Why We Ask If You Smoke Or Take Medications Before Hair Transplant
Most people at some point have probably wondered why we ask you certain questions during your consultation. These are the top 3. Do you smoke? Do you drink alcoholic beverages? And do you take certain medications or natural supplements? The reason for asking these questions isn’t because we are trying to pry into your personal life or even feel the need to pass judgement on you for your life choices. The truth is, we just care about your well-being, and we just need to know these things ahead of time so that we can make the necessary preparations to ensure that your procedure goes well and the results are not compromised by any outside variables that we are unaware of.
The biggest complication that arises from all 3 of these things involves blood flow. Blood flow is probably the single most important thing involved in a hair transplant surgery. Without the proper blood flow, the transplanted hair follicles will not survive and the hairs will not grow. On the other hand, if your blood is too thin on the day of the surgery, it can lead to excessive bleeding as well as oozing or bleeding post-op. All of these will lead to an unsuccessful hair transplant and lower the take rate significantly.
It is imperative that patients be completely honest with their doctor during the consultation when they may be asked any and all questions . . . even if you feel embarrassed to admit the extent of your smoking, drug use, or drinking because you may feel that they are considered “bad habits” and the doctor will look poorly upon you and be judgemental. This is not typically the case, and in most experiences, the doctor doesn’t care one way or the other what you do in your personal life. They are just legitimately concerned with keeping you safe and healthy, so they need to know the true answer to these questions.
Here are some reasons why we ask these things:
– Tobacco smoking can cause vascular restriction and, therefore, will not allow enough blood to flow to the transplanted follicles, resulting in a failed transplant.
– Excessive drinking of alcohol (ethanol intake from beer, wine, and hard liquor) can lead to the thinning of your blood, which can cause excessive bleeding during your surgery.
– Recreational drugs such as cocaine can drastically enhance the effects of lidocaine to a dangerous level. Lidocaine is the local anaesthetic used in most hair restoration surgeries.
– Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, all herbal medications (such as fish oil, etc.), and diet pills will also cause thinning of your blood and cause excessive bleeding.
It is important not only to report these things to your doctor in full disclosure during your consultation, but if possible in any way, it is in your very best interest to do what the doctor requests after you have been informed. Most of the time this will just mean stopping or, at the very least, reducing the intake of these things for the weeks leading up to the procedure and the weeks after everything has been done. The end result will mean that you get the best possible outcome to the hair transplant that you just paid good money for.