Will I Lose My Hair After Bariatric Surgery?

Hair is a very important part of our personal image, so losing hair can increase anxiety.

Hair loss after surgery is a condition known as telogen effluvium and is characterized by diffuse shedding, due to a disruption of the hair cycle. This condition is usually triggered by high fever, severe hemorrhage, immense psychological stress, surgical trauma and in 33% of the cases the origin is unknown. The hair loss typically begins around 3 months after the precipitating event. Elderly women are more vulnerable so present this condition.

A lot of people have the misconception that this type of hair loss after bariatric surgery is associated with malnourishment, but no, this is more associated with the stress on the body from the surgery than because of the type of procedure itself, in this case bariatric.

To explain better this phenomenon will review the phases of the hair cycle, that consist of:

  • ANAGEN: 90 to 95 % of hair follicles in the scalp are in this growing phase, and it lasts for 2 to 7 years. This stage the root of the hair is attached to a blood supply.
  • CATAGEN: this is a transition phase where the hair detaches from nourishing blood supply and it lasts for 3 weeks.
  • TELOGEN: this is a resting phase where the hair without nourishment dies and falls out.

Normally a hair loss of 100 to 150 hairs per day is acceptable.

Follicles normally retain hair during the TELOGEN phase, until the reentry to ANAGEN (hair growing phase). The new hair pushes the old hair out. So, it is less likely to result in visible alopecia, though there is a temporary decrease of hair density. It will self-limit, between 3 to 6 months all hairs are replaced.

Although spontaneous improvement is expected, and vitamins or supplements have shown no effect. Therefore emotional well-being is critical and taking supplements like Biotin, Vitamins B, Iron and Zinc could not hurt.

For more info or questions about weight loss surgery, schedule a virtual consult today!


Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.