Unfortunately, patients often report bumping their heads after a hair transplant. Since the transplanted grafts don’t firmly anchor to the scalp for some time after surgery, it is worrisome. You can end up displacing the grafts in such a way that they aren’t able to get sufficient oxygen and nutrients needed for growth. Their complete extrusion is another scenario.
In both of these cases, the overall hair density will decrease, which will affect the results of the surgery. Therefore, it is important to have an understanding of problematic bumps. In addition, you should be aware of the situations in which you can find yourself dealing with a bumped head after a hair transplant.
Bumped Head After The Hair Transplant: Are the Grafts Okay?
1-3 days after the hair transplant, the grafts are most delicate and haven’t taken root yet. During this time, the surgeon would recommend you not even touch your scalp using your fingertips. That’s because you can end up dislodging the grafts.
After the surgery, blood clots form around the grafts, and each day the skin heals a little more. As it does so, it gets harder for the graft to move around because it’s being secured in place by the formation of new skin tissue.
But this process needs time. On the day of the surgery or 1-3 days after, the grafts don’t have anything to stick to because the wounds are still wide open. Therefore, it’s really easy for the grafts to come out.
So, in the case you have bumped your head after a hair transplant and are bleeding, it is quite likely that you have knocked out the grafts from the impact area. Even if you don’t notice any bleeding, trauma can mean permanent damage to the grafts. One of the worst-case scenarios is internal bleeding (hematoma).
If the injury was bad enough to demand stitches, you will have to wait for the skin to heal before coming in for revision surgery. Even then, the surgeon will assess the skin for scarring before determining your suitability for the procedure.
Factors Affecting Extent of Injury
The extent of damage can vary depending on:
- The force with which you hit your head – the greater the force, the deeper the skin damage is going to be.
- The surface with which the scalp made contact – if it’s too rough and abrasive, you can expect more damage.
- The sides of the head – the sides of the head are curvier than the top, which is flatter. Therefore, if you bump the sides, the surface area in contact with the object will be less, so it won’t affect many grafts. However, if it’s the top, you’ll end up losing more grafts.
Here, you also need to keep in mind that soon after the surgery, the grafts enter a dormant phase due to the “shock” of the surgery. That means that they won’t be growing hair for a few months, anyway.
Therefore, it becomes hard to differentiate between dormant grafts and dead grafts (unless they’ve clearly come out). That makes it difficult to predict the true extent of the damage for a few months. Not just that, but if the bump was too severe, deep skin trauma can also affect the final results of the surgery.
Bumped Head Months After Hair Transplant: Is That Worrisome?
Normal bumping of the head months after the surgery should not be a problem. Your hair growth will continue to take place. By that time, your transplanted grafts are as stable as the hair in the donor area. If the trauma you’ve experienced is too severe, such as an accident, this wouldn’t be the case.
Common Causes of Bumping Head After A Hair Transplant
It’s best if you are aware of the situations in which people usually end up bumping their heads right after the transplant. These are as follows:
It’s very common for patients to end up bumping their heads against the taxi while they’re getting out of it. And it happens on the day of their check-up appointments. Some people also bump their heads on their way out as they get into the car. If they just slightly bumped their head after the hair transplant, the grafts won’t have incurred as much damage.
However, fortunately, in this case, the proximity of the patient to the surgeon puts them at an advantage. The chances of the knocked-out grafts surviving are going to be very high because they won’t have dried out or died yet without the supply of blood.
Because this is a problem that many people experience, you should take note and try to be more careful. It’s best if you take things slow and easy. If you’re moving around too fast, you might end up bumping your head into someone around a blind corner. So, make a conscious effort to avoid it.
Swelling is a common side effect of hair transplant surgery. Almost all the people who get this surgery experience it. It affects the scalp and, sometimes, even the face. Because of the swelling, the size of the head increases slightly. Therefore, the person doesn’t have a correct “idea or feel” of its edges.
Because the person has an incorrect estimate of the distance between the scalp and another surface, they can end up bumping their head after the surgery. And one of the most problematic aspects of this scenario is that they may not even realise that this has happened.
That’s because numbness is another side effect of a hair transplant, which can last for more than a few months. Not just that, swelling itself can cause numbness because of the pressure on the nerves. Therefore, people can’t feel the skin of their scalp. This, too, should be kept in mind so that you are more careful.
You are also more likely to bump your head while you are sleeping. That’s why you’re advised to sleep with your head elevated at an angle of 45 degrees. Since the fabric of the pillows can also snag the grafts, you need to put it under your neck or below the donor area.
If you have bumped your head after a hair transplant while sleeping, you’ll quite likely permanently damage the hair grafts. That’s because about the time you realise that it has happened, many hours would have passed. The grafts were left without oxygen and nutrients for too long to be able to survive. Therefore, again, be careful even when you’re not conscious.
What To Do After You’ve Bumped Head After A Hair Transplant?
It’s important that you do the following if you find yourself in this situation.
Don’t Touch Your Scalp
On your own, you should not do anything to your scalp after you’ve bumped it. You’re strongly advised against touching your scalp or wiping any blood off of it with a paper towel, tissue paper or anything. You can’t take the grafts and put them back into the incisions. If the grafts survive, your doctor will put them in place using specialised, sterilised tools.
The damaged grafts will come off your scalp when you’re going to wash it the next time. If you can’t visit the clinic, make sure to get in touch with Aftercare support immediately.
Come to the Clinic
If you’re bleeding, it’s ever more important that you come to the clinic for a checkup. During the appointment, the surgeon will first clean the scalp using an isotonic solution. This is used to remove any blood clots so that the surgeon can see where the damage is and how much.
Afterwards, the dislodged grafts (alive) that are still sticking to the skin of the patient are taken and inserted back into the incisions. However, in this case, it cannot be promised that you’ll see the desired density in the damaged area.
In some cases, the surgeon takes the graft from the “unaffected areas” and places them in the area where the patient bumped their head. This is done so that they don’t have patchy hair growth with bald patches. It becomes noticeable once the person starts growing their hair.
So, it’s best not to wait. Get to the clinic as soon as possible. Because there might be a chance that your grafts can still survive.
Bumping your head after a hair transplant is a cause for concern. This is especially so if it has happened right after the surgery or a few days later. That’s because the skin around the hair grafts hasn’t yet healed, so they’re not anchored in place. The slightest of pressure or force can end up dislodging them.
The number of grafts you lose depends on the extent of skin injury, the surface with which you collide and the side of the head. It is difficult to make accurate predictions because some grafts may die because of trauma while they’re still stuck in the scalp.
It is important to be aware of the situations in which you may bump your head. Then you will be able to avoid them or be careful. In addition, you must stick to the aftercare instructions for good results. In any case, if you find yourself in this situation, do not intervene. Get in touch with your doctor or get to the clinic immediately.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.