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Hair Transplants – The Side Effects

  • 16th November 2022
  • 8 min read

Hair transplants can offer a permanent solution to hair loss, restoring confidence and happiness in your appearance. While the benefits are clear, you must consider the after-effects before deciding to go ahead with the procedure. 

Here at FUE, we are a renowned hair transplant clinic, and our specialists have carried out over 10,000 hair transplant procedures across the UK. That’s why we have used our expertise to put together a list to help you understand the most common side effects that patients may experience.

Although hair transplants are common procedures with few long-term side effects, you may experience the following. 

 

Hair shedding 

Within the first few weeks, you may experience hair loss after your hair transplant. Don’t worry — this is nothing to be concerned about; it is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. This may continue for 2 to 3 weeks, however, new hair follicles will eventually begin to grow within a few months. 

Bleeding 

Whether you opt for a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) or a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), tiny cuts are made in the scalp to allow the transplantation of new hair follicles, meaning minor bleeding after your hair transplant is inevitable. However, our experienced surgeons at FUE Clinics will ensure minimal blood loss. It’s important to remember to inform your surgeon if you are taking blood thinning medication to minimise the risk of excessive bleeding. 

To reduce bleeding after the surgery: 

  • Avoid exercise until at least 2 weeks after your hair transplant — an increase in heart rate during exercise will raise your blood pressure. This may cause bleeding on the recipient areas of your scalp. 
  • Don’t pick the scabs — although tempting when your head is itchy, picking scabs can cause bleeding. Following your surgeon's aftercare advice will allow them to fall off naturally as you begin to start washing your hair again.
  • Follow the aftercare guide — following the aftercare guide from your surgeon is one of the most important things you can do after surgery to ensure a speedy recovery. 

Itching 

You may experience an itchy scalp after a hair transplant as scabs form. But rest assured, it will go away! The itchiness should only last between 7-14 days and is a sign that the tissue on your scalp has begun to heal.

To reduce itchiness:

  • Wash your head — 1 week after surgery, when you can get your head wet again, washing with a medicated or mild shampoo can soothe your scalp.
  • Do not scratch the itch — we know it can be tempting, but giving in to itching your scalp can cause infections and, as a result, make your scalp itchier for longer. In the worst case, you may even pull out your transplanted hair, affecting the results. 

Swelling

Swelling is another common side effect of people who undergo hair transplants. However, the swelling will vary from person to person: some people may experience it on the forehead, while others may notice it around their eyes. 

Swelling generally wears off after a few days, but the following tips will help to reduce it. 

  • Keep the head elevated — using pillows to elevate the head will help to reduce the swelling and minimise the risk of damaging the transplanted hair. 
  • Avoid physical exercise — refraining from doing exercise for the first couple of weeks will avoid excessive swelling, which could result in infection.
  • Stop taking blood thinning medications — as advised by your surgeon, avoid taking blood thinners before the procedure to reduce swelling.

If the swelling does not wear off after a few days, it is important to contact your surgeon for further guidance. 

Pain

You may be wondering: is a hair transplant painful? Thankfully, the answer is not really. However, as a hair transplant is a surgical procedure, there is bound to be some discomfort or minor pain. For most people, any pain you experience in the immediate days after your procedure can be easily managed using paracetamol and ibuprofen. 

If pain is persistent or more extreme, discussing further options with your surgeon is always recommended. 

Infections 

Although rare, especially if you choose a renowned clinic like FUE Clinics, some people may experience an infection after a hair transplant. 

Symptoms can include: 

  • Burning
  • Itchiness
  • Pus-filled abscess 
  • Oozing pus 
  • Warmth 
  • Bleeding 
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

What could cause infection?

  • Unsanitary conditions — choosing a trusted clinic like FUE Clinics is one of the most important things to consider when deciding to undergo a hair transplant. If a surgeon performs the procedure using unsanitary tools, or in a clinic with poor hygiene standards, an infection is more likely. 
  • Underlying medical conditions — conditions that weaken your immune system, such as diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure, can increase the likeliness of infection. 
  • Excessive crust formation — although scabs during the healing process as expected, severe crusting can lead to itchiness, tempting you to scratch your head. However, doing so can transfer bacteria to your open wounds, increasing the risk of infection. 

Mild infections can easily be treated with antibiotics prescribed by your surgeon. To minimise risk to your hair grafts your surgeon should be contacted as soon as you notice any signs of infection. 

Always make sure you do your research when considering a hair transplant and choose an experienced and reputable clinic. By doing so, you’ll minimise the risk of infection and ensure a smooth recovery process.

Hiccups 

Yes, you read it right — hiccups are a side effect of hair restoration patients. However, it is very rare and will only last for a few days. 

Scarring 

If you have undergone an FUE hair transplant procedure, you will have very small pin-like scars on the scalp. They are unlikely to be noticeable, however, as they are very small and will be hidden under your hair when it grows in. Additionally, a FUT hair transplant will result in a linear scar on the back of your head. Again, this scarring won’t be visible unless you have very short hair, so there’s no need to worry. 

Cysts 

Cysts usually appear like a cluster of pimples and can arise almost immediately after the surgery. This can be due to areas of the scalp where the new hair has been grafted being prone to infection. Cysts can also happen when buried grafts aren’t removed properly.

The condition can be treated easily with medication and usually disappears over a few weeks. However, in rare cases, the doctor can resort to surgery to remove the cysts. As every case is different, it is recommended that you speak to your surgeon for specialised advice.

Choose FUE Clinics for your hair transplant 

To minimise the potential side effects of your hair restoration surgery it is crucial that you choose a reputable clinic like FUE Clinics. We make sure that you’re in safe hands from the minute of your first consultation to the operating room and aftercare. 


If you’re wanting to know more about our professional clinics and procedures, then take a look at our FAQ section. Or visit us in person for a free no-obligation consultation. Contact us today and make an appointment with a professional.

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