Bleeding after hair transplantation
Hair transplantation is a non-invasive operation aimed at treating baldness that can lead to side effects in the postoperative period. One of these is the possible bleeding after hair transplantation. During the transplant the doctor creates microscopic channels of about 2 mm to withdraw and subsequently insert the follicular units. The presence of small amounts of blood is a reaction to the opening of these channels and should not scare the patient. The patient may notice a slight bleeding after hair transplantation for about three days.
Should the patient notice an excessive bleeding due to shocks, or for a longer period of time than expected, he should immediately contact his doctor. The doctor will analyze the transplant area and will assess how to stop bleeding and whether there have been hair transplant damage.
The causes of bleeding after hair transplantation
In the first phase of hair transplantation, the doctor creates channels of about two or three millimeters to withdraw and then insert the follicular units from the donor area to the recipient area. Due to the opening of these channels, the patient will have a bleeding after hair transplantation. The loss of blood should not scare the patient since the bleeding is mild and lasts only two or three days. The spilled blood will dry out and form crusts after hair transplantation. The level of bleeding varies from patient to patient and depends on several factors.
The main causes of bleeding after hair transplantation are:
- Bumps or traumas
- Physical activity
- Alcohol and smoke
- Blood coagulation
Should the patient notice excessive or prolonged bleeding or blood loss or subcutaneous bruising following a shock or physical activity, it is recommended that you contact your doctor immediately.
Bumps or traumas
The patient who has undergone a hair transplant must always remember that the area subjected to the procedure is extremely sensitive and delicate in the first postoperative days. It is vital to follow the advice of your doctor and try to keep the transplant area clean, disinfected and repaired by external factors or impacts. Despite the attentions, there may be bumps or head injuries leading to bleeding after hair transplantation. Think of a ball when you play sports, or headshots as you enter the car. Because of the sensitivity of the treated area even light trauma could lead to bleeding or bruising subcutaneous. Often the patient does not notice bleeding after a head bump but this does not mean that there has not been a trauma to the area.
In any case, the patient is advised to immediately contact the doctor who will advise what to do and avoid as much as possible DIY therapies and home remedies.
Physical activity can affect bleeding after hair transplantation. This increases blood circulation and heart rate causing more bleeding; the doctor will advise the patient not to play sports for at least a month after hair transplantation. In addition, sports practice increases the risk of trauma or shocks to the skin: from the risk of beating against the head or impacts with sports equipment and machinery, this type of trauma to the skin can seriously damage hair transplantation and follicular units. For these same reasons, the patient is advised to abstain from sexual acts for at least one week after transplantation.
The patient who undergoes hair transplantation must be sincere with his doctor and inform him in case of diseases or medicinal treatments. The intake of blood-thinning drugs, such as anticoagulants or aspirin, affect bleeding after hair transplantation. By making the blood more liquid, the risk of bleeding increases and may result in major side effects both during and after transplantation. If you are taking anticoagulant medicines, often prescribed in cases of cardiovascular disease, we advise you to advise the doctor who will carry out the transplant a few weeks before the procedure, so that he can decide the best way to avoid side effects during the operation.
Alcohol and smoke
Intake of alcohol and nicotine strongly influence bleeding after hair transplantation.
The nicotine, contained in all cigarettes, reduces the supply of oxygen in the blood and influences the healing process of the wounds, lengthening the times. The longer it takes to close the wounds, the greater the possibility of bleeding after hair transplantation and other side effects. Alcohol tends to thin the blood, increasing the risk of bleeding during and after hair transplantation. The doctor will advise the patient to stop smoking because, in addition to the problems previously described, smoking causes hair loss. If the patient can not stop, it is recommended to avoid alcohol and cigarettes before and after hair transplantation for a couple of weeks.
An important factor for bleeding after hair transplantation is nutrition. Proper nutrition will not only affect the healing process positively but can also help reduce bleeding after hair transplantation. Some foods help to make the blood more liquid and for this reason the bleeding could increase, we must avoid these foods during the first days after hair transplantation.
