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What are Some Side Effects of Hair Replacement Surgery?

By L. Hepfer
Updated May 17, 2024
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People who find themselves with a receding hairline or thinning hair often look into hair replacement methods to combat the process before it gets too bad. A person generally considers hair replacement surgery if over-the-counter medications or prescription medications haven't worked. They may also consider surgery if they are not comfortable wearing a wig or hairpiece.

While hair replacement surgery is a billion dollar industry worldwide, there are several side effects that should be considered before these surgeries take place. There are four different types of hair replacement surgeries. These surgeries are hair transplant, tissue expansion, flap surgery and scalp reduction.

Hair transplant surgery is a skin grafting process that relocates hair to bald spots. Tissue expansion surgery is a two-part surgery that takes place over time. A device is used to promote growth of new skin cells. Once new skin cells are grown, they can be attached to bald areas of the head.

Flap surgery works great for people with large bald areas. A flap of hair-bearing skin is placed over the bald spot while still being attached to its original blood supply, allowing the hair to continue to grow. Scalp reduction surgery reduces the bald area by having sections removed, and the scalp is then pulled together to cover and fill in the bald area.

The side effects coinciding with any hair replacement surgery are only temporary. These minor inconveniences usually disappear within a short amount of time and only bother the person who has had the replacement surgery. There are still a number of side effects to take into consideration.

Thinning of hair is one side effect. The hair may start thinning in the area the surgery has taken place, however, the hair will eventually come back in thicker. This usually clears up after a few months. Sometimes there is localized bleeding, but the bleeding can be stopped by simply applying pressure.

Pain is usually not a factor in hair replacement surgery, but if a person does experience pain, it can normally be cleared up with an over-the-counter pain reliever. The area around the eyes and on the forehead may experience some swelling. A person may even develop a black eye, but this side effect should only last a few days.

A person may experience numbness in various areas of the head that lasts several weeks. A low percentage of people experience the hiccups. Doctors are not sure why this happens, but they are able to prescribe a medication to take care of this problem. Washing the hair and scalp every day can clear up any itching problem that might occur.

Cysts may appear where the hair was transplanted to in the size of small pimples, but this will eventually clear up on its own. Infections are very rare because it is a general practice for physicians to prescribe some form of antibiotic before and after the surgery to prevent this from happening. Keloid scarring is usually genetic, and it is very infrequent that a patient experiences rigid scarring.

These are several examples of side effects that can take place after hair replacement surgery. A person should always consult with their physician before any surgery to understand in advance what problems they may or may not be dealing with as a result of the elected surgery.

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