Facts and Realities about Smoking and Hair Transplant Surgery

You are planning to have a hair transplant surgery and you are a smoker?  Then you need to consider facts that are of a paramount importance and think twice before doing hair transplantation.

Once you have decided to do hair transplant that apparently proves how you really do care about yourself. Since its consequences surpass the external appearance, it is not about only improving looks. It is about improving your self-image; the way you see yourself from inside, which is way too far vital. It enhances your self-confidence, self-esteem and encouraging you to go further in your social life.

All of that is just great but how about the fact that you are a smoker!  Everybody knows, even smokers themselves, that smoking is not doing any good to their health. On the other hand, it is not doing any good to your finical status. What is more, it’s not doing any good to your skin, which is the main part of the whole process of hair transplantation. Certainly, you need a healthy skin that is able to handle such a huge work.

Hair transplantation is not an overnight process. It takes months till you get the results that you have always wanted and expected. Starting from this point, you will thoroughly understand how smoking will affect this process and what kind of risks you are putting yourself at.

Smoking affects the hair transplant through three phases


Phases 1. Pre-operation: Smoking Before hair transplant surgery

At this stage, your skin needs to be in good and healthy condition, and the same applies to your blood vessels. The Cigarette is filled with harmful chemicals including nicotine, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide. AS a matter of fact nicotine works as a vasoconstrictor, which means the blood vessel walls will contract under its effect. Consequently, the blood flow will be decreased and the amount of the oxygen carried to the skin and hair will be decreased as well. Smoking also causes small vessel damage (which takes longer to reverse) which compromises blood flow. The well-known scientific fact states that oxygen is the main sources of nutrition for skin and hair. As a result by continuing to smoke is to continue causing damage to your skin and to your hair progress.  With the absence of sufficient blood supply available in the recipient area for each delicate hair graft, you yourself can predicate the surgery results.  In this case, the transplanted grafts will compete against each other striving for blood supply which is very poor. With less hair growth due to the compromised blood flow, the entire graft may not be able to survive resulting in gaps and destroying the shape that was anticipated by the surgeon. In other words, abundant blood flow means more oxygen, more oxygen means healthy skin that is ready to receive the transplanted grafts and keep them to nourish and grow again.

Due to what has stated above it is highly recommended to quit smoking at least three weeks before the operation date. By doing this you will be giving your blood the chance to get clean of nicotine and carbon monoxide, and to flow abundantly in your vessels. This means by continuing to smoke you may be wasting money and precious donor hairs needed for your transplant.


Phase 2. Operation: During hair transplant surgery


Given that you have reached this phase; that is doing the surgery, you have been told by doctors that due to its delicate nature the operation will take a long time. For other people, depending on their baldness stage, they might need more than one operation session.  Here you should know what effects smoking will have and how serious they are.

Have you taken into your consideration the anesthesia process? Unfortunately. Smoking makes anesthesia more complicated, to put it differently, Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 substances, some interfere with drug metabolism and alter its effect on the human body.

An additional effect of smoking during the operation is that there might be undue bleeding and oozing in the recipient area which leads to undesirable prolonging surgery time.  In some cases it even worse as excessive bleeding occurs. Besides, the harvested grafts may not get the chance to survive due to the long time spent waiting to for bleeding to stop and start the transplantation process.

An additional effect of smoking, the presences of nicotine and other toxic substance in the blood may cause cardiovascular problems, increasing the blood pressure and heart rate.


Phase 3. Post-Operation: smoking After  hair transplant surgery


Do you know that smokers, unlike nonsmokers, may have the risk of wound problems and increased pain after surgery?

In an undesirable way smoking in some cases affects the tissues healing process. As mentioned above the chemicals that are found in the cigarette interfere with the way in which the body handles oxygen. The oxygen amount that is carried is reduced due to exposer to a cigarette. Not to mention the small blood vessel are narrowed as well. Therefore it becomes difficult for the requested amount of hemoglobin and oxygen to reach to the tissues, where they need, and complete the healing process as usual. In other cases, inflammation has happened and further deferred the healing process, as it becomes more difficult for the body to fight off an infection after the surgery. The infection-fighting cells called neutrophils activity is limited due to cigarette Chemicals.

Current researches have shown that after surgery pain is more intensified for smokers. As the compounds of the smoke might interfere and change the pain signals reading in the brain.

For smokers who continue to smoke after the surgery, their hair follicles will not grow as planned, as some of them fall leaving density issues. Also, the infection may leave undesirable scarring that may not be hidden properly because of the density issues.

To conclude, Smoking is terribly bad for your health in general and for your hair transplantation in particular. Therefore, you must quit smoking to the adverse effects on the outcome of your surgical hair restoration.

Definitely, it is not that easy to quit, as chemicals in cigarettes affect the brain in a way that is similar to how drugs causes addition. Yet, there are still good news for you! Research have shown that if you quit smoking before hair transplant surgery your risk of complications goes down! And the same applies for after surgery complications.

Give yourself the finest chance of having a great outcome of your hair transplant and consider quitting smoking.

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