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Scalp Necrosis After Hair Transplant - Understanding The Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Options

scalp necrosis

Author: Dr. Jangid  |  Date Published: April 27, 2023

Hair transplantation is a popular cosmetic procedure that aims to restore hair growth in individuals experiencing hair loss. While most hair transplant procedures are successful, like any surgical procedure, there can be potential complications. One such complication that may arise after a hair transplant is scalp necrosis.

Scalp Necrosis: What Is It?

Scalp necrosis refers to the death of tissue in the scalp, which can occur due to a lack of blood supply. It can result in the affected tissue becoming dark, discoloured, and eventually, necrotic or dead. Scalp necrosis after a hair transplant is a rare but severe complication that can significantly affect the patient's recovery and outcome.

Causes Of Scalp Necrosis After Hair Transplant

There are several potential causes of scalp necrosis after a hair transplant. Some of the common causes include:

  • Poor blood supply:

  • One of the primary causes of scalp necrosis after a hair transplant is compromised blood supply to the transplanted area. During the hair transplant procedure, tiny grafts containing hair follicles are implanted into the recipient site, which requires a healthy blood supply for proper healing and survival. However, factors such as inadequate blood flow, damage to blood vessels during the surgery, or underlying medical conditions that affect blood circulation can impair the blood supply to the grafts, leading to necrosis.

  • Infection:

  • Infection can also be a contributing factor after a hair transplant. Invasive surgical procedures like hair transplantation can introduce bacteria into the scalp and, if not properly managed, can result in an infection. Infections can cause inflammation, tissue damage, and compromised blood flow, leading to necrosis.

  • Tension on the scalp:

  • Excessive tension or pressure on the scalp, tight bandages, dressings, or physical activities may strain the scalp and disrupt the blood flow to the transplanted area. It can impede the healing process and increase the risk of scalp necrosis.

causes of scalp necrosis

Scalp Necrosis Symptoms

Scalp necrosis can manifest with various symptoms, which may include:


One of the initial signs is a change in the skin colour in the transplanted area. The affected tissue may appear darker, bluish, or blackish than the surrounding healthy tissue.

Pain or discomfort:

Patients may experience pain, discomfort, or tenderness in the transplanted area, which may worsen over time. It can be a sign of compromised blood supply and tissue damage.

Delayed healing:

If the transplanted area is taking longer than usual to heal, or if there is a delay in the growth of transplanted hair, it could indicate scalp necrosis. Slow or inadequate healing can result from compromised blood flow to the grafts.

Foul odour or discharge:

In some cases, this can lead to necrotic tissue or pus forming, which may result in a foul odour or discharge from the transplanted area.

Loss of grafts:

If the hair grafts start falling off from the transplanted area, it could be a sign of poor blood supply and subsequent necrosis. It is crucial to note that necrosis after a hair transplant is a severe complication that requires prompt medical attention. If any of the above symptoms are noticed, seeking immediate medical evaluation and treatment from a qualified hair transplant specialist is important.

Scalp Necrosis Treatment

The management of scalp necrosis after a hair transplant depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying causes. Early intervention is critical to prevent further tissue damage and achieve optimal outcomes. Some of the treatment options for scalp necrosis after a hair transplant may include the following:


Topical or systemic medications may be prescribed to manage infections, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow to the affected area. Antibiotics may treat any underlying bacterial infection, while medications such as vasodilators or anti-inflammatory drugs may improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.


Debridement is a procedure that involves the removal of necrotic tissue from the affected area. It can help prevent the spread of infection, promote healing, and allow healthy tissue to regenerate. Debridement may be performed using surgical or non-surgical methods, depending on the severity of the necrosis.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT):

HBOT is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber. It can increase the oxygen levels in the blood, which promotes healing and tissue regeneration. HBOT effectively treats necrotic wounds, including scalp necrosis, after a hair transplant.

Surgical intervention:

In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required. It may involve removing the necrotic tissue, repairing damaged blood vessels, or performing a secondary hair transplant to replace lost grafts.

Prevention Of Scalp Necrosis

Prevention is always better than cure. Taking certain precautions during and after a hair transplant in Delhi can help reduce scalp necrosis risk. Some preventive measures may include:

Choosing an experienced and qualified hair transplant surgeon:

The expertise and experience of the hair transplant surgeon play a crucial role in the procedure's success and in minimizing the risk of complications. Selecting a qualified and experienced hair transplant specialist, such as Dr Jangid, who follows best practices and has a proven track record of successful hair transplant procedures, is essential.

Proper wound care:

Following the post-operative care instructions provided by the hair transplant surgeon is crucial. It may include keeping the transplanted area clean, avoiding excessive pressure or tension on the scalp, and using prescribed medications as instructed. Proper wound care can help promote healing and prevent infection or complications.

Managing underlying medical conditions:

If you have any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, it is essential to manage them effectively. Uncontrolled medical conditions can impair blood flow and increase the risk of complications, including scalp necrosis

Avoiding smoking and alcohol:

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can impair blood circulation and delay healing. It is essential to avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake before and after the hair transplant procedure to reduce the risk of complications.

Regular follow-up with the hair transplant surgeon:

Regular follow-up appointments with the hair transplant surgeon allow for close monitoring of the healing process and early detection of any potential complications. Attending all scheduled follow-up appointments and promptly reporting any unusual symptoms or concerns is important. Scalp necrosis after a hair transplant is a rare but severe complication that requires prompt medical attention.

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