Some patients have sensitive hair follicles. So after a hair restoration surgery, they may actually experience unwanted hair loss in the treatment areas. The extraction wounds in the donor area and the insertion slits created in the recipient zones are minimally invasive. But they can be quite traumatic for the surrounding hair follicles. This may cause them to enter the telogen resting phase which leads to subsequent shedding.
Diffuse Thinning and Shock Loss
Some men suffer from thinning forms of androgenic alopecia. And according to Dr. U, they are more likely to experience shock loss due to hair restoration surgery.
Instead of losing hair according to well defined phases, they will experience pronounced thinning throughout their head. There are two types of diffuse thinning conditions
In Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia, thinning occurs globally throughout the head. There may be a horseshoe shaped stable zone. But this will be quite sparse.
DPA stands for diffuse patterned alopecia. This version of diffuse thinning will have a more solid looking stable permanent zone around the back and sides of the head.
Individuals with diffuse thinning patterns or other possible predictors for shock loss may benefit from undergoing a preliminary test procedure on a small, inconspicuous areas.
Preventing Hair Restoration Shock Loss
Doctors may vary in the methods they choose to use for preventing shock loss. But here are some general strategies:
(1) Choosing a higher density
A surgeon may decide to insert a greater number of grafts head to compensate for the possibility of losing hair due to trauma
(2) Using medications
FDA approved drugs can help to control and limit the extent of miniaturization among the hair follicles. By preventing shrinkage, the follicles are able to remain in a strong healthy state. And they would be less vulnerable to the impact of surgical instruments.
However, Dr. U cautions that all synthetic medications are associated with unwanted side effects. Therefore the use of natural ingredients which are supported by research studies may offer a better way to keep the follicles in a healthy state without posing unnecessary risks to other areas of the patient’s health.
When Prevention Is Too Late
Not all instances of shock loss can be prevented. However, if it does occur, body hair to head transplantation may offer a way for the patient to reverse these effects.
One patient of Dr. U had undergone several strip surgeries. As a result of shock loss, he lost a considerable amount of hair on the sides of his head.
Due to the extremely sensitive nature of his scalp hair, head donor follicles could not be used. Instead grafts were taken from the patient’s beard area. And these were used to fill in the sparse areas and to cover the linear scars which resulted from past surgeries.
Body hair has different characteristics from head hair. Furthermore, these surfaces are more visible. Therefore, there is a strong need for superior forms of wound healing results. Dr. U engineered an Advanced Follicular Unit Extraction technology known as uGraft to effectively overcome both of these challenges. This system allows body hair grafts to be used as a viable option in situations where head hair cannot be depended upon.
About Dr Umar
Dr. Sanusi Umar is a pioneer in hair transplant surgery and is widely published and recognized in his field. Dr. Umar is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the founder of DermHair Clinic in Los Angeles, CA.