It will make a profound difference to your confidence and your appearance, and hair transplant surgery is usually a very successful procedure with few risks and complications. Of course there are some risks involved, as with any form of surgery, but hair transplant surgery is a simple and incredibly safe outpatient procedure which can transform your appearance and increase your sense of well-being. The risks are minimal, but your consultant will discuss them in detail with you beforehand, ensuring you are fully informed about the procedure and the evidence base which underpins any risk of complications or side effects. You will also be given a further chance to discuss risk assessment at the pre-op assessment.
It is impossible to remove or graft tissues without some degree of scarring. However, the Ultra Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation method is such a skilled and minute process that the scarring should be virtually undetectable. The skin of the scalp is extremely pliable, and although a tiny scar requiring a single stitch will occur, this will only be visible on close inspection, and will normally be covered by the rest of the hair. If you are prone to keloid scarring, discuss your options in more detail with your surgeon or doctor, because this can lead to more significant complications.
Tiny 2-3mm cysts can appear at the graft sites, particularly if many grafts have been made. These usually resolve on their own after a few weeks. However, sometimes the follicles next to the grafts can become swollen and infected. If you are worried about this at all, see your doctor.
It is common to experience some itching after hair transplantation, but this should quickly resolve itself. Daily shampooing is the best remedy and saline solution can help. Be sure to avoid scratching your scalp because you could cause permanent damage and destroy the grafts.
Swelling and bruising
You may experience swelling after the surgery. This is normal and a common post-operative effect. However, about 1% of patients have forehead swelling which lasts several days and can lead to bruising of the lower eyelids. The swelling doesn’t usually last long, but if you find it very painful and difficult to manage, your doctor can treat the swelling with medications if necessary.
It is natural to bleed at the incisions. Don’t worry about this. Just apply pressure with a pad, and keep your head elevated. If the bleeding seems excessive, your surgeon can apply extra stitches, but this is rare.
One of the more bizarre side effects is hiccups! Around 5% of patients suffer from this problem, so it is quite rare. It should easily resolve without treatment, but there are medicines your doctor can prescribe to help you if the hiccups persist for more than a day or two, because they can prevent you eating and sleeping adequately.
Pain and numbness
This is an inevitable consequence of any surgery. Pain relief medications will be dispensed at the end of surgery, but many patients find they can manage on over-the-counter remedies. Numbness can last a few months, but should not be too problematic.