To perform an important surgery, the patient’s body must be anesthetized partially or as a whole. Hence, it will be ensured that the patient does not feel any pain during the surgery and it is performed smoothly. Therefore, anesthesia is applied to the patient. It is stated that anesthetics that significantly affect the nervous system may be less associated with hair growth. So, does anesthesia cause hair loss? The adverse effects of anesthesia on hair and all their solution methods are in our article.
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Definition of General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is a medication or a combination of medications applied as a result of which the patient does not feel any pain during the surgery. With this procedure, the patient experiences a deep sleep-type situation and thus almost sleeps during the surgery.
General anesthesia is applied to patients who have heart surgery, organ transplantation, or who have to use a heart-liver machine. Anesthetic effects are not usually considered before the surgery. However, these effects become apparent after the surgery. Whether there are hair-related effects among these has been a matter of concern.
Does Anesthesia Affect Your Hair?
An important part of hair loss is experienced due to genetic reasons. However, it would not be right to relate all losses to genetic factors. Stress, diseases, and similar reasons can also be the cause of losses. Anesthesia may also be among these reasons.
Hair has a unique growth cycle. According to this cycle, approximately 10-20% of the hair is in the telogen, that is, the resting phase. In this phase, the hair follicles rest and do not produce hair strands. With the effect of anesthesia, the duration hair stays in the telogen phase may increase or more hair follicles may pass into this phase. This condition is called telogen effluvium.
This situation, which is caused by anesthesia, is usually temporary. Most patients’ hair heals without any treatment. In some, the problem is resolved with hormone therapy or different treatments. If it continues after anesthesia, it means anesthesia is usually not the cause of the problem. Experiencing such a problem due to genetic and similar reasons is very likely.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
Losing 50-100 strands of hair a day is considered normal. When this amount is higher, we can talk about hair loss. Telogen effluvium is the sudden loss of hair. In such a case, hair spots appear in certain areas of the scalp. In severe cases of telogen effluvium, patients may have handfuls of hair in their hands.
There are different causes of this condition, including anesthesia. Stress, side effects of some medications, and surgery are some of the important reasons. Therefore, in some cases, it is not impossible to determine the exact cause of hair loss, but it can be quite difficult.
A person who had surgery may experience such a hair loss due to the stress of the surgery or anesthesia. It is difficult to say that there is an agreement among experts about this point. While some experts state that anesthesia can cause telogen effluvium, others state that anesthesia prevents this problem because it reduces the stress of surgery.
Although there is no consensus on this issue, telogen effluvium is temporary to a large extent. However, it is also important to determine the reason correctly and to apply the appropriate solutions.
In losses caused by telogen effluvium, a sudden loss usually occurs a few months after the anesthesia. These losses generally occur in a scattered way, and accordingly, your hair loses its volume and looks thin.
In bright light or when your hair is wet, the gap between them becomes more visible.
After the event that caused this situation, your hair first goes into the resting phase. Losses occur later.
In the growth cycle, the follicles enter the anagen phase and the new hair strands cause the old ones to fall out. As a result of this, a sudden thinning occurs.
What Do Experts Say About It?
A number of experts argue that some surgeries take a long time and that there may be a relation between hair loss and anesthesia.
The long duration of the surgeries causes the patients to stay under anesthesia longer. Thus, cell division slows down and telogen effluvium occurs. The fact that the cell division slows down can cause the production of new hairs to decelerate. This view has not been scientifically proven, but this is the general opinion.
It is stated that the type of anesthetics used is also effective. It has been detected that hypotensive anesthesia used especially in maxillofacial surgeries may cause this problem and increase the risks even further.
Although it is known that hypotensive anesthesia is not tolerated by all patients, it is still used in certain areas such as dental surgery. The reason for its use is the effect of reducing blood loss.
Experts state that the operation area is also important here. It is stated that the risks of operations performed in areas close to the scalp are higher. Head and neck surgeries are the main surgeries that cause this risk.
How to Prevent Hair Loss after Anesthesia?
Telogen effluvium is a temporary problem and most of the time it is resolved without having any treatment. However, in some cases, treatment may be required to eliminate the problem. In such situations, the cause of the problem should be determined first and the necessary treatments should be applied. Then, the hair grows back and reaches its previous thickness.
Since the cause of telogen effluvium is not DHT, hormonal drugs such as Finasteride are not effective. Instead, combinations of lengthening medications such as minoxidil and good hair care treatments can be preferred. The effective treatment methods applied are:
You should make sure that minerals and vitamins, which are of great importance for hair health, are included in your diet. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, and lean proteins must be present in your diet during this period.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Minoxidil” color=”peacoc” custom_font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:25|text_align:left|color:%230baabc” custom_google_fonts=”font_family:Anton%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” custom_css_animation=”fadeInDown” use_custom_heading=”true”]Minoxidil is a topical drug and it stimulates the growth of follicles. When it is used during this period, it can have positive effects and shorten the healing process. It helps the follicles that are in the telogen phase to pass to the anagen phase. Besides, it accelerates the blood flow in the scalp and thus ensures more effective nourishment of the hair.
Minoxidil use is extremely easy. It is applied directly to the scalp. Using this drug in liquid or foam form according to the doctor’s instructions can help you overcome the problem of telogen effluvium. It is not recommended to use without the knowledge of your doctor. Please bear in mind that it is only your doctor who can give the best advice specific to your situation!
Anesthesia and Hair Loss
Although some experts and patients believe or state that there is a relationship between anesthesia and hair loss, this has not been scientifically proven yet. Therefore, it should be known that there is no certainty here. However, if anesthesia has such an effect, it should not be forgotten that long operations pose a greater risk for hair loss.
Some studies show that anesthetics slow down cell division and push follicles into the resting phase. These results of a limited number of studies are usually temporary. Patients’ hair returns to its original state in a short time.
It is known that many diseases and hundreds of drugs used are associated with hair loss. Therefore, it should not be forgotten that the problem may have different reasons. Some of the major reasons may be:
Positional alopecia may occur due to keeping the head in the same position for a long time. This adversely affects the blood flow to the follicles. Prolonged surgeries can be given as an example of this. However, this situation is also temporary.
Read Also: How Long After Hair Transplant Are Grafts Secure?
Schedule a Consultation
It has not been proven whether anesthesia causes hair loss or not. It would not be right to directly relate the loss to the anesthesia. It should be noted that losses may have different causes. If you cannot identify the cause of the loss or stop it, you can contact our clinic.
With the effective treatments to be applied by our specialist doctors, you will overcome this problem in a short time. If you have thinning or bald areas in your hair as a result of hair loss, we can also help you eliminate this problem with hair transplantation. You can contact us for more detailed information on the subject.
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