What are hair transplant side effects and how long do they last?

There are a few side effects associated with the modern-day FUT transplants and FUE hair transplants, most of which are temporary. With the latest advancements and techniques coupled with a highly skilled surgeon, any more permanent in nature side effects like scarring should be kept to a minimum and be a non-issue. More on that a little later in the article. Temporary side effects can include redness, swelling, numbness/loss of sensation, itchiness, pimples, bleeding, tenderness and shock loss. Let’s take a look at some of these temporary side effects individually.

hair transplant surgery side effects


Especially noticeable in the recipient area, redness can occur and last a few weeks to a few months depending on the individual. For very fair-skinned individuals the redness will take longer to subside. For those with darker skin, the redness will not be as noticeable and resolve much quicker. When a very small incision is made in the scalp to accommodate a graft, the body’s healing process calls for blood vessels to open in the area so blood can bring oxygen and nutrients to the wound. When the skin is very pale, the contrast of the blood vessel formation and the skin can make the redness more noticeable as there is more blood closer to the surface of the skin. With the dark skin there is less contrast and therefore the redness is much less noticeable.

Swelling (Eedema)

Swelling could be one of the hair transplant side effects that may look worse than it actually is. While harmless, post-operative swelling can be an inconvenience that temporarily effects your appearance. It will usually start within 2 or 3 days of the procedure, last 2 or 3 days and be gone by about 1 week post-op. Swelling can start in the forehead and run down into the eyes and nose area and then dissipate. Swelling will vary from patient to patient and there is no way to predict to what degree it will occur. The impact of the swelling may be greater with work in the hairline and frontal zone. Swelling as a result of work in the crown will not be noticeable as the fluid will run down behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.

Numbness Or Loss Of Sensation

During a procedure small nerve endings are severed. As a result, a temporary loss of sensation in both donor and recipient areas is experienced. After a short period of time you don’t really feel the numbness but if you were to touch the areas, you might feel a little less sensation. The numbness is not usually bothersome and normal sensation usually returns in 3 to 18 months. This is mostly associated with FUT and usually within 4-6 months you’ll be relatively normal. With FUE there is less numbness in the donor area and usually does not last as long. Some patients experience inconsequential numbness that remains in a small area, but this is fairly rare.


Rarely pimples can form in the first day or two post-op and can indicate the possibility of a small surface infection. Most patients will be seen 1-2 days post-op and small steps can be taken to alleviate this if necessary. Pimples occurring later, between 2 and 5 months post op and sometimes later are usually the result of a transplanted ingrown hair trying to break through the surface of the skin. In this case if a white head forms, simply pop it to release the hair. At this stage the pimples are usually few and far between but you will likely notice a few here and there.


Blood spotting and occasional light bleeding from the donor area may occur 12 to 14 hours after a procedure. Firm constant pressure over the area for up to 20 minutes will usually be enough for the bleeding to subside if necessary. Within the first 48 hours or so if you were to bump your head in the recipient area and dislodge a graft, bleeding at that particular graft site can be more prevalent. Firm pressure is also used in this instance.

hair transplant side effects bleeding day after surgery

Day After Surgery

hair transplant side effects scabbing 3 days post op

3 Days Post Surgery

hair transplant side effects scabbing 10 days post op

10 Days Post Surgery


Sore or tender tissue in the areas involved is expected with any type of procedure or surgery. The incision in an FUT procedure is probably the most tender area initially. With FUE the same area can experience some tenderness but it tends to go away quicker. Any tenderness in the recipient area tends to be short-lived and fairly quickly resolves.

Hair transplant side effects and shock loss

There are two kinds of shock loss associated with a hair transplant procedure, temporary and permanent. While temporary shock loss is to be expected, permanent shock loss of existing hair should be avoided at all costs. Choosing the right surgeon can virtually eliminate the chance of permanent shock loss of any viable hair. When executed properly, a hair transplant procedure should not damage any of the native or existing hair that is viable and healthy. Temporary shock loss can occur when surrounding native hair falls out due to the trauma the follicle may experience as a result of a procedure. These follicles get shocked into the resting phase and the hair temporarily falls out. After a period of rest which is usually around 3 to 4 months, just as with the transplanted hair, the existing hair will start to regrow again.

Hair transplant side effects and scarring

Scarring is the only one of the hair transplant side effects we mention that is not temporary. However, in the capable hands of surgeons Hasson and Wong, scarring is usually kept to a minimum. Factors such as an individual’s healing characteristics can influence scarring but without proper skill and technique even in the best healing patients, scarring can be more prevalent than it should be. . The surgeon cannot control the healing characteristics of the individual patient. If they are less than ideal, a slightly larger scar can result. With our custom size blades and small incisions we see virtually no scarring in the recipient area. In the donor area where the grafts are extracted there is a degree of minimal scarring While there is actually more square centimeters of scar tissue with FUE, the small individual scars are spread out over a larger area making them less noticeable to see when the hair is cut short. With FUT there is one long linear scar and less actual scar tissue but because it is a line it can draw a little more attention when the hair is cut too short. We consider are donor area scarring to be the best in the industry. Examples of some of those FUT scars here: Hair Transplant Scars

hair transplant side effect scars

Hair Transplant Side Effects Summary

Perhaps the most important and exciting of the list of hair transplant side effects, of a properly executed hair transplant procedure in the hands of a capable surgeon and team, is the cosmetic benefit of the result and how it makes you feel.

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