What Are the Possible Complications of Hair Transplant Surgery?

Hair loss affects men and women of all ages and can be due to

  • Genetics 
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Chemotherapy
  • Trauma

Hair transplant surgery can effectively treat patchy baldness in individuals who have areas of healthy scalp and hair follicles. Surgery usually involves the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) method that relies on repositioning pieces of skin with hair from the back of the head, or, the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method of transplanting individual hair follicles from areas of fullness. The benefits of these treatments are evident despite the following risks.

Itching and Infection

Itching is a common occurrence after surgery. Scratching the uncomfortable area can lead to infection of the surgical site, which may require antibiotics to control. Folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles, can also result from ingrown hairs.


Healthy hair follicles or tissues are surgically removed and repositioned. Intermittent bleeding and swelling commonly occur within the first day or two after surgery, but sometimes last longer. Unnecessarily touching surgical sites can encourage wounds to open and bleed.

Shock Loss

Shock loss happens when the transplanted hair suddenly falls out within days of surgery. Although this can be very disconcerting, it will regrow as long as the hair follicles are intact. Hair that does not regrow where it has fallen out could indicate tissue rejection. It may be possible to remedy this with a followup surgery, but this is not always the case.


At times postoperative symptoms can include scalp numbness that can last up to several weeks following surgery. This symptom typically subsides over time.


The FUT method creates raised and thick strips of scar tissue where skin is removed. The surgical site is often resistant to new hair growth, leaving patches of unflattering bare skin that result from a new hair loss problem where it did not previously exist.

Secondary Hair Loss

The FUE method involves removing individual hair follicles from the back of the head, and surgically implanting them into the hairline. Although this method does not require large stitches, small pinpoint scars do happen but are usually not noticeable. Also, surgeons may remove and transplant hair follicles that do not produce adequate hair growth leading to unresolved problems at the transplant site. Removing too many hair follicles from that back of the head can also lead to a patchy appearance.If you suffer from hair loss, a knowledgeable hair transplant doctor, like Dr. Robin Unger, can recommend the best treatment option for a natural-looking full head of hair.