What Is Shock Loss?


Shock loss is one of the most significant challenges to overcome during hair transplantation, and you’re right; it’s not something that happens overnight. In fact, if you’ve never had a hair transplant procedure before, shock loss will be a complete surprise to you if you’re not prepared.

Shock loss is the term used to describe the shedding of transplanted hair. It is a part of the healing process and may occur in the weeks following your hair transplant or days after your appointment. Sometimes, shock loss can happen months after your procedure for various reasons.

This post will look at the two types of shock loss, their causes, and what you should expect before and after they occur.

1. Your Transplanted Hairs

It is the most common shock loss you will naturally experience after a hair transplant. This hair loss is exhibited by your hairs extracted and transplanted to a different recipient area of your scalp. But why does this occur? First, it’s important to understand that the process is a natural healing phenomenon that occurs when your hairs go through stress. When it happens, your hairs go into a resting phase where they will remain for a period. Other instances where you may notice this are during pregnancy or any form of post-traumatic stress experience. The reason why this happens is due to how the human hair growth cycle functions. Your hair follows three phases; growth, rest, and shedding. And because this cycle is a single-way process, your hairs can only travel in this direction, meaning that your hair will have to go through the shedding phase before it can begin growing. So after a hair replacement procedure, you should expect your hair to go through shock, a resting phase, and a shedding that may take a couple of days to one or two months. And finally, you may have to wait another 2 to 6 months before your hair starts growing normally again.

2. Original Hairs In Your Donor Area

Although it may seem strange that you could also experience shock loss with already existing hairs in your donor area since they were neither extracted nor relocated during your hair replacement procedure. However, this is normal as we’ve seen happen quite often with our patients here at Northwestern Hair. That’s because these original hairs in your donor area also undergo stress whenever we implant new hairs into those locations. In addition, during the procedure, inflammations likely may interfere with and overwhelm the existing hairs in this area, forcing them to also go into the resting phase. And just like the newly transplanted hairs, they also have to shed in order to go back into the growth phase. So not only will you experience shock loss with the transferred hair grafts after your procedure, but also with the original hairs as well. The good news, however, is that the shedding phase — when it happens — occurs in a relatively natural manner, and most people won’t pick on it during this period. In addition, because these hairs are generally shed at relatively the same time, the subsequent growth will also occur at the same time as well for a much more natural result.


Ultimately, shock loss is a normal occurrence in hair transplants. It indicates your body is responding to stress and changes and, in most cases, will resolve within six months after surgery. So if you’re going to get a transplant, you need to assume it will happen and plan for it accordingly.

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