaesthetic fluid, is another reason for the drop in blood sugar.
Allergy to anesthetics or antibiotics
In a few cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic or antibiotic.
We always ask if you are allergic to medicines. If you don’t know about your allergy, you can have serious reactions.
Some people have reported persistent hiccups after the procedure. We are not sure what the cause is, but it will pass after two days at most.
On average, this happens to only one of our customers per year.
Frequently asked questions and answers about hair transplants
How long is the healing process after a hair transplant?
The most critical time is the first 2-3 days when the area is at its most sensitive. The first week you should be extra careful.
After 2 weeks, it’s okay to start practicing, but you should still be a little careful with the sun and be vigilant not to scratch the transplanted hair.
After 3 weeks, you can generally do most everyday things, but avoid things like kicking a football, wearing a helmet or shaving with a razor. We are always available to answer your questions about aftercare.
When can I start doing what after my hair transplant?
The aftercare of your transplanted area is as important for your final result as the actual performance of the hair transplant. Therefore, it is important that you follow the instructions given to you at your consultationafter your hair transplant.
To make this easier, we have gathered all the information you need to know about the aftercare of your transplant site. You can find it here.
When can I see the final result of the hair transplant?
We usually say that a full end result is reached after 12 months. Hair grows at different rates in different people, so some people can see good resultsafter just 6 months.
It is important to be patient when doing a hair transplant because hair does not grow out overnight.
Is hair transplantation permanent?
Yes, a hair transplant is the only permanent solution for hair loss. The hair follicles we move are genetically coded to stay put for life.
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