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Nov 25, 2022 BlueMagic Group

Does Smoking Affect Hair Transplant Results?

According to global data, roughly 22.3% of the population smokes. Evidently, smoking impairs multiple body functions and impedes the repair of wounded tissues. Now, if we examine a hair transplant treatment performed on a person who smokes regularly, the question arises, “Does smoking affect hair transplants?”

This article concentrates on the effects of smoking on hair transplant surgery and when a person can smoke after a hair transplant

How does smoking affect surgery?

Chemicals in tobacco smoke are harmful to every part of the body including the immune system, blood, clotting, lungs, cervix, etc. It hardens the blood vessels and as a result, the oxygen is restricted and travels in the internal organs. 

This process can be applied to anesthesia. Smoking people are less likely to move anesthetic around the body and this can cause complications during the surgery. Additionally, tobacco causes changes in blood consistency and becomes thicker. 

This raises the chance of blood clot formation in general, but it is especially dangerous for surgical procedures when appropriate clotting is necessary to control bleeding without compromising the incision site.

Effects of smoking before hair transplants

It is suggested to quit smoking a week or two prior to the hair transplantation procedure. This is because–

  1. Smoking causes hair loss

Long-term smoking causes hair loss because the harmful compounds in cigarettes damage grafts and increase the likelihood of hair loss over time, mainly if there is a genetic predisposition.

  1. Smoking has a negative effect on the scalp

A healthy scalp means healthy hair. Stop smoking for good hair. Smoking prevents nutrients from reaching the scalp and reduces blood and oxygen needed to grow new hair. Smoking impairs blood flooding, which deprives grafts of nutrition.

  1. Smoking increases the risk of bleeding

Cigarettes and tobacco products increase the risk of excessive bleeding during hair transplantation. Lack of nicotine in the body causes increased bleeding during surgery, and severe bleeding prolongs the procedure.

  1. Smoking shortens the graft’s lifecycle

A significant amount of blood loss occurs during surgery, making it difficult to maintain the viability of the grafts. Smoking lowers graft stability in the scalp, hence shortening the grafts’ lifespan.

So, can an individual smoke before a hair transplant?

→ NO

One needs to stop smoking at least a week before the hair transplantation to improve the overall success of the surgery.

Effects of smoking after hair transplant

It is advisable to avoid smoking for a minimum of 7 days after the hair transplant. This is because-

  1. Smoking increases the recovery time

Nicotine narrows and stiffens the blood vessels. The body’s oxygen cycle is altered by restricted blood vessels. This inhibits the recovery process. It could be perceived as a low-quality surgery for the patient, especially if the FUE hair transplant technique required a lengthy recovery period in both the donor and transplanted locations.

  1. Smoking increases the risk of infection

Depending on the technique utilized, hair transplantation results in alterations to the scalp, while the tiny holes containing the hair roots begin to peel out during recovery. Numerous pathogens and germs are exposed to these little wounds. During this time period, smoking increases the likelihood of infection in certain regions. This threat is just too great for smokers.

  1. Smoking negatively affects new hair

Cigarettes and other tobacco products: 

  • Lengthen recovery time
  • Raise the risk of infection due to nicotine and carbon monoxide
  • Inhibit the growth of new hair following surgery
  • Show signs of hair thinning
  1. Smoking leads to an increase in scarring

Cigarettes impair the normal functioning of fibroblasts which helps to heal wounds. Fibroblasts release substances that help other cells, including fibroblasts, adhere to them. Smoke does not harm these cells, but it hinders their capacity to migrate to the injured location, thereby facilitating healing. This can also result in poor surgical scars.

So, can an individual smoke after the hair transplantation procedure?

NO

One needs to stop smoking at least a week after the hair transplantation to improve the overall success of the surgery. Even mild smoking after hair transplants may lead to the above effects.

Effective methods to quit smoking before and after the transplant procedure

Individuals having a daily dose of smoke may find it difficult to quit. Below noted are some effective methods to help individuals help stop smoking and yield better hair transplantation results.

  1. Nicotine replacement therapy

This includes the consumption of nicotine patches, gums, or nasal sprays. These therapies are safe ways for individuals of all age groups.

  1. Relaxation techniques

In most cases, tobacco smoking is chosen because it helps individuals relax. Resisting that impulse to smoke tobacco is a tough task. The most effective relaxation techniques are deep breathing, yoga, massage therapy, etc.

Final Thoughts

Patients will receive hair transplant recovery advice at consultations to increase success and the desired look. Smokers recover differently from hair transplants, according to experts at BlueMagic Group. Smokers have trouble numbing, bleeding, and healing, even if pre- and post-op go well. 

It’s your choice now, whether to smoke or not – we have informed you all!

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