Post-surgery hair loss is most commonly caused by telogen effluvium (TE), a condition that’s triggered by a disruption of your normal hair follicle cycling.
Normally, you lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day. However, sometimes certain health events, such as surgeries or underlying medical conditions, can cause hair follicles to not produce hairs as they should.
The good news is, while hair loss after surgery is possible, it’s usually temporary. If you’re concerned about hair loss after your operation, talk with your doctor about the possible risk factors and treatment options.
In a typical hair cycle, your follicles go through a growth process that lasts for a few years at a time. Hair follicles don’t continuously produce new hairs — they cycle through resting phases known as telogens.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, it’s estimated that 10 to 20 percent of your hair follicles are in a telogen state at any given time.
If the proportion of telogen hairs is greater than 20 percent, it’s an indication of telogen effluvium, one of the most common forms of hair loss.
Surgery can sometimes put your hair follicles in a longer resting state than normal. Rather than large bald spots associated with alopecia areata, you’re more likely to see progressively thinner hair as a result of TE.
Surgery may cause TE-related hair loss in the following ways:
Surgery is considered an invasive process, which can put your body — and your mind — under a lot of stress.
According to the American Skin Association, hair loss after a major stressful event of this nature is most likely to occur within 3 to 6 months.
Your body needs certain nutrients for hair growth, such as:
A stressful event, like surgery, may cause your body to divert these nutrients away from your vital organs. This can lead to hair thinning and TE.
According to a 2012 research review, while not common, this type of hair loss occurs from your head being in one position for several hours at a time. This can cut blood flow to your hair follicles.
Positional alopecia isn’t as common in short procedures because your head isn’t in one spot for too long.
The same research review above showed that this type of hair loss has been reported most commonly in cardiac surgeries.
Positional alopecia is also possible after extensive reconstructive surgeries, due to the length of time spent laying in one position.
According to Larry S. Nichter, MD, FACS, a board …….