The Impact Of Smoking On A Hair Transplant
It is well recognised that smoking and the effects of tobacco are harmful for the body. In almost every area, tobacco smoke is proven to have a negative health effect, including:
- Mood and emotional wellbeing
- Immune system
- Blood & clotting
This guide aims to help smokers understand the effect tobacco and nicotine can have on their chances of a successful hair transplant, including after FUE hair transplant, as well as their overall health.
Smoking & Surgery
Chemicals in tobacco are harmful to your blood cells. Nicotine causes the blood vessels in the body to harden and constrict, as a result of a plaque that builds up in your arteries or vessels from smoking. This restricts the oxygen that can travel to all your internal organs. This process can also be applied for anaesthesia. Essentially, a smoker’s body is less likely to be able to move the anaesthetic around the body and it can cause complications in surgery.
Medical authorities in the UK recommend quitting smoking at least a week before any surgical procedure. Even this short amount of time can reduce the risk of potential complications, even with the safest of procedures. Additionally, chemicals in cigarettes cause the blood to change consistency and it becomes thicker. This increases the chance of blood clots in general, but this is particularly risky for surgeries as proper clotting is required to stop the bleeding, without impairing the incision site. Moreover, for serious surgeries, abnormal blood clot can cause serious health problems.
Smoking Before Hair Transplant
Although hair transplants are safe and non-invasive surgery, it is still imperative that the patient’s health is evaluated, and all precautions are taken to minimise risk. At Longevita, we request our patients stop smoking at least a week before their planned treatment. Hair transplant recovery can be vastly improved and the overall success of the surgery can change dramatically. Without smoking, after FUE hair transplant, a patient’s donor and transplant area can heal much quicker and the re-growth could come through better and healthier.
One of the most important reasons to quit smoking before surgery is to prevent excess bleeding. It is natural to bleed during and after the FUE hair transplant and other transplant techniques. This will be monitored by the surgeon and re-evaluated the morning after your hair transplant in a consultation. However, smoking can cause a patient to over-bleed or clot too quickly.
Smoking After Hair Transplant
Longevita ask that smoking after a hair transplant is kept to a minimum, instructing all patients to avoid smoking for two weeks after FUE hair transplant and other procedures.
The two weeks following your procedure are the most sensitive during hair transplant recovery process. Therefore, smoking after a hair transplant can continue to impact the success of the procedure. As above, smoking impacts the body’s immune system and a smoker will typically take longer to recover from hair transplant when compared to a non-smoker. Additionally, smokers are at a greater risk of contracting post-surgery infections.
Recent studies also indicate that smoking increases the chances of necrosis or skin death. In severe cases, this can cause hair transplant to fail as the follicles become permanently damaged. Smoking is also linked to hypertrophic scarring. This is just a type of hyperactive scarring, but it can make scars appear more prominently after FUE hair transplant and FUT.
Smoker Vs Non-Smoker Hair Transplant Recovery Process
Experienced surgeons at Longevita take every care to achieve a successful hair transplant. The hair transplant recovery guidelines will be provided to patients and explained at consultations to maximise the chances for success and the desired look. However, surgeons do note a difference in smoker and non-smoker’s hair transplant recovery processes. Even if all pre and post-operative processes go smoothly, the smoking patients experience issues with numbing, bleeding and healing.
For more advice on smoking after a hair transplant and for comprehensive information on how to maximise the success of your hair transplant, get in touch with Longevita. Book a consultation to speak to one of our UK-based experts. Please also note, after FUE hair transplant and all other techniques, patients are provided with a 12-month aftercare support team. This means they can contact medical professionals throughout the whole hair transplant recovery and regrowth period with any questions or queries.