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Mike Kaine, MD Written by Erin D. Updated on 14 Jan 2024
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Hair Transplant Side Effects

Mike Kaine, MD

This text was written according to the highest scientific standards and reviewed by medical experts. Find out more about our quality assurance.

Written by Erin D. Updated on 14 Jan 2024

Hair transplantation is one of the most effective methods against androgenetic hair loss, but it does not come without risk. The main risk patients encounter is the hair surgeon being insufficiently qualified, leading to poor surgical performance and substandard results. What are possible side effects and risks? And how can these be mitigated? Learn the best strategy in this guide.

Treatment errors

Treatment errors can be errors made during consultation and explanation prior to hair transplantation, surgical errors or aftercare errors. Most errors are either directly or indirectly attributable to the hair surgeon and therefore avoidable.

Most common complaints after a hair transplant

Even if you as a patient in the US or UK can claim recourse through the medical association or in court, such a process is laborious and the botched result of the procedure is often irreversible.

Patients who undergo hair transplantation abroad have the additional disadvantage that in the event of treatment errors they must take legal action for compensation in the respective country of the treatment instead of their home country.

After our recent hair transplant statistics 45.81% of the medihair users are willing to go abroad for the hair transplantation.

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Advice and clarification errors

There are several serious errors that can occur before the operation is performed:

  • Incorrect diagnosis: Hair transplantation as a treatment method is not suitable for every type of hair loss. Therefore, before a hair transplantation is planned, a detailed analysis of the hair situation and personal hair loss is essential. Hair restoration is typically only recommended to patient with male pattern baldness (genetic AGA).
  • Unattainable expectations: Often patients have unrealistic expectations of hair transplantation and wish for example, to regain their youthful hairline. Hair surgeons who encourage such expectations raise false hopes in the patient leading to unsatisfactory results.
  • Lack of information: The patient is insufficiently informed about the dangers and risks of hair transplantation.
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Operation error

During the operation there are many sources of errors that can lead to an undesirable result:

  • Inadequate qualification: The cause of many errors is the inadequate qualification of the attending hair surgeon and insufficient attention to medical standards. Before and after pictures, specialist titles, the number of operations and memberships in organizations with medical guidelines can be an indication of the competence of the hair surgeon or clinic.
  • Choosing the wrong method / technique: The two most common hair transplant methods FUE and FUT each have advantages and disadvantages. However, the two methods are not equally suitable for every patient. In addition, for a natural appearance, the treating hair surgeon must pay special attention to the hair color, structure and direction of growth in the removal and recipient area.
  • Improper removal: With the FUT method, an unsightly scar can develop after the removal of the skin strip if the hair surgeon does not work carefully. Also, with the FUE method, a so-called confluent scar can develop if too many hair groups per square centimeter are removed. With both methods there is a risk of scarring, which would be visible with a short hairstyle.
  • Incorrect preparation and implantation: The larger the grafts (number of individual hair follicles) and the further apart they are, the more unnatural the result and the greater the risk of a tuft-like, puppet appearance. Therefore, grafts should be made as small as possible and transplanted close together. Particularly at the hairline, there is a risk of an unnatural appearance if large groups of hair are transplanted evenly along a line, called the pearl chain effect or hair plug effect.
  • Lack of hygiene: Improper hygiene during the operation greatly increases the risk of hair transplant infection.
  • Insufficient equipment: Outdated surgical equipment increases the risk of not achieving the best possible result.
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Aftercare error

Even after hair transplantation, mistakes can be made by the hair surgeon or the patient themselves:

  • Patient mistakes: After the operation, the transplants should be treated carefully, otherwise there is a risk that they will fail again. The hair surgeon will inform you about the “Do’s and Don’ts”.
  • Hair surgeon’s error: The hair surgeon does not perform adequate follow-up examinations. The hair surgeon does not recommend hair loss medication such as minoxidil or finasteride when it is necessary in order to achieve a lasting result.


svg Our Tip

In our current hair transplant cost study, we found out that not only are there large price differences between individual providers, but also considerable differences in quality. Therefore, you should inform yourself comprehensively, in order to reduce the risks. Our experts will be happy to help and inform you about the results of the study: Request results

Negative side effects

In addition to the treatment errors that are human-induced, there are also negative side effects that neither the patient nor the hair surgeon can influence:

  • Risk of infection: As with many other operations, there is a risk of infection during hair transplantation. However, this is comparatively low, because the scalp has a strong blood circulation.
  • Bleeding: There is a possibility of bleeding after the operation due to inadvertent trauma to the scalp. This is easily treatable by applying steady pressure with gauze to the bleeding area.
  • Swellings: After the operation, swellings in the forehead and eye area can occur, but these usually disappear within a few days.
  • Itching, tension and numbness: Immediately after the operation, the patient may experience a temporary feeling of tension and numbness.
  • Scar pain: Especially with the FUT method, the wound closure can be painful for some time after the hair transplantation.
  • Crust formation: Small crusts form in the treatment area, which fall off after 14 days at the latest. Small inflammations or pimples can also occur.
  • Shock loss: In the removal area the so-called shock loss can occur. This accompaniment describes a tissue trauma in the adjacent skin area, which leads to hair loss in these areas. In most cases, this effect is only temporary.
  • Hair shedding: Shedding of hair post-operation occurs and continues for 1-6 weeks in the vast majority of patients. This is a result of the skin graft temporarily losing blood flow and is not a permanent complication.
  • Coughing or hiccupping: Although it is an extremely rare side-effect some patients have been known to have a persistent cough or hiccup for 2-3 days after the procedure. The cause of this isn’t known. However, it is temporary and doesn’t cause the patient harm.


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Where is hair transplantation possible?

There are many countries and cities which offer hair transplantations at widely varied price ranges. Therefore, you should get an overview of the offers now and compare the hair surgeons in United Kingdom, US or Turkey based on experiences of real patients, costs and treatment methods:

Is your preferred city or country not included? No problem, you can easily request an overview of all suitable offers. Would you like to learn more about hair transplantation? Then inform yourself now in our guide! And check out our Hair Transplant FAQ section for all hair transplant related questions and answers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hair transplants safe?

Is a hair transplant permanent?

Can transplanted hair fall out again?



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