Hair Loss After Surgery: Why Does It Happen and What Can You Do?

Most invasive surgeries, as necessary as they may be, aren’t easy on the body. The trauma of surgery is why we need sedation and anesthesia during procedures and why it takes days or weeks to recover. After surgery, the disruption to the body’s normal functioning can linger and manifest itself in many ways, including temporary hair loss.

Causes of Post-Surgical Hair Loss

Post-surgical hair loss is a common phenomenon and is a form of telogen effluvium (TE), a condition caused by disruptions to the hair follicle growth cycle.

In a normal hair growth cycle, follicles go through a process that lasts for several years at a time. Hair follicles don’t continuously produce new hairs. Instead, follicles cycle through resting phases known as telogens.

The American Hair Loss Association estimates that 10 to 20 percent of hair follicles are in a telogen state at any given time. But if the proportion of telogen hairs rises above 20 percent, it is often an indication of telogen effluvium.

The stress caused by surgery can sometimes put hair follicles in a more prolonged resting state than usual. Like psychological and emotional stress, that caused by surgery can lead directly to hair loss.  This is because stress may cause the body to divert essential hair growth nutrients such as biotin, iron, zinc, protein away from vital organs, which in turn can cause hair thinning and TE.

Another hair loss condition can arise in particularly lengthy surgeries when the patient’s head remains in one position for hours at a time. Positional alopecia occurs when blood flow to hair follicles is cut off because of the pressure put on part of the scalp. Research has found that positional alopecia is most common in cardiac surgeries and extensive reconstructive surgeries.

While all surgical procedures have the potential to cause telogen effluvium and hair loss, procedures that involve incisions on the scalp, such as head and neck surgeries, may also increase the risk of hair follicles shutting down.

Minimizing Post-Surgical Hair Loss

As noted, post-surgical hair loss is almost always a temporary phenomenon. But while you may not be able to prevent telogen effluvium entirely, you can minimize the severity of hair loss after surgery by eating a nutritious diet, getting sufficient sleep and exercise, and managing your stress levels.

You can also discuss your concerns with a hair restoration physician who may have additional suggestions about how you can reduce hair loss after your procedure.

No Matter The Reason Behind Your Hair Loss, The Miami Hair Institute Can Help

At the Miami Hair Institute, our world-renowned hair restoration physicians diagnose and treat hair loss cases no matter what the underlying cause. Through advanced hair restoration surgical techniques, technology, and alternative non-invasive treatments, we can help patients suffering from hair loss regain their hair and self-confidence.

To receive your personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.