In a hair transplant, a surgeon harvests hair follicles from one section of your scalp and transplants them to balding portions of your scalp. Male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness are best treated with hair transplants. Hair transplants are generally considered to be a safe treatment, however there is always some risk involved with any surgical procedure. One possible hazard is an infection. Nevertheless, these complications are extremely rare and affect less than one percent of those who have hair transplants. In this article, we would be explaining some of the symptoms, causes, risks and ways to avoid these infections.
Symptoms of a hair transplant infection
As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection if bacteria invade exposed wounds. Your immune system can immediately target germs because of the extensive blood vascular network in your scalp. Patients often endure bleeding, swelling, and itching after a hair transplant. As a result, an infection could develop right beneath your nose and go undetected for some time. However, the following are also indications of infection: These symptoms of a hair transplant infection can include:
- pus-filled abscess
- redness or discoloration
- oozing pus
It is common for there to be some bleeding and swelling. However, if your symptoms worsen instead of improving, or if they last more than a week, it is possible that you are dealing with an infection. The systemic effects of infections can include, but aren’t limited to:
- swollen lymph nodes
What Can Trigger An Infection After A Hair Transplant?
Infections can occur as a result of the introduction of microorganisms or pathogens into your body during surgery or the healing process. The risk of infection following a hair plug surgery can be increased if the patient has difficulty adhering to cleanliness guidelines or fails to follow aftercare instructions. Keeping wounds clean and washing hair on a regular basis will help keep you healthier and less likely to get infected.
A hair transplant infection can also be caused by excessive crust formation. A normal part of healing is the formation of scar tissue. Itching can be caused by excessive crust formation, according to a recent study. If you scratch at your scalp, you risk removing the scabs and spreading bacteria from your fingers.
Also, hair transplant infection might be brought on by underlying medical disorders. Infections are more likely to occur if a patient have underlying immune system disorders that make the body less able to fight infection. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking as well as extreme obesity and malnourishment. More so, HIV and cancer are among illnesses that weaken the immune system.
Risks of a hair transplant infection
There are two types of hair transplant operations that are commonly performed: follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). During FUT, the doctor removes a strip of skin from the back of the scalp and stitches it back together. Individual follicles of hair or tiny rows of hair are harvested from this strip and transplanted to the new part of the body. At the time of the FUE procedure, the doctor makes small punches in the skin to remove individual hair follicles from the donor area, which they subsequently transplant to the new area.
With FUT, there is a chance of infection, whereas with FUE, there is nearly no risk of infection. Other concerns that might occur with FUE include keloid or hypertrophic scars, epithelial cysts, and overharvesting of the skin (removing too much hair from the donor site). Overharvesting can cause lasting injury to the donor area, as well as hair loss in the recipient area.
Hair Transplant Infection Treatment
The scalp has a high blood flow rate, which helps to fight infection and aids in healing when an injury occurs. However, there may be issues that arise. Treatment options may include:
- shampooing twice daily
- exfoliation with warm compresses
How to avoid hair transplant infection?
In order to avoid infection, it is essential that you follow the aftercare recommendations exactly. Infections in the scalp are extremely rare, according to a 2014 study, because the scalp has a high blood flow. This aids in the process of recovery. The most common causes of infections include poor hygiene, the formation of crusts, or previous medical risk factors. As a preventative measure, a person should do the following:
- wash their hair and scalp according to the surgeon’s directions;
- take drugs exactly as prescribed by their doctor; and
- keep to all scheduled appointments.
Typical hair transplant healing time
The length of time it takes for a hair transplant to heal will be determined by the complexity of the procedure. Within a day or so, the bandages will usually come off. Within two days, it may be permissible to wash one’s hair. The stitches may need to be removed after 1 week to 10 days.
For at least three weeks after receiving a hair transplant, recipients should refrain from engaging in strenuous physical activity. This is due to the fact that these types of movements have the ability to increase blood flow to the scalp, resulting in possible bleeding. Checkups with a doctor may be necessary during the first few weeks following surgery to ensure that everything is going well.
How Can You Prevent Hair Transplant Infection?
Despite the fact that a hair transplant infection is quite rare, here are some things to keep in mind:
Keep Your Scalp Clean
Washing instructions given to you by your surgeon must be followed, especially the lotion and shampoo recommendations. That’s not the only thing you should keep in mind, though. It is in your best interest to keep the area clean.
After the hair transplant, you will be given antibiotics for at least four days and given a dose during the surgery. This provides additional safety.
Do Not Touch the Donor and Recipient Areas
Given that your scalp will be covered in microscopic sores for a long period of time following the procedure, you should avoid touching it at all times. Normally, our hands are soiled and contaminated with microorganisms. The muck will be transferred to your scalp if you touch it. When you do need to touch something, make sure your hands are completely clean and sterile.
Itching is a common side effect of hair transplant surgery, as previously discussed. If you do have itching, try to refrain from scratching your head. It has the potential to dislodge grafts and become a source of hair transplant donor area infection as well as recipient area infection.
Additionally, you should avoid picking or removing any scabs. The lotion offered will soften the skin while also allowing the scabs to be washed away with water. It is not necessary for you to attempt to eliminate them on your own. Not only can this result in bleeding, but it can also cause the healing process to be slowed.
Attend All the Follow-Up Appointments
In the course of follow-up sessions, your surgeon will be able to check the scalp for signs of a hair transplant infection. Make sure you don’t miss out on them. During the healing process, you will be required to send images of your scalp on a regular basis. Having this information will allow your surgeon to keep an eye out for any signs of infection.
Avoid Smoking and Drinking
Smoking, drinking, or taking recreational drugs will be prohibited before the procedure. You should avoid these even after the procedure because they can slow down the healing process. As a result of these factors, infections may be more likely.
Avoid Dusty Places
Immediately following the treatment, a patient who has undergone hair transplantation surgery can return to work. If you work in a physically demanding job or have a medical condition, you may need more rest than others. For two weeks, stay away from the workplace if you’re at risk of being exposed to dirt and bacteria.
Also, refrain from doing any daily duties that expose you to dirt for a period of two weeks. Contact your doctor immediately if you see any redness, swelling, or pain in the region of the treatment.
Do Not Do Any Exercise
Resuming workouts at the gym is not recommended until one month has passed. You should avoid any physical activity that causes you to overwork your body and cause you to sweat. A scalp infection is more likely to occur if you sweat a lot. As a result, you must avoid the sun and all forms of sexual activity.
Choose the Right Clinic
Taking precautions and carefully following aftercare guidelines can help you avoid some of the more common causes of post-transplant infection. However, a clean hospital environment is essential to a successful surgical procedure. Check out the operating room at the hospital you choose. Make sure you are comfortable with the surgeons and the equipment they use. Hair transplant infections can be avoided by doing so. The risk of a hair transplant infection might be increased by dirty instruments, a lack of sufficient personal protective equipment, or contaminated surfaces. Infected follicles are common after a botched hair transplant procedure. Selecting a reputable medical facility for your procedure is so critical. The health of yourself and your family should not be jeopardised by a hair transplant that is too cheap.
A possible risk of hair transplants is infection, however it is quite rare. You should always call your doctor if you notice an infection developing, even if it isn’t life-threatening. They’ll probably prescribe antibiotics and drain the pus, but that’s not a guarantee. Following your surgeon’s pre- and post-care recommendations and avoiding touching your open wounds will help reduce your risk of infection.