Hair Loss After Surgery

One of the least discussed side effects of surgery is hair loss. While this is not the norm, and certainly not exclusive of elective cosmetic or weight loss procedures, hair loss can occur after any surgery.

Although it sounds intimidating to think about this possibility, hair loss after surgery is usually manageable and something that shouldn’t make you change your mind about getting the surgery you’ve always wanted. Our advice is simply to be prepared, know what to expect and, in case it happens to you, what steps you can take to promote hair regrowth. Read along this short informative guide the expert doctors at VIDA Wellness and Beauty Center created for you!

Understanding hair loss after surgery

Did you know that losing hair is natural? A person’s normal hair cycle has different phases: the anagen or growth phase, the catagen or regressing phase, and the resting or telogen phase. These stages last anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 years, but the rate and frequency in which your hair goes through them are affected by external factors, such as stress and the way your body heals itself.

Stress and the way your body processes vitamins and nutrients to help you heal after a surgical procedure are among the most common factors that can cause accelerated, yet temporary 

hair loss after surgery.

  • Stress. Any surgery can be a very stressful time. Even subconsciously, a surgery causes stress in your body. When you are stressed, your hair can enter the telogen or resting phase and cause temporary hair loss. This condition is so common and preventable that has a name of its own – Telogen Effluvium. In most cases, particularly after surgery, hairs affected by Telogen Effluvium recover in a matter of months.
  • Diet and metabolism. After having surgery, your body’s natural response is to try and heal itself. In order to heal, your body will need more nutrients like zinc, iron, protein, and biotin. Furthermore, our bodies are so wise that they will prioritize those nutrients to the places where they need to heal, which can leave hair growth temporarily in the backseat. Your hair follicles are super sensitive to the amount of nutrition they receive, which is why you might have experienced hair loss after losing weight.


Anesthesia and hair loss.

Can anesthesia cause Hair Loss? Another possible cause of hair loss after a surgery is anesthesia. While the research is not conclusive, anesthesia can also cause Telogen Effluvium. Anesthesia, even minor local sedation, is a physiological stress put on your body. Particularly because anesthesia blocks nerve transmission, and your hair follicles are surrounded by nerves. An ‘irruption’ in your nervous system will most likely cause your nerves to send out a distress signal to your body, leading to the anagen phase. Anesthesia induced Telogen Effluvium (or hair loss) is temporary and once your body goes back to its normal state, hair growth will be restored.

Hair Loss after Bariatric Surgery

If you are planning a bariatric procedure, it is possible that you’ve come across the topic of hair loss after weight loss surgery more. Bariatric patients do have a higher tendency to develop Telogen Effluvium.

Going back to the main reasons that cause temporary hair loss; stress and diet and metabolism, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see how the body reacts this way. Any bariatric surgery, such as a Gastric Sleeve or a Gastric Bypass, will have a direct impact on metabolism, the way you digest food and restrict how you absorb nutrients. However, as our VIDA bariatric surgeons advice us, after any weight loss procedure, if you commit to a healthy and balanced diet, your body will balance itself within months and you’ll see healthy hair growth again!

Beating Hair Loss after Surgery

The best thing is to remember that Telogen Effluvium caused by surgery is temporary and some patients might not even experience it. There are however things that you can do in order to minimize this:!

  • Nutrient-dense diet. Focus on eating a healthy diet, rich in nutrients that support healthy hair growth. Eating a healthy diet has been extensively covered in our surgery recovery guides, but an added benefit is that by being mindful of what you eat, you can supply your body with the amount of nutrients needed to heal AND bring your hair back to looking fab!
  • Resting and Chilling. Sleep at least 8 hours and find activities that help you relax, such as meditating, listening to your favorite podcast or walking with your best friend. Moreover, don’t obsess about your hair loss after surgery. Remember: it’s temporary!
  • Restore your hair. If several months have passed after your surgery and you’re still losing hair, or you had already had been dealing with hair loss before, talk to our hair restoration specialists. From adjusting your vitamin intake to a sophisticated hair transplant technique, we can help!

If you have more doubts about post-surgical hair loss or just had surgery and don’t know how to manage it, don’t go through it alone! Give us a call at (619)610-1667 so our certified doctors can assist you!

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.