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10 Side effects of Hair Transplant Surgery

Dr. Aman Dua | September, 5 2022 | 0 Comments

So, you are losing hair and are thinking that the only way out is to get a hair transplant; you would not be a unique person. There are several people, all over the world, who are opting for hair restoration procedures in order to return to a life of confidence and looking good. However, all said and done, hair restoration or hair transplant is a medical procedure and there is always the chance of certain side effects or complications. So, before you actually get your transplant done, it would be best to talk to your doctor and gain a clear picture as to what side effects could be caused in the process. This helps you make an informed decision for going ahead with the surgery with confidence.

Hair transplant for cosmetic reasons got famous in the early 90s with the use of elliptical donor harvesting. The last decade the patient interest has shifted primarily to Follicular Unit Transactions. Elliptical donor harvesting or FUT had a resultant linear scar whereas FUE has residual tiny scar which can be easily camouflaged. Having said that there are few risks associated with each type of surgery. Let’s examine all the side effects of FUE Hair Transplant and side effects of FUT hair transplant.

List of Common side effects of Hair Transplant Surgery

There are some that are common, while some are uncommon; some are temporary and some last for a longer period of time. We’ve enumerated below most common side effects:

  • Hair Shedding
  • Infections
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Cysts
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Scarring
  • Hiccups

Side Effects of Hair Transplant Surgery Let’s discuss each of the above-mentioned complications of FUE or FUT hair transplant one by one in detail and the way to faster recovery.

1. Hair Shedding

When you get a hair transplant, you would think that your hair would only grow and become thicker. However, the truth is that a lot of people will actually have to deal with fall first. This process is actually known as shedding and is a normal process after transplantation. This happens because the root get intact and the hair shaft fall down an growth starts from root again. The transplanted hairs fall out in 2-3 weeks and the new growth becomes visible by 3-4 months. Sometimes in a few cases there can be shock loss of the existing hair because of the surgery. This is rare and will regrow back within a few months.

2. Bleeding

Whether you are getting a follicular unit transplant or follicular unit extraction, there are bound to be some cuts and nicks, and there is bound to be some blood loss. While most experienced doctors will ensure that the blood loss is minimised to the minimum possible still there might be some ooze in the post-op period that can be controlled by pressing a gauze piece. So it is important that the patient should share if they are taking any blood thinning medicines or suffering with any bleeding related problem.

3. Infections

If you have chosen a good doctor, you can be sure that you will not have to face any infections, but even with the best of facilities there might be some infection for which a short course of antibiotics is required.

4. Pain

A hair restoration procedure, FUE or FUT is a surgical process and there is bound to be some amount of pain, especially in FUT. While in most cases, the doctor will administer sedatives and anesthesia, however there are rare cases, where there is pain even after the procedure has completed. The doctor will prescribe you some painkillers to avoid this in the post-op period. Sometimes patients might have stretching sensation in FUT cases. In our patients, we just prescribe paracetamol for such situation ever faced.

5. Itching

This is perhaps the most common side effect and is something that is experienced that a majority of people who undergo a hair transplant. The itching takes place because of the formation of scabs at the transplant site. The easiest method of handling this situation is to keep spraying the solution given over the grafts and wash the scalp with a mild or medication shampoo after the initial week of surgery. The itching too, as is the case with other side effects, will vanish over the period of a few days. Sometimes, it is caused by the use of minoxidil [more about common side effects of Minoxidil] as well which has to be stopped.

6. Swelling

This is yet another side effect that is very common and is seen in a majority of people who have undergone the process. However, the sites of swelling might vary from person to person. So while some people might have swelling on their forehead, for others it might be around their eyes. In certain cases, there might be even what you would call a black eye. Normally, the swelling tends to subside in a few days, however, if the same does not happen in a few days, it would be best to meet a doctor.

7. Numbness

The numbness is often attributed to the cutting of nerves in FUT procedure. However, at our clinic, we remain in the superficial plane avoiding any nerve damage and hence numbness.

