Following a hair transplant, the hair sheds because of trauma to the hair follicles during the removal and handling of the grafts. Coupled with a loss of blood supply to the area, this can cause the new hair to go dormant for a few months, resulting in a lack of growth. This is a perfectly normal side effect and is not a major concern for those in recovery.
During a hair transplant, your surgeon moves follicles from areas of the scalp that still contain thick, healthy hair to areas where balding or hair loss has started to take place. This involves the migration of between 500 and 2000 tiny grafts. The entire process can take between four and eight hours, depending on how many hair follicles you are having positioned into place.
After the transplant is finished, your scalp is likely to feel quite tender. Two to four weeks after the surgery is when you are most likely to see your transplanted hair fall out. New hair growth will start up again within 5-6 months. If you experience hair shedding at any point after a transplant, this doesn’t mean that your surgery was ineffective. Give it time, and new hair growth will start to come through.
The Stages of Hair Growth Explained
Shedding to gain new hair is just a part of the growth cycle. To fully understand why hair loss occurs and how it’s possible to replace it, it’s important to understand the hair growth cycle. It happens in three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen.
Hair growth begins with anagen (the growth phase). The body constructs from keratin, a fibrous protein that the body uses to build nails and skin and grows at a pace of around half an inch a month. Growth can accelerate in the summer; however, the difference is not dramatic.
The anagen hair growth phase lasts up to 5 years, usually reaching 30 inches at full length.
After the anagen phase, hair enters the catagen phase – a short, transitional period that lasts approximately 10 days. At this point, the hair bulb at the bottom of the follicle detaches from the blood supply and moves upwards before eventually separating from the hair and allowing it to shed.
Lastly, your hair enters the telogen phase, a resting phase, when your hair is released and falls out. The follicle then remains inactive for 3 months before the process is repeated.