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Why Does Hair Fall Out After Surgery? Causes And Solutions!

By Jessica Rivera

Updated On

Fact Checked By: SWA Research Team

The article herein was crafted with AI assistance under human supervision.

Surgical procedures can sometimes lead to an unexpected side effect – excessive hair shedding. If you’ve experienced this phenomenon, fear not, as it’s a relatively common occurrence for many individuals.

This article aims to shed light on the potential causes of post-operative hair loss and provide insights into strategies that may help restore your crowning glory to its former radiant state.

Key Takeways



▪️ Hair loss can be a concern for some individuals undergoing surgical procedures, particularly those involving the scalp or adjacent areas

▪️ Hair fall due to anesthesia is usually temporary and resolves as the body recovers from the stress of surgery

▪️ There are many ways to get rid of hair loss issues after surgery such as having a balanced diet, taking proper care of hair, managing stress, trying safe supplements, and so on.

Understanding Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is the most common form of hair loss after surgery. This condition occurs when a significant number of hair follicles abruptly enter the resting phase (telogen) and subsequently fall out a few months later.

Telogen Effluvium

Normally, only about 10% of your hair is in the resting phase at any given time. However, stress can cause that percentage to increase to 30% or more.

Stress And Post-Surgery Hair Loss

The primary reason for post-surgery hair loss is the stress that your body undergoes during the surgical procedure. When you’re under stress, your body enters survival mode and prioritizes essential functions like healing. Hair growth takes a backseat, and your hair follicles enter the resting phase until the stress subsides.

Additional Factors Contribute To Hair Loss

Apart from stress, several other factors can contribute to hair loss after surgery:

  • Anesthesia: Certain types of anesthesia can lead to hair loss especially when used for an extended period.
  • Medications: Some medications administered before, during, or after surgery can trigger hair loss.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Surgery can sometimes result in a lack of essential nutrients, which can impact hair growth.
  • Hormonal changes: Surgical procedures can disrupt your hormone levels, which can affect hair growth.

Most individuals begin to notice hair loss approximately 3 to 6 months after surgery. This delay occurs because it takes time for the hair follicles to complete the resting phase and subsequently shed. The good news is that telogen effluvium can be recovered and is typically temporary, and your hair should start growing back within a few months.

In some cases, post-surgery hair loss may be related to the specific type of surgery performed. For example, procedures that involve the head or neck, such as brain surgery or facial plastic surgery, can directly impact hair follicles and lead to localized hair loss in the affected areas. Additionally, surgeries that require a significant amount of blood loss or involve a prolonged recovery period may increase the likelihood of telogen effluvium.

Solutions for Post-Surgery Hair Loss

If you’re experiencing hair loss after surgery, here are some strategies to help:

1. Practice Patience

Keep in mind that telogen effluvium is usually temporary, so try to be patient as your hair regrows. It can take several months to a year for your hair to return to its pre-surgery thickness.

2. Maintain a Balanced Diet

Ensure that you’re consuming adequate protein, iron, and other essential nutrients to support healthy hair growth. If you suspect you might be deficient in certain nutrients, consider taking a multivitamin supplement.

3. Manage Stress

Since stress is a significant factor in hair loss, try to minimize stress in your daily life. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help you unwind and reduce stress levels.

4. Be Kind to Your Hair

Avoid harsh treatments like heat styling, chemical treatments, and tight hairstyles that can damage your hair and exacerbate hair loss. Opt for a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and allow your hair to air dry whenever possible.

5. Explore Hair Growth Supplements

There are various supplements available that claim to promote healthy hair growth. Look for products containing ingredients such as biotin, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. However, always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

If your hair loss is severe, persists for more than a year, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as scalp irritation or hair breakage, it’s advisable to consult a doctor. They can help identify the underlying cause of your hair loss and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Concluding Lines

In conclusion, hair loss after surgery, particularly telogen effluvium, can be a distressing experience, but it is usually temporary. Understanding the factors contributing to hair loss, such as stress, medications, and nutritional deficiencies, can help you take proactive steps to support your hair’s recovery. Practicing patience, maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress, and being gentle with your hair are essential strategies for coping with post-surgery hair loss. 

If your hair loss is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for personalized treatment options. Remember, hair loss after surgery does not define your overall health or beauty. With time, self-care, and the right support, most people can regain their hair’s strength and vitality.

If you’re struggling emotionally, reach out to loved ones or a mental health professional for guidance. By prioritizing your physical and emotional well-being, you can navigate this challenging period with resilience and emerge with renewed confidence.

References

  1. National Library of Medicine (n.d) Postoperative alopecia: a case report and literature review Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7835058/
  2. BetterHealth (2024) Patterned hair loss Available online at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/patterned-hair-loss
  3. MedlinePlus (n.d) General anesthesia Available online at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007410.htm

Jessica Rivera

Dr. Jessica Rivera has more than 10 years of experience in the cosmetic industry as a hair care specialist. As a licensed cosmetologist, she has an in-depth understanding of hair and scalp health and a strong desire to support others in achieving their hair goals. Dr. Jessica is also a reputable author and supplement reviewer, specializing in hair care products and ingredients. Her engaging and informative writing style makes complex topics accessible to a wide audience. Dr. Jessica is committed to assisting her readers in making well-informed decisions regarding their hair care routines in order to attain healthy, beautiful hair.

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