Smoking and hair transplantation
There are many ways to do a hair transplant. At meetings, we debate about which ways are best. Donor harvest with strip methods, FUE, ARTAS. Recipient site creation with needles, blades. However, there's one thing we don't debate about: smoking is detrimental to hair transplants.
Of course lots of patients who smoke have successful hair transplants. However, a small proportion have poorer growth. Nicotine decreases blood flow to the scalp by constricting blood vessels. The ability of blood to carry oxygen is reduced on account of the carbon monoxide in the blood. These factors increase the chance of poor wound healing and increase the chance of infection, scarring and overall poor growth.
Minimal recommendations for hair transplant patients who smoke.
When it comes to stopping smoking, it's clear that the longer one abstains the better. Stopping one month before is better than one week before and two months is probably even better. The optimal times have yet to be thoroughly studied. In general, stopping smoking at least 1 week prior to hair transplant surgery and restarting no sooner than 2 weeks after the procedure provides appears to provide significant benefit.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887