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What are the risks of a hair loss after surgery ?

Hair loss is more usual than you think with, probably, everyone experiencing an episode of excessive hair shedding at least once in their lifetime. So many factors can lead to this problem that, sometimes, it is difficult to identify the right cause, especially if hair loss is only temporary.

Surprisingly, hair loss after anaesthesia is also a common occurrence. Here we explain how anaesthetics can lead to telogen effluvium and how to recover your normal hair growth rate after anaesthesia and surgery faster.


  1. What causes hair loss after surgery ?
  2. What happens to the body during the surgery ?
  3. Can surgery affect my hair ?
  4. How to reverse a hair loss after surgery ?
  5. Conclusion

What causes hair loss after surgery ?

local anaesthesia is used for all our hair transplantation but they can on rare cases cause a hair loss after surgeryHaving anaesthetics administered and followed by surgical intervention, even a minor one, can create a stress response in the body. In this way, the patient can develop telogen effluvium, i.e. the condition in which hair loss after surgery is triggered by a traumatic event or stress, be it physical or psychological.

Frequent causes of telogen effluvium are childbirth, bouts of chronic diseases, low-calorie diets, certain drugs and emotional upheavals. Major surgery and anaesthesia belong to this group too.

What happens to the body during the operation ?

Our body sees surgical intervention and anaesthesia as a stressful event, primarily because many physiological processes are being put on hold. Anaesthetics can also temporarily alter the nervous system and hormone levels.

General anaesthesia blocks neural signals in the whole body which results in loss of consciousness. Only vital physiological functions, like breathing, continue to run. Many processes become suspended, such as digestion or light reflex.

Are there any impact on hair growth ?

Hair growth is not considered a vital function for the body and, hence, gets suppressed too. When in stress, the vital resources (nutrient elements, oxygen, etc.) travel to those areas of the body, where they are needed the most for the organism to survive.

Since the hair is not an essential tissue the body diverts the flow of nutrients from the hair follicles to its other parts. This in turn can lead to an hair loss after surgery

Moreover, each hair follicle has its nerves which transmit a distress signal during anaesthesia and surgery. This, in turn, can make the follicles in the telogen phase shrink and basically ‘put them to sleep’.

Can surgery affect my hair ?

Again, anaesthesia puts a lot of strain on the body. How does the body respond to that? By releasing cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’.

Cortisol causes the shrinkage of the blood vessels, meaning that the blood flow to the scalp becomes partially restricted. As a consequence, hair follicles are starved of nutrients and the hair growth slows down considerably.

And, since each hair follicle has its own adrenal gland where cortisol is secreted, the strands are affected by it directly after a stressful event.

Understanding the hair’s growth cycle

To understand how hair loss after surgery occurs, we need to have a look at the hair growth cycle. It comprises the following phases:

  • Anagen phase or the phase of active hair growth lasts from 2 to 8 years. The duration is, however, preconditioned by genetics and differs from person to person. Around 80-90 per cent of a healthy person’s hair is in the anagen phase at any given time.
  • Catagen phase is a short period of transition that takes 2-3 weeks, during which hair growth stops and the hair gets cut off from the blood supply.
  • Telogen phase is the time when hair follicles become inactive and the dead hair sheds. It is normal to lose up to 150 hairs every day.

When a person goes through a highly stressful event or is exposed to an external shock, up to 70 per cent of total hair can prematurely enter the telogen phase, followed by excessive hair shedding. Apart from that, stress can also extend the duration of the telogen phase.

How to reverse a hair loss after surgery ?

how can I reverse a hair loss after a surgeryA telogen effluvium is a temporary condition that usually lasts up to 6 months. As a rule, it does not require any specially targeted treatment. You can reverse hair loss after a surgery by eliminating the source of stress and using medications that boost hair growth.

  • Introduce changes to your diet
  • Manage your stress with meditation and physical activity
  • Avoid tight hairstyles
  • Try minoxidil or other hair loss medications
  • Choose mild hair care products

Please note that the hair fall will not occur following the anaesthesia immediately but around 2-3 months after (this can again be explained by the duration of each phase of the hair growth cycle).

This makes it more difficult for the person to identify the real cause of hair thinning. Hence, if you notice excessive hair shedding, try to analyse your health history going a few months back.

Have you tried Dr. Balwi’s hair care products ?

Thanks to a unique combination of ingredients your hair receives the essential nutrients that nourish the roots and hair, and prevent their loss. Our shampoos and sprays are highly concentrated in Biotin. In addition unlike ordinary hair care products, ours tackle the problem at the root. Because a stronger and vitalised scalp produces more resistant and, of course, more silky hair!


Anaesthetics can lead to hair loss after a surgery, even though they are rarely recognised as culprits since hair loss becomes visible only several weeks to several months after anaesthesia.

It is also believed that the chances of developing telogen effluvium after anaesthesia will depend on the type of anaesthetic used. However, no conclusive research has been done to back this up.

Analgesia and sedation put a lot of strain on the body. Such physical stress may induce hair loss in the following ways:

  • Suspending the process of cell division in the hair follicles
  • Inducing the release of cortisol
  • Diverting the nutrient supply from the hair follicles

Such stress-induced hair loss is known as telogen effluvium. It is usually a temporary condition that does not require a targeted treatment plan. Nevertheless, the side effects can be managed with some medications, balanced nutrition and proper hair care.

Do you have more questions ? Then feel free to to contact our friendly team that will answer all your queries. Furthermore they can also propose a free and non binding hair analysis. So don’t hesitate if you want to benefit from Dr. Balwi and Elithairtransplant’s expertise for a successful and affordable hair transplant in Turkey !

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