Hair Transplant: What Is Shock Loss?

Shock loss, what does that mean? Alos, what are the chances that it will occur after a hair transplant?

Doctor Answers 12

Shock Loss

Shock Loss following Hair Transplant:
In hair transplant, the hair are taken from the permanent zone on the back side and implanted on the bald area on the front side. If the area where hair are going being implanted has got hair like the patients who have diffuse hair loss( especially the women) then there are chances that the blood supply and the nutrition are hampered in the recipient area which might lead to the fall of the hair which are already in the Telogen phase (resting phase). There is nothing to worry as these hair usually come back 3-4 months after surgery.

India Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Shock loss

As the hair transplant surgeon is making room in the recipient area, there may be some loss of the non transplanted or the native hair in the process. This temporary loss of native hair is called shock loss

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Hair Transplant: What Is Shock Loss?

Shock Hair Loss (shock loss) is a real phenomena that should be spoken about before you undergo a hair transplant. While it is a rare occurrence across the board in all hair restorations, it occurs in approximately 5% of all cases. But what is it and what causes it?

Shock loss is where there is a loss of natural hair whether it is from the donor area or the recipient area AFTER a hair restoration. Shock hair loss is not specific to any one procedure because we have seen it in the donor area in both FUE and FUT surgeries. More commonly it occurs in the recipient area. The cause of shock loss is normally from trauma. The trauma can be physical, chemical, or both.
Below is a link to to a more in depth explanation and picture examples.

William Woessner, MD
New Orleans Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews


Shock loss is when your non-transplanted hairs are "shocked" from the surgery and it falls out.  If these hairs are genetically susceptible to genetic hair loss, then the hair loss is likely permanent. 

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Shock loss after a hair transplant - what does this mean?

When hairs are moved from the back of the scalp into the front of the scalp, a proportion of the existing hairs in the front may sometimes be shed. This phenomenon is called ‘shock loss.’  Shock loss occurs 2-3 months after the procedure. 

The hairs that were shed will usually regrow and so shock loss is usually a temporary phenomenon. However, if a given patient has a lot of small fine "miniaturized" hairs in the scalp, then sometimes these hairs don't fully regrow after an episode of shock loss. They are simply too thin and weak to pop back up again. But most hairs do regrow after shock loss. 

It is not fully understood why shock loss occurs, but it may be due to changes in blood supply.   The chances of shock loss may differ from surgeon to surgeon and techniques used during the surgery. In general, shock loss is more likely for women than men and more likely with larger hair transplant cases than smaller cases.

Hair Transplant: What Is Shock Loss?

The “Organic Hair Transplantation” method is a novel development in modern hair transplantation surgery practice which was developed with the efforts of our research and development department. Now; our successful hair transplantation results has evolved to a new era thanks to the “Organic Hair Transplantation” method. We can consider this new method as a revolutionary development.

“Organic Hair Transplantation” is based on injection of a mixture containing adipose derived stem cells obtained from own fat tissue of the patient to the scalp of the patient. The recipient area gets rejuvenated and the viability of transplanted grafts is increased with the effects of adipose derived stem cell injection. The injection of adipose derived stem cells also provides a better work area for the surgeon.

Loss of hair is a natural process when it is between the limits that the body can restore them

What is shock loss?

In terms of hair restoration, shock-loss refers to the shedding non-transplanted hair. This phenomenon is usually temporary, but in some cases may be permanent as well. The best prevention for this is for the patient go under Finasteride treatment. 

Koray Erdogan, MD
Istanbul Hair Restoration Surgeon

What is shock loss

Shedding after a hair transplant while on the drug propecia is unusual. I doubt it is coming from the drug, but rather an acceleration of your normal hair loss process. If the shedding is in the transplanted area, the new grafts, when they grow, will off set it. If the shedding is from all over the front and top of the head it sounds like shock loss which usually accelerates the hair loss that you might have seen two years after a hair transplant had you not been on the drug.

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Hair Transplant: What Is Shock Loss?

This is traumatic loss of some of the non-transplanted hair in and around the area of the transplant. If it happens, then it is most common in the recipient area, but can also occur on occasion in and around the site of the donor area at the back.
I think there are two reasons for this shock loss. One is mechanical from the action of the surgery tools especially when trying to transplant amongst a significant number of existing hair. The solution is either to work with reasonably high magnification to clearly see the gaps, or to avoid transplanting amongst hairs where there isn't sufficient gaps in between i.e. the hair loss is not bad enough.
The second reason this happens is what I call chemical either because the local blood supply is being affected, or the body's inflammatory reaction to the surgery. The body views the operation as trauma and tries to repair the damage by attracting various cells and factors to the area, and this could affect the existing weaker hairs. 
If the hairs that get 'shocked' are meant to be permanent, then they will grow back in a few months' time. If they are affected by the genetic hair loss process and happen to be on their last cycle anyway, then clearly they will not grow back
Going on hair maintainence medications such as Propecia or Regaine prior to hair transplant surgery has the potential to reduce the effect of shock loss. Generally speaking women are more vulnerable to this process than men

Bessam Farjo, MBChB
Manchester Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

What Is Shock Loss

Shock loss is when the patient’s original and native hair falls out shortly after the hair transplant procedure. This is due to the extremely sensitive nature of their hair follicles. They experience trauma as a result of the invasive nature of the surgery.
And their hair will fall out as a result creating areas of very low, sparse density.

The hair follicles will enter a resting phase known as telogen effluvium.

The tendency to experience shock loss will be different from person to person. Again, this has to do with how sensitive their hair follicles are.

If shock loss is a concern, a possible course of action may be to have the surgeon perform a preliminary test to extract and insert hair follicle grafts in small, discrete regions to observe what the effects will be.

Patients who experience diffuse hair loss and wish to improve their hair density through a hair transplant tend to have a greater risk of experiencing shock loss.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.