Does FUE hair transplant causes shock loss?

Does your FUE hair transplant procedure causes shock loss to existing hair? If so, is the loss permanent?

Category: FUE / CIT Hair Transplant FAQs

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Few hair restoration patients undergo shock loss, but it does happen and its frequency can reflect the surgeon. Shock loss's cause is most likely dependant on each patient's reaction to the procedure. The level of the procedure's invasiveness, however, does decide the overall level of trauma. Any physical trauma, especially sustained trauma on the scalp, can lead to shock loss.

Seasoned hair restoration professionals are wary of shock loss. A temporary problem, shock loss can create complications with future growth. Hair follicles' longevity depends on the amount of growth cycles they undergo. With balding and thinning, hair strands first begin to miniaturize, or lose its diameter, length, and pigment, and then, after further cycles, become vellus hair. If the follicle is on its last legs then shock loss can effect coverage. Hair transplant results, however, should have the same aesthetic placement and overall quality.   

There are numerous ways to minimize shock loss. FUE is less invasive than strip surgeries, or FUT, and therefore less likely to cause shock loss overall. However, there are numerous FUE variants and these range in intrusiveness.

Cole Isolation Technique (CIT®), Dr. Cole's namesake variant, is among the least invasive FUE options in the world. As such, CIT® patients are less likely to undergo shock loss at all. For this same reason, CIT® is less likely to scar. FUE has the least chance of scarring of all hair transplant methods. However, scarring depends on both the variant's intrusiveness and the skill of the surgeon.

Along with being an innovator of FUE, Dr. Cole is a globally renowned hair restoration surgeon whose own transection rate is below 3%. As such, Dr. Cole uses a number of precautions to further limit trauma. These include limiting the size of incision sites, calculating the area between transplants, and using an instrument with a small width and length.

Questions or concerns about shock loss? Please contact us and we'll be happy to talk!


No one wants shock loss. There is no way to absolutely prevent it except to avoid hair restoration surgery. Shock loss, by definition, is temporary, but it may affect your ultimate coverage potential. Every follicle has a critical number of cycles it will endure prior to undergoing miniaturization, first thinning and, later, overt baldness. Hair that undergoes shock goes through one full cycle. If that follicle has reached its critical number, it will not grow back as strong. It will not have the same diameter, length, and pigment. All three will be attenuated. Therefore, we recommend that you avoid this when possible through preventative hair treatment and good nutrition.

The best way to avoid this is to limit the density of grafts that we place. By limiting the density we produce fewer traumas. Fewer traumas reduce the risk of shock loss. Other ways to limit the trauma is to reduce the exposure of the recipient area to the toxic metabolites of ischemia reperfusion injury, limit the size of the incision site, and limit the width and length of the instrument.

In short, there are ways to reduce the probability of shock loss, but there is no method that totally eliminates its risk.


Shock loss is not a desired condition after a hair transplant. It is a result of trauma to the scalp. Shock loss does not occur in every case of FUE treatment. Limiting the density of grafts & size of the incision site, can reduce the risk of trauma & hence reduces the risk of shock loss. But there is not any way to prevent it completely.

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