Foods advised against:
- Spices: Chilli, curry, turmeric, Cayenne pepper, onion, garlic
- Vegetables: Citrus, pineapple, prunes, grapes, strawberries, olives, tomatoes, radishes, apples, berries;
- Drinks: tea, red wine;
- Vegetables and legumes: Parsley, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beans;
- Egg yolk, meat and cereals;
In hair transplantation, each case must be considered individually because each patient has different characteristics. When it comes to bleeding after hair transplantation, the patient’s personal characteristics, such as blood clotting level or skin sensitivity level, must be taken into account.
Types of bleeding after hair transplantation
Bleeding after hair transplantation can take place in different areas and for different reasons. In some cases the patient should not worry because it is a normal reaction and is part of the healing process. In cases of shock, the patient should immediately inform their doctor to make sure that there are no health problems or hair transplants.
Bleeding in the donor area
The donor area is usually the back of the head, but beard, chest or leg hair can be used. During hair transplantation, the doctor will open approximately 2 mm channels inside the patient’s skin in order to withdraw the follicular units to be transplanted. After having performed the hair transplant, the medical staff will cover the donor area with a bandage that will remain until the first hair wash on the third day. Usually, in hair transplantation performed with FUE technique, bleeding is never excessive. This bleeding after hair transplantation is not a worrying sign but is simply part of the wound healing process.
The patient is advised to check if there are any blood stains on the bandage during the first few days. If the bleeding is excessive or continues more than two or three days after the hair transplantation, the patient is advised to contact his doctor.
Bleeding in the receiving area
The receiving area is the part of the head where the hair will be transplanted. To be able to implant the follicular units that will populate the bald area will be opened channels, this will lead to slight loss of blood both during and after surgery. Usually this bleeding after hair transplantation is not excessive and does not last longer than three days; should you notice any abnormalities such as prolonged or excessive bleeding, you should immediately contact your doctor.
Bleeding due to shocks or trauma
Following the hair transplant, the head area will be very delicate and the follicular units inserted in the skin will not be completely firm during the first ten days or so. For this reason, the patient is advised to pay close attention in the days following the transplant. Not only are actions such as rubbing or scratching prohibited but avoiding the most possible traumas to the area, such as bumping into an area against an object. In the event that a trauma occurs with subsequent bleeding or bruised under the skin, the patient is advised to inform the physician immediately. In some cases this type of trauma can cause irreparable damage to the transplant and it is important that the doctor assesses any damage suffered.
How to behave in case of bleeding after hair transplantation
Bleeding after hair transplantation is a particularly common side effect in patients but there are factors that can reduce bleeding. Quitting smoking and drinking before and after surgery as well as avoiding blood-thinning medicines can help with the bleeding problem. Avoiding physical and sexual activity reduces the possibility of trauma to the skin and does not increase blood pressure, thus reducing bleeding. Rest is an important factor: the patient is advised to rest as much as possible in the days following the hair transplant, in order to allow the body to heal as quickly as possible.
How to reduce bleeding after hair transplantation
Bleeding after hair transplantation is a normal consequence and should not worry the patient. In almost all cases bleeding is sporadic and does not continue beyond the third day after hair transplantation.
The patient can reduce bleeding after hair transplant by following simple rules:
- Avoiding sports and physical or sexual activity;
- Avoid medicines and foods that thin the blood;
- Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking;
- Follow a correct diet and avoid foods that fluidize the blood;
- Dab the area lightly with a tissue applying the minimum pressure with vertical movements, never dragging the tissue against the skin;
Frequently asked questions about bleeding after hair transplantation
Here are the questions most patients ask about bleeding after hair transplants-
How long is the bleeding time after hair transplantation?
Bleeding after hair transplantation takes about two or three days for most cases but each patient should be evaluated individually.
Is bleeding after hair transplantation a serious problem?
No, the presence of blood in the days following transplantation does not present a serious problem if it does not continue after four days and remains light, never excessive.
What can I do in case of excessive bleeding?
What to do in case the bleeding lasted several days or was abundant? The patient is advised to contact the transplant doctor immediately as this may cause a more serious condition.
Avram M, Rogers N, Contemporary Hair Transplantation , Dermatologic Surgery, Vol 35 (11), Pg 1705, November 2009
Patwardhan N, Mysore V, Hair transplantation: Standard guidelines of care, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Vol. 74 (7), December 2008
Salanitri S, Gonçalves AJ, Helene A, Junqueira Lopes FH, Surgical Complications in Hair Transplantation: A Series of 533 Procedures, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Vol 29 (1), Pg 72, January 2009