Surgical Complications in Hair Transplantation

Hair surgery, like any other surgery, has its risks and possible side effects. Potential surgical and post-surgical complications arising from hair transplantation can be discouraging to many prospective hair transplant candidates. Most of the published literature on this matter deals with individual case reports rather than analysing series of patients. A study has been conducted recently analysing 425 hair transplant patients (407 men and 17 women) with a mean age of 37 years, who underwent 533 hair transplant procedures. They were observed for at least one year post surgery in order to evaluate surgical and post-surgical complications. An overall complications rate of 4.7% was determined. This percentage mainly consisted of enlarged scarring (1.2%), infection and inflammation of hair follicles, called folliculitis (1.0%), dying of hair follicles in the donor area (0.8%), keloid scarring (0.4%), excessive bleeding (0.2%), hiccups (0.2%), scalp infections (0.2%) and pyogenic granuloma (0.2%). The frequency of enlarged scars increased proportionally with the number of surgical procedures that the patient underwent. The study concluded that good communication between the patient and the surgeon, a proper clinical and laboratory assessment of the patient, accurate surgical technique, use of suitable equipment, a well trained surgical team and careful postoperative attention to the patient are crucial for successful hair transplantation and for reducing the complication rates. However, there are a number of other side effects that have not been mentioned in this study, such as weak hair growth due to the transaction of implanted hair follicles, the long healing process in the scar (which may be due to several different factors), scalp numbness and tension, etc. Therefore, the likelihood of adverse side effects occurring during and after hair transplant surgery is probably a bit higher than the complications rate found in this study.


Surgical complications in hair transplantation: a series of 533 procedures

Salanitri S; Gonçalves AJ; Helene A Jr; Lopes FH

Aesthetic surgery journal / the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic surgery; VOL: 29 (1); p. 72-6 /2009 Jan-Feb/

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