Substances that threaten the success of hair transplants
Hair transplantation is an excellent method to treat definitive hair loss in men and women. The best way to ensure the success of treatment (so you don’t have awful plastic surgery) is to follow the recommendations of your surgeon and avoid the use of substances that can alter the health of your scalp and put at risk the results of hair transplantation.
It is important to keep in mind that the scalp takes a long time to fully heal and for the follicles to form their roots, therefore it is important to maintain special care of the treated area during this period. The alcohol, tobacco, drugs or other toxic substances can complicate the surgery and affect recovery after hair transplantation.
Tobacco may affect hair transplants
Tobacco contains a wide variety of substances harmful to your scalp. If you are a smoker and you plan to undergo a hair transplant, it is best to eliminate this bad habit once and for all.
Nicotine and other components of tobacco lead to disorders of blood circulation that cause excessive bleeding during the performance of hair transplantation. On the other hand, tobacco reduces blood flow to the scalp, which prevents the supply of nutrients to newly implanted follicular units, jeopardizing the success of the surgery.
Hair surgeon should inform patients that to avoid the risk of further bleeding and promote greater viability of the grafts they should avoid smoking several weeks before the surgical intervention, as smoking may affect your hair growth.
In general, smokers have a greater risk of suffering from alopecia than non-smokers. According to several studies, nicotine and other elements of tobacco significantly increase the levels of androgens in the scalp promoting an environment that favors hair loss.
A study in Taiwan that evaluated a population of more than 700 men between the ages of 40 and 90 years showed that those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day had twice the risk of suffering from alopecia than those who did not smoke.
The hair of the smokers is not only scarce but also weaker since a reduced blood flow causes that the necessary nutrients do not reach the hair follicles which diminish the vitality and elasticity of the hair.
Alcohol may affect hair transplants
The ethanol present in alcoholic beverages is capable of affecting the activity of platelets, blood cells involved in the control of bleeding and the healing of wounds. Decreasing the number of biologically active platelets increases the risk of excessive bleeding during surgery.
Like tobacco, several studies have linked excessive alcohol consumption with an increased risk of alopecia. It has been shown that alcohol is capable of producing dehydration and reducing the levels of vitamin A in the scalp, which favors hair loss. In addition, it has been shown that alcohol promotes the appearance of gray hair.
Alcohol makes it more vulnerable to pain because it reduces the effect of analgesic drugs, and increases inflammation after surgery. When alcohol interacts with some medications, loss of coordination, fainting, drowsiness, headaches, vomiting, and nausea are some of the negative impacts that are experienced.
The hair surgeon should suggest to the patient that they refrain from consuming alcohol a few weeks before the intervention.
Drugs and medicines that may affect hair transplants
As we know the consumption of illicit drugs leads to a wide range of harmful effects on the health of people, however the risk increases, even more, when they interact with the drugs used before, during and after the hair surgery. Cocaine, for example, interacts with lidocaine, a local anesthetic widely used in hair transplants, its potentiating effect on this anesthetic can be dangerous as it can lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmias.
Another factor to take into account is that drugs used for recreational purposes tend to be deposited for a long time on the scalp which can affect the healing process of the transplanted follicles.
There are certain prescription drugs that should be avoided before hair transplant surgery, such as clopidogrel, aspirin or other medicines that contain acetylsalicylic acid, since they are capable of altering the activity of platelets, hindering coagulation and prolonging the bleeding.
Herbal products that may affect hair transplants
Many herbal products can interact with prescription drugs increase the risk of excessive bleeding. In addition, some plants such as garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, sage, feverfew, and flaxseed can alter the healing of wounds.
It is very important that patients maintain good communication with your plastic surgeon who will perform the hair transplant and inform him/her about all the medications they take, whether prescription, over-the-counter or those that are herbal (natural