8. Scarring

If you have undergone an FUE, then you will have tiny micro scars, which will disappear in a few weeks. In addition, when new hair grows, these dot like marks will get hidden. However, if you have undergone an FUT, then you are bound to have a linear scar, but with proper hair growth and an intelligently decided style, you will have nothing to worry about.

9. Cysts

This happens when there are buried grafts that are not taken out properly. While most of the times, these cysts appear in the form of a cluster of pimples, there are only rare few cases, wherein they take on a more aggravated form. Generally, these cysts disappear in a few weeks, but if they do not, then you might have to make another trip to your doctor.

10. Hiccups

While it might sound odd, hiccups are yet another side effect that might plague certain patients of hair restoration. This is a very rare side effect and normally lasts only a few days.

Side effects of hair transplant by Dr Kapil Dua

Whether your experience of Hair transplant is good or bad largely depends upon how wisely you choose a hair transplant clinic. Here are few points that you must follow for safe and permanent hair transplant surgery.

  • Ensure that the clinic or facility you’re choosing should be hygienic and have all modern facilities for the same.
  • Ensure that the clinic follows ISHRS regulations like extraction & slit making (incisions) should solely be done by physician himself not technicians
  • Ensure that there are some standardized protocols followed by the clinic.
  • Ensure that the physician has a lot of experience of the procedure you plan to undergo.
  • Ensure that the clinic is not talking of 3500-4500 grafts by FUE from scalp that certainly is not medically recommended and can cause problems like telogen effluvium.
  • Further if the clinic is specifically mentioning that FUE surgery is best that means they do not have adequate experience and team to conduct FUT or they may be conducting procedures mainly through technicians unethically.

So, plan you surgery wisely, to get best result without any side effect. It is recommended to take your doctor’s advice, if notice any strange symptom.

Here are few frequently asked questions by our patients before undergoing hair transplant surgery;

Hair Transplant is an OPD based procedure with a high success rate and does not require hospitalization. The hair transplant recovery takes about week for FUE Hair Transplant & around 2 weeks for FUT hair transplant. During this time, you’re not incapacitated in any manner just advised a sedentary routine.
There are few general precautions like avoiding swim in salty water, gym, working on gadgets with head down. Click here to know more about post-op instructions in details
Both the techniques have advantages and disadvantages over the other like for larger grade of baldness FUT is recommended over FUE. And if someone plants to keep a crew cut, FUE may be better idea. Read more details.
Hair Transplant is a very safe surgery and results are generally permanent because the hair are taken from the permanent zone & safe donor zone

About Author & Bibliography

NOTE: This content of this post is written by the experienced dermotologist based on formal medical studies. It is reliable and scientifically verified and reviewed and edited by concerned doctors and health professionals to provide objective information on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. If you are a doctor or health scientist and find inaccuracies, errors or omissions, please contact us at

About Author: This post is written by Dr. Aman Dua, MBBS, MD, FISHRS having 14 year of experience in the fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant. She is the Chief Dermatologist, Co-Founder & Managing Director At AK Clinics. This post is written to educate the patient about the common side effects of hair transplant and how to recover from them.

Reviewed by: This post is reviewed by Dr Kapil Dua, one of the most renowned Hair Transplant Surgeon globally. He expertises in Otolaryngology & Hair Transplant and has been exclusively practicing hair transplant surgeries for over 15 years now. He has co-authored over 40 national and international publications in major textbooks about Hair Transplant. He has been the President of Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons of India and is the current Vice President of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery 2021-22. He is the member of numerous national and international societies of Hair Transplant including ISHRS, AAHRS and more. He’s also in the Board of Directors for AAHRS & ABHRS.

Dr. Aman Dua

Dr. Aman Dua

Dr. Aman Dua, Co-Founder & Managing Director at AK Clinics has over 14 years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant. Clinically, she has practiced aesthetic dermatology as a Consultant at Dayanand Medical Hospital, Ludhiana where she also served as the Assistant Professor & Skin Specialist for a number of years.

Over the course of her career, she has garnered acclaim as a facial aesthetics expert, with special interest in non-surgical acne scar removal. She practices as a Chief Dermatologist at Ludhiana Clinics.

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