Can Smoking may Affect Hair Transplant Results?
Once you have decided to undergo hair transplant surgery, you will of course want to maximise the chances of its success. To help you achieve the best possible results you may need to avoid certain activities, such as smoking, before and after surgery. So how soon after a hair transplant can you smoke?
When can you smoke cigarettes after hair transplant?
As a minimum, you should refrain from smoking for at least 10 days prior to your hair transplant and for two weeks after. In an ideal world we would like to see patients quit smoking completely. However, if this is not feasible then we advise patients to stop smoking as soon as possible before their surgery, and to continue to avoid cigarettes for as long as possible after their treatment, in order to maximise the chances of success.
There are two main surgical methods for transplanting hair – these are known as Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT or Strip) and Follicular Unit Excision/Extraction (FUE). Although there are differences between the two techniques, both involve taking healthy hair follicles from a donor area of the scalp and then implanting the grafts into the areas affected by hair loss.
Why is smoking prohibited after a hair transplant?
Whether you opt for FUT or FUE surgery, we understand that a hair transplant represents a major personal and financial investment for many clients. Having made this commitment, naturally you will want to do everything you can to increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome.
This includes quitting smoking in the weeks surrounding your treatment.
Because smoking may jeopardise the success of a hair transplant, and prolong the healing and recovery process.
What are the effects of smoking on hair transplant success rates?
While the adverse effects of smoking are widely acknowledged, many people are unaware of the direct impact that smoking can have on the health of our hair. Here are some of the ways smoking can negatively affect the hair transplant process.
Constriction of blood vessels – We know that tobacco smoke causes the body’s blood vessels to constrict and harden. Consequently, less blood is able to reach the scalp, threatening the survival of any newly-implanted hair grafts. To give these fragile grafts the best possible chance of good growth, we would like to see the maximum amount of blood and nutrients getting to the hair transplant site.
Longer healing time – Smoking can also lead to a more prolonged recovery time following surgery. This is because the chemicals contained in cigarettes impede the blood’s ability to carry oxygen around the body. With less oxygen getting to the hair transplant area, it may take longer for the surgical incisions to heal. A lengthy recovery period puts patients at greater risk of infection and poor scarring.
Poor hair growth – The reduced blood flow to a smoker’s scalp can impede the growth of newly-implanted hair grafts. This is because the scalp is receiving less oxygen and fewer essential nutrients necessary for healing and graft survival.
Should I stop smoking before hair transplant surgery?
If you are a smoker, Dr Edward Ball and the team will discuss this with you and make recommendations to help increase your chances of a successful hair transplant. Unlike many other clinics, we promise not to promise the impossible and we will always be honest and realistic about the results that you are likely to see.
When it comes to smoking, we normally advise patients to quit several months before their surgery. This allows more time for essential blood, oxygen and nutrients to reach the scalp area. However, we understand that every patient is unique and for some people this may not be possible. In this case, we recommend that you stop smoking as early as you can before your treatment. As a minimum, we suggest that you avoid cigarettes for one to two weeks before surgery.
When can I start smoking after a hair transplant?
Once your surgery is complete, you may be tempted to reach for the cigarettes to celebrate the next exciting phase in your hair restoration journey. However, smoking immediately after a hair transplant could put the success of the whole procedure at risk.
As we have already discussed, the chemicals contained in cigarettes can threaten the survival of the implanted grafts and prolong the post-operative recovery period.
It is for this reason that we advise patients to avoid smoking for as long as possible after their surgery. As a minimum, we recommend that you do not smoke for around two weeks following your treatment.